Saurabh Sinha

Visiting Research Collaborator
Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Johannesburg
Engineering Quadrangle Atrium

Saurabh Sinha, FIEEE, FSAIEE, FSAAE. Prof Sinha obtained his BEng, MEng and PhD degrees in Electronic Engineering from the University of Pretoria (UP), South Africa. He achieved both his BEng and MEng with distinction. Prof Sinha has completed the Advanced Management Program from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. As a published researcher, he has authored or co-authored over 140 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and at international conferences. In addition, he is the managing editor of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (SAIEE) Africa Research Journal. Prof Sinha served UP for over a decade, his last service being as Director of the Carl and Emily Fuchs Institute for Microelectronics, Department of Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering. Together with his research group, he conducted teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate levels and performed extensive management tasks. To allow for continuation of postgraduate leadership, he was appointed as extraordinary professor at UP. On 1 October 2013, Prof Sinha was appointed as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). On 1 Dec. 2017, Prof Sinha was appointed as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Internationalisation. In 2022, Prof Sinha has received a Fulbright fellowship.

During his term as Executive Dean, he contributed significantly to the UJ Global Excellence and Stature (GES) Strategic Goal and this contribution is reflected, both quantifiably and qualitatively, in research and innovation, teaching and learning, an international profile for GES, national and global reputation management, and fitness for GES. During his four-year term as dean, stellar achievements included the successful attraction of globally renowned academics, tripling the research / external funding to the faculty, significantly increasing the research publication outputs, significantly growing graduate outputs, to over 2000 graduates in 2017, doubling the annual external funding from ZAR[1] 77 m (~2013) to ZAR 177 m (2017), quadrupling the number of NRF-rated researchers, approximately doubling the intake of international students to over 900 students (1 in 10 FEBE students), despite disciplinary scarcity, in 2017, the FEBE transformation reflected that one in two new academic recruits were from designated communities – and many others. Along with these leadership or management achievements, Prof Sinha’s research group submitted 25 publication units (recognised journal articles, book chapters, books and conference proceedings) to the DHET for 2016 and, leading from the front, he has kept to a strong research trajectory ever since – graduating doctorate students and supervising postdoctoral research fellows. Some 12 books have resulted from his academic leadership.

During his term as DVC: the submitted number of research outputs exceeded 2 800 units (up from 1 637 units in 2017), at least 90% in international journals, the master’s and doctorate output increased by 37% (934 graduates) and 88% (224 graduates), respectively, external and international funding for research exceeded ZAR 320 m (excluding clinical grants and DHET subsidy) (for the year 2021). The number of NRF-rated researchers increased to over 250 (approximately 60 new applications in 2021), the Future Professors Phase II programme was allocated to UJ, a dedicated programme for women research leaders was prioritised, and a number of other international and national accolades were received by UJ academics.

Beyond his academic contributions, Prof Sinha remains an active member of several professional societies. Significant elected positions include 2014-2015 IEEE Vice-President: Educational Activities and IEEE Board of Directors. IEEE is a global engineering society, over 130 years old, and constituting over 400 000 members in over 160 countries. As far as is known, this was the first occasion where such an appointment occurred from the African continent and the election of Prof Sinha was therefore significant for this reason as well.

As of 1 Oct. 2018, Prof Sinha was appointed to serve as a member of the South African NRF Board and was subsequently appointed to chair the research development committee (RDC) of the NRF Board. He is also a member of the Human Resources (HR) and Remuneration Committee of the NRF Board. He is a former member of the Metropolitan Trading Company (MTC) Board (a City of Johannesburg-owned entity), former chair of the social, ethics and HR committee of the MTC Board. For UJ, he chairs the Board of the RC – a UJ-owned company geared towards technical professional education. He has served the RC Board for over five years – the company, for the first time in seven years, made a profit. Prof Sinha also chaired, in 2019/21, the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO) Board. Prof Sinha furthermore initiated the commercialisation organisation of the University and served as interim chair of UJ Invnt (the UJ holding company for commercialisation of intellectual property).

He was the recipient of the 2007 SAIEE Engineer of the Year Award, 2010 UP Laureate Award and 2013 TW Kambule NRF-NSTF Award for his outstanding contribution to science, engineering, technology and innovation (SETI) through research and its outputs. In 2017, Prof Sinha was a finalist in the 2016/2017 and 2020/1 NSTF-South32 Awards – TW Kambule Award (Management Category). Prof Sinha, a registered professional engineer, also served as an industrial consultant for Business Enterprises at the University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd; in this role, he served a number of industrial sectors, both public and private. In 2022, he became a Fulbright recipient.

Prof Sinha currently serves on committees of international, regional, national professional societies. In the recent past, he has served on the Electrical Engineering Professional Advisory Committee, Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA). ECSA is a signatory of the Washington Accord, International Engineering Alliance (IEA).


[1] 1 USD = 16 ZAR (approx.) (for international context)