WPI Interim President Winston “Wole” Soboyejo Elected to Two Prestigious International Academies of Sciences and Engineering
The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) has named Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Interim President Winston “Wole” Soboyejo to its Class of 2022 Fellows. The honor, which TWAS refers to as the “apex of scientific achievement,” is bestowed on scientists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of science in the developing world. Soboyejo, an international scholar, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and respected materials scientist and engineer, is one of 53 Fellows from around the world to be elected to this year’s class and one of only two from the United States. In total, TWAS has 1,192 elected Fellows representing 108 countries, 11 of them Nobel laureates.
Soboyejo was also recently named a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Engineering, an institution for the promotion of excellence in engineering training and practice to ensure the technological growth of Nigeria. Its Fellows represent senior Nigerian engineering professionals—living in Nigeria and abroad—who have distinguished themselves in business, academia, and government. Soboyejo is not the first member of his family to be named to this list; his father, Alfred Soboyejo, was elected a Fellow in 2020 and nominated his son for this year’s class, making the Soboyejos the first father and son duo in the Academy.
“Engineering and science are critical for helping address the great problems facing people in the developed and developing world, so it is an especially great honor to be recognized for not only my work as an engineer, but as a scientist, too,” said Soboyejo. “Sustainable global development requires all minds working together, and I am grateful to both the World Academy of Sciences and the Nigerian Academy of Engineering for the opportunities to join other Fellows who are also engaged in this important work. My sincere hope is to build new partnerships and collaborations with fellow scientists and engineers to foster important global advancements and growth.”
Among President Soboyejo's other achievements are the 2021 membership into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) one of the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. He is also a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the Materials Society of Nigeria, the Nigerian Academy of Science, and the African Academy of Sciences.
Soboyejo joined WPI in 2016 from Princeton University, serving as the Bernard M. Gordon Dean of Engineering and as Provost before being appointed to his current role as interim President. In addition to his administrative duties, Soboyejo has continued his research on biomaterials and the use of nanoparticles for the detection and treatment of disease, the mechanical properties of materials, and the use of materials science to promote global development. His recent work includes leading a team in identifying new targeted delivery methods to reduce the sizes of hard-to-treat breast cancer tumors. This breakthrough research has been published in Biomaterials Advances and Scientific Reports. He has also led projects that are using science and technology to address global grand challenges in the areas of energy, clean water, affordable housing, and education for people in the developing world.
Soboyejo has worked with key stakeholders to help launch The Global School at WPI, which builds upon the university’s longstanding efforts, through project-based learning and research, to prepare students who are focused on applying science, engineering, and technology to have a significant impact on the major social, technological, ecological, and economic challenges facing people around the world. He has also helped develop The Center for Global Public Safety, an interdisciplinary research and innovation initiative that brings together industry leaders and universities from around the world to lead an integrated effort to improve global public safety.
In addition, Soboyejo, along with the World Bank and the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning, created Mathematics and Science for Sub-Saharan Africa (MS4SSA). Through this initiative, WPI works collaboratively with stakeholders from 20 African countries and over 150 development partners from around the world to explore global best practices and develop strategies to improve STEM opportunities for students. He has also worked with the Pan African Materials Institute (PAMI) to bring PhD scholars from Africa to WPI to further their research and in recent years arranged for six African PhD students to study at WPI for two years, courtesy of the Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (RSIF) of the African-led Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering, and Technology (PASET). WPI is the first university in the U.S. to receive and host these students.
Soboyejo is the author or co-author of four textbooks and nearly 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He has had over 180 presentations published in conference proceedings and has edited 20 conference proceedings and journal special issues.