Ikhlaq Sidhu named Dean at IE School of Technology


December 13, 2021



Professor Ikhlaq Sidhu, chief scientist and faculty director of UC Berkeley’s Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology since its founding 16 years ago, has been appointed dean and professor of IE School of Technology. Focused on STEM (Sciences, Technology, Engineering, and Math), IE School of Technology strengthens IE University as an international hub, and generates knowledge, develops solutions, and fosters education in order to face the challenges of digital transformation

Ikhlaq, who also holds a faculty position in UC Berkeley’s Department of Industrial Engineering & Operations Research, will remain in his current positions until June 2022.

“During his tenure at the Sutardja Center, Ikhlaq has been a key force for elevating Berkeley Engineering’s innovation programs. He helped build signature programs and methods for teaching entrepreneurship and fostering innovation that will continue to benefit our students for years to come,” said Tsu-Jae King Liu, dean of Berkeley Engineering.

As founding director of the Sutardja Center, Sidhu played a seminal role in developing the innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem at Berkeley Engineering and on campus, creating a new model for academic innovation with the support of three Berkeley Engineering deans — A. Richard Newton, Shankar S. Sastry, and Tsu-Jae King Liu. This new model encouraged frequent interactions between academia and industry, promoted entrepreneurial mindsets and behaviors, challenged students to tackle advanced technical projects, and connected diverse people worldwide. 

Among Sidhu’s key achievements is the development of the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship and its influence on advanced project courses and labs. He also championed the concept of Innovation Engineering, a new methodology for approaching idea execution. 

Additionally, Sidhu helped design and launch many institutes and programs at Berkeley including the Venture Lab, the predecessor of Berkeley Skydeck; the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership and the Master of Engineering program; the Engineering Leadership Professional Program; and Data-X, a highly applied data science innovation course. Collectively, these institutions and programs serve thousands of Berkeley students and working professionals every year.

One of Sidhu’s most important legacies will be the strong leadership team he has built, which will help ensure that the Sutardja Center continues to thrive and grow into the world’s leading center for innovation. During the Spring 2022 semester, the Sutardja Center’s managing director and chief learning officer, Ken Singer, will assume the co-director role alongside Sidhu to help manage the transition. In addition, the center will be guided by academic director and professor of mechanical engineering, Tarek Zohdi, as well as a seasoned staff leadership team, the executive advisory board, industry advisory board, academic advisory board, and support from more than 80 student staff and researchers.

After the Spring 2022 semester, Sidhu will continue to advise and support the Sutardja Center as director emeritus and as an advisory board member. With his new role at IE School of Technology, Sidhu plans to create new collaborations and strengthen the UC Berkeley and Berkeley Engineering’s ties to Europe and further enhance our global innovation ecosystem.

About UC Berkeley Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology 

The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology is a global innovation hub headquartered at UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, where aspiring entrepreneurs take deep dives into the world of technology entrepreneurship and embark on the path to developing exciting new ventures. The Center researches emerging technologies in its labs and offers a suite of courses and programs for students, executives, and global innovators. The Center has labs focused on innovation in data science, artificial intelligence, blockchain, and meat alternatives. Additionally, academics from around the world visit the Center to learn about the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship, a unique innovation pedagogy that focuses on mindset training for innovators and entrepreneurs. UC Berkeley is the world’s #1 public university and ranks as the #2 university for startups and entrepreneurs, according to Pitchbook. UC Berkeley has been at the forefront of innovation in emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.