Salil Gunashekar

Photo of Salil Gunashekar
Associate Director (Science and Emerging Technology, RAND Europe)
Cambridge Office


Ph.D. in wireless communications engineering, University of Leicester; M.Sc. in information and communications engineering, University of Leicester; M.Sc. in informatics, University of Delhi; B.Sc. (Hons) in physics, University of Delhi (St Stephen's College)


Salil Gunashekar is a research leader and associate director at RAND Europe focusing on science and technology policy. He has a particular interest in exploring the impact of digitalisation and emerging technologies, and in examining research systems policy. 

Gunashekar has been involved in projects for several public, private and third sector clients in the UK, Europe and Australia. These include the European Commission, the Research Council of Norway, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, various government departments in the UK, the British Standards Institution, Wellcome, the Digital Catapult, Research England, NHMRC Australia, and various UK universities. His projects cut across multiple sectors and have covered topics including digital skills, technology foresight, new and emerging technologies (e.g. quantum technology, 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, virtual reality, the Internet of Things), mission-oriented research and innovation, open science, grand challenges, science and technology oversight, public engagement, and research impact.

His recent and current projects examine topics such as regulating the use of artificial intelligence, quantum technologies and the life sciences, and the future of digital skills.

With a technical background in wireless communications, Gunashekar previously worked as a research associate at the University of Leicester within the Departments of Engineering and Computer Science. He completed his Ph.D. from the University of Leicester where he also obtained an M.Sc. in information and communications engineering. Before attending Leicester, he obtained an honours degree in physics and M.Sc. in informatics from the University of Delhi. 

Recent Projects

  • Tackling societal challenges and guiding the future of research and innovation in Norway
  • Examining the use of public engagement for technological innovation
  • Assessing the use of digital technologies for infectious disease (including COVID-19) surveillance, prevention and control
  • Oversight of emerging science and technology: Learning from past and present efforts around the world
  • Socio-economic impacts of game-changing technologies (including blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, wearables, autonomous transport) on service sectors in Europe