Adani University

Prof.Dr. Arun Sharma

Arun Sharma is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

He is an advisor to the Chairman of Adani Group and leads the Group’s sustainability function.

He is also the Chair of the Council of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

From 2004 to 2019, he served as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President for Research, Commercialisation and Innovation at QUT, where he oversaw a nearly four-fold increase in annual research revenue that led to the university’s rapid rise in key international university rankings.


Information & Communication Technology

Dr. Arun Sharma has played a leading role in the development of Australian Information and Communication Technology research capabilities. He was the co-founder of National ICT Australia Limited (NICTA) – now part of CSIRO’s Data61.

Before NICTA, Dr. Arun Sharma was Head of the School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) where he co-founded the Cooperative Research Centre for Smart Internet Technology. He also played a critical role in establishing its successor, the Smart Services Cooperative Research Centre.

At QUT, Dr. Arun Sharma oversaw the establishment of internationally-leading research programs in robotics and data science. He also played an essential role in enabling the establishment of three Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence hosted by QUT: Digital Child, Robotics Vision, and Creative Industries and Innovation.

He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Computer Science and Information Technology.

Research & Innovation Policy

Dr. Arun Sharma has been a strong advocate for research-industry collaboration, assessment of research impact and development of innovation eco-systems. He served as a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Innovation Ecosystems (2018-19).

He was appointed to the inaugural Advisory Council of the Australian Research Council (2008-09), a role in which he provided input into the design of the Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) exercise.

In 2008, he also served as a member of the Advisory Board of the Manufacturing Centre of the Australian Federal Government’s Enterprise Connect Program, where he provided input into the design of schemes such as Researcher in Business, aimed at improving links between research institutions and SMEs.

Dr. Arun Sharma has been a strong supporter of assessment of research impact, and a key figure in the advocacy that resulted in better incentives for industry collaboration in research block grant distribution for universities. He has twice chaired the Universities Australia Deputy Vice-Chancellors Research (DVCR) committee.

In 2008, Dr. Arun Sharma coordinated the committee’s response to the Cutler Review of National Innovation System and O’Kane Review of the CRC Program and, in 2014, the response to the Watt Review of Research Policy and Funding Arrangements.

In December 2015, he was included in the Knowledge Nation 100 list published by The Australian newspaper in consultation with the Office of the Chief Scientist as “one of the country’s most effective advocates for the research/wealth-creation nexus”.

He has advised the Queensland Government on innovation in his capacity as a member of the Advance Queensland Expert Advisory Panel (2015 – 19), and previously as a member of the Premier’s Smart State Council (2004-11) and the Premier’s Business Roundtable (2010-12). He was Champion of Team Queensland, which participated in the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), aimed at making Queensland a global innovation hub for sectors linked to its natural resources – agriculture, mining, environment and tourism.

Dr. Arun Sharma was awarded the 2010 Premier’s Special Award for his contribution to building the export profile of Queensland.

Governance of Medical Research

Dr. Arun Sharma has played a leading role in the governance of health and medical research institutions.

In addition to his current role as Chair of the Council of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, he played a critical part in the founding of the Translational Research Institute Pty Ltd – a joint venture of Queensland Health, Mater Research, University of Queensland and QUT. He served on its board from 2009 to 2017.

He was a member of the board of the Queensland Children’s Medical Research Institute Ltd (2014 – 16) and the Gallipoli Research Foundation Ltd (2006 – 09).

Dr. Arun Sharma was Chair of the governance committee for QUT’s Institute for Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) from 2004 to 2019. In 2016, he worked with the Queensland Government to help establish the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Partnering Office at QUT.

Environmental Social & Governance

As advisor to the Chairman of Adani Group, Dr. Arun Sharma leads the Group’s sustainability function. In particular, he focuses on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues and on emerging renewable energy technologies, such as hydrogen.

