Engineering Professor
Technology Policy Specialist

Sridhar Kota is the Herrick Professor of Engineering, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan and the founding Executive Director at MForesight: Alliance for Manufacturing Foresight, a national consortium on emerging technologies and advanced manufacturing.

Professor Kota served as the Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy from 2009-2012. He played an instrumental role in initiating and launching National Manufacturing Innovation Institutes and the National Robotics Initiative.

He is also the founder and CTO of FlexSys Inc., which developed and flight tested the world’s first modern aircraft with shape-changing wings to improve fuel efficiency and noise reduction.

Learn more about Sridhar Kota.

Recent News

USA map of manufacturing tools and projects in red, white, and blue.

Innovation Should be Made in the U.S.A.

It’s time for the U.S. to adopt an industrial policy for the century ahead—not a throwback to old ideas of state planning but a program for helping Americans to compete with foreign manufacturers and maintain our ever more precarious edge in innovation.

Read more about restoring manufacturing innovation in the United States (PDF: 2MB).

white jet with three engines flying in blue sky.

Future Airplanes Will Fly On Twistable Wings

More than a century ago, the first aviation pioneers figured out a way to use rigid wings with flaps to generate enough force to lift a heavy craft into the sky. It was one of the great advances in human history and also the beginning of a new era in transportation. IEEE Spectrum

Read more about twistable wings.

Sridhar Kota and student seated at desk, reviewing computer model.


Teaching engineering as a creative discipline and bridging the gap between theory and practice in the classroom and through hands-on design-build-test project experiences.

Read about the courses Professor Kota teaches.

Flexible Bio-inspired Machines are the Future of Engineering

Scientific American dubbed Kota’s research on flexible one-piece machines and elastofluidic actuators for soft robots as “Flexible Bio-inspired Machines are the Future of Engineering.”

Learn about flexible bio-inspired machines.

President Barack Obama shaking hands with Sridhar Kota

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (2009-2012)

As Assistant Director for Advanced Manufacturing under President Obama, Kota’s signature contribution was his proposal to establish the Manufacturing Innovation Institutes to close the innovation gap between science and manufacturing.

Read about his leadership in technology policy.

August 2019

Reinventing Competitiveness

While we as a nation continue to lead the world in terms of investment in basic research, we have lost the ability to engage in the kinds of process improvements that underlie innovation. We have largely lost out capacity for “learning by doing.”

October 23, 2018

How the U.S. Can Rebuild Its Capacity to Innovate

Harvard Business Review’s feature article on MForesight’s flagship research initiative, Manufacturing Prosperity, examines the challenges facing America’s innovation ecosystem. The article highlights a range of potential solutions to restore both innovation and production capabilities in the United States.

January 30, 2017

Slightly Better iPhones Won’t Fix the U.S. Economy

If we want to break past lackluster economic growth rates and make meaningful change in lives and livelihoods, we need to move beyond incremental innovation (think slightly-better iPhones) toward revolutionary innovation (think new energy systems, next-generation electronics, and cures for Cancer and Alzheimer’s).

November 18, 2015

Reimagining University Rankings

The best way to reimagine university rankings is to move from measuring mere inputs (like wealth and selectivity) toward measuring real-world outcomes (like innovation and educational enrichment).