Dean's Message

Celebrate what you value

February 2023

Albert P. Pisano

As an engineering dean, I'm laser-focused on helping people to develop technologies that will have positive impacts on the lives of large numbers of people. This is what I aim for every day here at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering. But it's not enough to encourage positive impact. I feel it's necessary to recognize and celebrate these positive impacts, both here at the Jacobs School and around the world.

At this very moment, I am engaged in UC San Diego's longstanding efforts to celebrate positive impact through the Kyoto Prize Symposium. This year's Kyoto Prize Laureate in Advanced Technology is Caltech Professor Emeritus Carver Mead; and our own Jacobs School electrical engineering and computer science professor Andrew Kahng is leading campus efforts to make Carver Mead feel welcome within our community. Carver Mead not only helped to invent the VLSI process, a fundamental of all modern microelectronics, but he has had an entire career of impactful success after impactful success. There are local events here in San Diego, as well as events in Kyoto, Japan. I'm hoping you'll come and help me celebrate.

Because I believe we should celebrate what we value around the world, I have invested my personal time in helping launch another international prize. Just in its third year, this set of prizes, totalling $4.5M annually, is focused on positive impact on people and the planet. I'm talking about the VinFuture Prize, and I serve as co-chair of the pre-screening committee. I am proud to let you know that the grand-prize-winning projects in the first two years of the award have been mRNA vaccines and then global networking technology. Talk about your global positive impact! 

In addition to the $3M grand prize, there are three VinFuture special prizes at $500K each. These special prizes celebrate projects with great potential for widespread positive impacts within 10 years. They also bring particular attention to the contributions of women, people working in developing countries, and people working in emerging fields. You can read about the 2022 winners and 2021 winners. For 2023, nominations are now open. I hope I've inspired you to nominate people for VinFuture prizes. Or to encourage others to nominate for this or other prizes focused on positive impact.

Read our full February 2022 message online or as a PDF.

As always, I can be reached at

Albert ("Al") P. Pisano, Dean
UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering