Advisory Board

We are thrilled to have such an extraordinary Advisory Board to offer its insights and guidance to the Water Abundance XPRIZE. These leaders in their fields are contributing their broad expertise to ensure maximum rigor in this competition.
Suman Chakraborty


Suman Chakraborty is Head of the School of Medical Science and Technology, Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Associate Dean at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.

Prof. Chakraborty has research interests in the areas of Microfluidics, Nanofluidics, and CFD. Through a serious of investigations, he resolved one of the outstanding paradoxes on interfacial slip in nanoscale transport, by demonstrating the exact mechanism by which less dense phases may be segregated within nanometer length scales adhering to solid-liquid interface.

He further extended this model to understand electrohydrodynamics in presence of hydrophobic interactions, resolving outstanding anomalies on massive amplification in electrokinetic pumping in nanochannels. Suman has also been the first researcher to develop a fundamental theory on electrokinetic transport of blood through microfluidic conduits, and to translate the same towards the development of an original device for analyzing the flow of blood from a droplet into a microfluidic capillary, together with the effects of suspended red blood cells and dynamically evolving contact angle on the underlying non-intuitive flow features under the complex coupling of electrokinetics, interfacial phenomena and fluid rheology. 

In recognition of his pioneering research contributions in Engineering Sciences, he has been conferred the Santi Swaroop Bhatanagar Prize, the highest scientific honour from the Government of India. He has also become Fellow of various National Academies of Science and Engineering, and a fellow of ASME.
Marcus Howard


Marcus Howard is the Director -Water Sanitation and Hygiene in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has worked on the Australian aid program for 14 years. Marcus has qualifications in Civil Engineering and Technology Management and before joining the aid program had 24 years industry experience in a state-owned water utility and consulting engineering practice. His development specialist roles have included infrastructure programs in the water, energy, transport and building sectors. He has worked in the Asia, Pacific, Africa and Middle East regions including in post-conflict and emergency situations.

Dr. Gopichand (Gopi) Katragadda


Dr. Gopichand Katragadda is the Group Chief Technology Officer and Innovation Head for Tata Sons.  He also serves as a director on the boards of Tata Elxsi, Tata Communications, Tata Teleservices, Tata Autocomp Systems, and Flisom AG.

Previously, as  Chairman and Managing Director he helped grow GE’s largest R&D Centre, the John F. Welch Technology Centre (JFWTC).  Under his leadership, the JFWTC team was contributing to over 300 US patents a year.  Gopi also served as the chairman for GE-BEL.

Before joining GE, as VP at the US based Karta Technologies, Gopi led the development of advanced sensor technology for US government agencies and research consortiums.  He also was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Texas and served on the Board of Directors for Texas Public Radio.

Gopi provides the voice of technology for various Academic and Industry bodies including CII, IET, and Anita Borg Institute.  He is the current Chair of the CII National Technology Committee, Co-Chair of the Indo-UK JETCO Technology Track, and the Chair for the India Development Panel of the IET. 

Gopi is a Fellow of the IET.  He is a GE Certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt.  Gopi has over 30 publications and 5 patents.  He has authored a book on innovation “SMASH,” published by Wiley. 

Gopi holds MS and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.
Dr. Arul Shanmugasundram


Arul steers the manufacturing and project sales business, responsible for development in multiple areas like sales, supply chain and logistics, along with overseeing R&D and product development functions.

In his previous role at Tata Power Solar he was responsible for the project sales and delivery, where he has been instrumental in bringing a competitive edge to the company’s EPC business.

With the Tata Group since August 2010, Arul headed the solar business at Tata International, where he launched a profitable Module Mounting System business and commercialized innovative foundation and structure designs.

Arul brings with him valuable experience in product development, sales, marketing and product support with companies like Applied Materials. He was a part of the team that commissioned the first 5.7 m2 large substrate 40 MW thin film plant.

Arul has more than 30 international patents. Arul holds a Bachelor of Technology degree from IIT Madras and Masters in Science and PhD from Cornell University.

Become a Part of the Future! Sign Up for Our Newsletter: