Photo of Ashok Gadgil

Ashok Gadgil

  • National Medal of Technology and Innovation
  • Economics

For providing life-sustaining resources to communities around the world. His innovative, inexpensive technologies help meet profound needs, from drinking water to fuel efficient cookstoves. His work is inspired by a belief in the dignity of all people and in our power to solve the great challenges of our time.

Ashok Gadgil was born in India, and earned his doctorate in Physics at UC Berkeley. He is a Distinguished Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation in Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley, and a Faculty Senior Scientist in the Energy Technologies Area of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His research has led to several patents and inventions, and more than 140 scientific journal publications. A substantial amount of his research aims for technology-based scalable solutions providing energy efficiency, clean-energy, and safe drinking water for resource-poor communities and developing countries.

Dr. Gadgil has been instrumental in maturing and advancing the emerging field of Development Engineering. This field approaches the long-standing problems of people in low resource settings from the perspective of applying technology innovation to address their specific urgent problems. It ensures social adoption of the innovation through the application of quantitative social sciences, iterative testing, field measurements, and validation of impact, and through scale up via financial viability, understanding the customers, and integrating the social science lessons about the diffusion of innovations. He was the founding co-editor of the open access journal “Development Engineering”, has taught graduate courses about the topic at UC Berkeley for many years, and co-edited the first graduate-level textbook on the subject, also open access, released in September of 2022.

Dr. Gadgil is recipient of numerous awards and honors for his work, including the Heinz Award, The Zayed Sustainability Prize, the Lemelson-MIT Global Innovator Award, induction in the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and election to the National Academy of Engineering.