As Chair of the Executive Committee of QUT’s Institute for Future Environment (IFE), he facilitated the development of IFE’s research programs in renewables and hydrogen.

In 2005, he engineered the merger of the research arm of the Mackay-based Sugar Research Institute with QUT, and served as an Associate Director on the board of Sugar Research Limited during 2005–08.

He also played a key role in developing Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant with funding from the Queensland Government and the Australian Federal Government. He also facilitated the establishment of the Syngenta Centre for Sugarcane Biofuels Development for research on cellulosic ethanol from sugarcane bagasse.

Motivated by increasing demand for vegetarian sources of protein in South Asia and the lower carbon-footprint of plant-based proteins, Dr. Arun Sharma advocated with the Queensland Government and secured funding to establish QUT’s research program in tropical pulses and chickpeas.

Australia-India Relationships

Dr. Arun Sharma has fostered business, research and cultural links between Australia and India.

During 2011-12, he stepped into the role of the National Chair of the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) to successfully implement a governance reform of the organisation. The AIBC consequently restructured from an association of disparate state chapters into an incorporated national body with a new constitution.

Dr. Arun Sharma also served as the President of the AIBC Queensland Chapter from 2015 to 2011. In 2012, he was made a Life Member of the AIBC. During 2011-14, he was appointed as the Chair of the Queensland India Council – an advisory committee of the Queensland Government.

In 2009, as a member of the Australian Federal Government delegation to India, he played a mediating role in mending the strained relationship between the two countries in the aftermath of the student attacks.

Since 2011, he has been on the board of the Adani Abbot Point Terminal Pty Ltd.

Dr. Arun Sharma also promoted strong research linkages between QUT and Indian institutions, including large-scale research programs in information security, biofuels and health technologies. During his tenure, QUT was the largest recipient of funding from the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund of any Australian university.

Dr. Arun Sharma has also fostered cultural links between India and Australia and facilitated the award of QUT Honorary Doctorate to Amitabh Bachchan in recognition of his contribution to the Creative Industries.

He received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 India Australia Business and Community Awards in recognition of sustained contribution towards advancing the Australia-India relationship.

Academic & Education

Dr. Arun Sharma’s academic research contributions span the Foundations of Machine Learning and Theoretical Computer Science. His research publications include one book by the MIT Press, three edited volumes by Springer-Verlag, and 77 articles in refereed journals and peer-reviewed conference proceedings.

He received his undergraduate degree in Computer Science from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani) in 1985, his PhD in Computer Science from the State University of New York at Buffalo (1990), and post-doctoral training in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1990).

He is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (2008).

Dr. Arun Sharma’s other professional education experiences include Korn Ferry’s Executive to Leader Institute Program (2018) and the Authentic Leadership Program (2014) and Finance for Senior Executives (2005) from Harvard Business School.

He completed the All-India Senior School Certificate Examination (1980) from Sawan Public School, New Delhi, and was placed tenth in the national order of merit (Science Group), as well as the All-India Secondary School Examination (1978) from Sainik School Goalpara, Assam. He was placed fifth in the national order of merit.

In 2019, BITS Pilani conferred on him its Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Awards & Citations

  • Member of the Order of Australia in 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to Computer Science and Information Technology

  • Distinguished Alumnus Award from BITS Pilani, 2019

  • Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2018 Australia India Business and Community Awards

  • Knowledge Nation 100 List, 2015, published by the Australian and Office of the Chief Scientist

  • Premier of Queensland Special Award at the 2010 Queensland Export Awards

  • Certificate of Commendation for obtaining 7th position at the 1980 Inter-School Mathematics Talent Examination conducted by the Ramanujan Society of Born Mathematicians, New Delhi

  • Certificate of Merit for obtaining 10th position in Science group in the All-India Senior School Certificate Examination, 1980, Central Board of Secondary Education

  • Certificate of Merit for obtaining 5th position at the All-India Secondary School Examination, 1978, Central Board of Secondary Education