By Nicole Capozziello
Published April 11, 2022
For nearly four decades, Rajan Batta has been making an impact not just on the many students and faculty he’s worked with at the University at Buffalo, but on the field of industrial engineering at large.
To those who know him, it came as no surprise when he was named the recipient of the Institute for Industrial and Systems Engineering (IISE)’s Frank and Lillian Gilbreth Industrial Engineering Award for 2022. IISE’s highest and most esteemed honor, the award recognizes one individual each year who has distinguished themselves through contributions to the welfare of mankind in the field of industrial engineering.
“Since I have spent my whole career in the industrial and systems engineering department at the University at Buffalo, I believe that my receiving this award is a testament not just to myself, but to the department and its deeply supportive culture of encouraging scholarly excellence,” says Batta.
“Rajan is one of the most prolific industrial and systems engineering researchers and educators of his time. The contributions that he has made to transportation, security and emergency response systems have had an important impact on society,” says Victor Paquet, professor and chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “I am very pleased that the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers has recognized Rajan with its most prestigious award.”
A SUNY Distinguished Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering and associate dean for faculty affairs and diversity in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Batta has been a faculty member at the University at Buffalo since 1984.
Batta uses industrial engineering techniques, such as operations research, to develop and analyze mathematical models of systems critical to society. His research interests range from transportation planning and analysis of urban crime patterns to military logistics, telecommunications and homeland defense. His recent work has included hazardous materials routing/logistics, UAV routing/scheduling for search missions, convoy routing, routing/scheduling of automated guided vehicles, modeling repair of a transportation network, gasoline supply logistics, and electric vehicle routing and location of charging stations.
Batta has a sustained record of research funding, receiving more than $13 million in awards from federal agencies, among them the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Justice; local governments, including the city of Buffalo; and private industry, such as Boeing, United Airlines and Lockheed Martin.
He has won numerous awards for his research and scholarship, including the MOR Journal Award from the Military Operations Research Society (2020), the Koopman Award from the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (2018), Award for Technical Innovation in Industrial Engineering, Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (2016), the David F. Baker Research Award from the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (2008), and three best paper awards from journals. He has published 150 articles in the top journals in his field.
An excellent teacher and mentor, Batta has supervised or co-supervised over 100 doctoral and master’s students. For his contributions as an educator, he has received the IIE Albert G. Holzman Distinguished Educator Award (2015), the University at Buffalo Excellence in Graduate Student Mentoring Award (2014-2015), and the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2007).
Batta received his PhD in operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor of technology in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi.
The award will be presented on May 23, 2022, at the IISE Annual Conference in Seattle.
The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE) is the world’s largest professional society dedicated solely to the support of the industrial engineering profession and individuals involved with improving quality and productivity. Founded in 1948, IISE is an international, nonprofit association that provides knowledge, training, networking opportunities and recognition to enhance the skills and effectiveness of its members, customers and the profession.