Blog / September-ish 2019 Fellows Forum: Panch

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Thank you to Dr. Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan for joining us for our first Fellows Forum of the 2019-2020 Fellowship. With ~23 years at ASU and a few B.C. (“before Crow”), Panch shared an hour of his time with us on October 1. 

As Executive Vice President of Knowledge Enterprise Development (KED) at ASU, Panch is responsible for advancing ASU to move into the future. Here are a few key takeaways from our hour with ASU’s Chief Research and Innovation Officer.

  1. It’s not about you (the individual), it’s about the organization. Give individuals autonomy, and hold them accountable. 

  2. The future is all partnerships. 1 + 1 = 5. 

  3. To solve a huge problem, scale yourself. Don’t do it alone. Make sure to talk to different people and not just people like you/in your discipline to uncover things you might not have considered. Invite experts in philanthropy, policy, corporate, etc. to weigh in on the challenge. Get these people excited to be part of the solution so that you don’t have to be the solution. 

These points spoke to me in particular because my portfolio of work centers on Social Embeddedness. When thinking about university-community partnerships, how might we reimagine how we come together to address a social need? How might we co-design research questions and prototype ideas for interventions with our partners? How do we ensure our partnerships are mutually-beneficial and equitable? How do we get people excited to work together and once they’re excited, how do we co-develop structures and processes to continue that momentum? 

We were left with a lot to think about once Panch left, and it’s a Fellows Forum that we won’t forget soon. 


Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan leads the knowledge enterprise development at Arizona State University, which advances research, innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, global and economic development at ASU.  His leadership has led to many accomplishments at ASU including quintupling research performance over the last decade (to over $618M in 2018) placing it as the fastest-growing research university in the United States.


Blog / September Fellows Forum Panch