Dr. Ajay K. Agrawal

Engineering Professor Receives SEC Annual Award

Dr. Ajay K. Agrawal, professor in the College of Engineering, was named the 2022 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award winner for The University of Alabama.

Now in its 11th year, the program honors one individual from each SEC university for their teaching accomplishments, scholarly contributions and discoveries.

Agrawal has held the Robert F. Barfield Endowed Chair in Mechanical Engineering since 2005, and his research focuses on clean combustion to reduce the harmful effects of fuels for sustainable energy utilization, and it has influenced industries such as gas turbines, jet engines, diesel engines and industrial burners.

“Dr. Agrawal is one of the most prominent and influential scholars in the area of combustion science worldwide, and he is well-deserving of this award,” said Dr. Jim Dalton, UA executive vice president and provost. “The discoveries emanating from his laboratory have raised The University of Alabama’s reputation in the field and helped establish the University among the top combustion research institutions in the country.”

Since joining UA in 2005, Agrawal has been the lead on more than $12 million in competitively selected grants from several organizations including the United State Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation and multiple branches of the U.S. military.

The goal of Agrawal’s research is to reduce the harmful effects of fuels for sustainable energy utilization, resulting in three research thrusts of low pollutant emissions, higher efficiency, and fuel flexibility to include alternative fuels derived from biomass, waste or other local resources.

A fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and The Combustion Institute, he is the world’s most published author on the topic of rainbow schlieren deflectometry, an optical flow diagnostics technique used to quantitatively measure properties of fluid flows. Agrawal has published nearly 250 articles or papers in technical journals and conferences.

Agrawal has recruited and mentored undergraduate and graduate students from historically underrepresented groups with grants from the U.S. Department of Education, and has supervised 20 students in earning a doctorate and guided research for scores of master’s and undergraduate students.

He is the recipient of numerous academic awards, including the 2020 Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award, one of the University’s highest honors for a faculty member, and the 2013 Blackmon-Moody Outstanding Professor Award.

Along with his ASME and CI honors, Agrawal is a member of the National Academy of Inventors Hall of Fame and an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

There are approximately 14,000 full-time, tenured faculty members in the SEC, and to be eligible for an achievement award the individual must have achieved the rank of full professor, have a record of extraordinary teaching, and have a record of research that is recognized nationally and/or internationally.

Each SEC Faculty Achievement Award winner will receive a $5,000 honorarium from the SEC and will become that university’s nominee for the SEC Professor of the Year Award.

The SEC Faculty Achievement Awards and the SEC Professor of the Year Award are both selected by the SEC provosts, and they are two foundational programs designed by the SEC to support and promote the academic endeavors and achievements of its students, faculty and administrators.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu