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


  • Health care professional using a tablet with graphical images, photo by Cecilie_Arcurs/Getty Images

    With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility—How to Harness Technologies in the Fight Against COVID-19

    The pandemic is an unprecedented public health crisis. But the response from science, technology, and innovation communities has been remarkable. It proves that innovation and learning, interdisciplinary methods and collaboration, information and data sharing, and adaptability are more important than ever.

    Jun 2, 2020 Centre for Science and Policy

  • Abstract curly tendrils, photo by gremlin/Getty Images

    Eight Lessons to Inform the Future Oversight of Emerging Science and Technology

    The prospect of Brexit has prompted much discussion about the future of science and technology in the UK. Effective oversight systems are crucial. They could help to create public trust and minimize risks, while allowing emerging science and technology, along with the businesses that arise from them, to flourish.

    Apr 11, 2019 Research Fortnight

  • Blockchain cryptocurrency financial technology concept with binary code

    Blockchain: Should We Believe the Hype?

    Industry, governments and academics are all speculating on the ways in which blockchain could revolutionize everything from finance to the music industry. Now is the time for policymakers and industry to take note and find out what blockchain could offer.

    Nov 30, 2017 Prospect Magazine

  • Man reviewing a document

    Tracking Global Trends in Open Peer Review

    Open peer review is happening in a variety of forms, but it still accounts for a small percentage of reviews carried out, and it is not clear whether open peer review is increasing in usage. In the future, as the Publons dataset grows, it will be worth exploring the data in more detail.

    Oct 27, 2017 Publons

  • Three scientists working in a lab looking at petri dishes

    Can Open Science Help to Make Research More Accessible?

    The leading principle of open science is that anyone, whether they are part of the research community or the public, should be able to access scientific knowledge. Free circulation of knowledge, the sharing of research results, and transparency of methodology are core tenets of the scientific method.

    Oct 13, 2017 Observatory for a Connected Society app

  • Man pointing to a document

    Funders Using Bibliometrics Should Keep It Simple

    Avoiding information overload is crucial for research grant decisions. The right guidance and training to panel members can help them make the most of bibliometrics as an evaluation tool to assist their decisions on research funding.

    Sep 15, 2017 Research Fortnight

  • Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner-designate Carlos Moedas of Portugal waits for the start of his hearing before the European Parliament's Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, at the EU Parliament in Brussels September 30, 2014

    Global Collaboration Needs a Firmer Evidence Base

    Policymakers should carry out a robust evaluation to assess the EU's research collaboration to date and analyze its impacts. This review should also compare the EU's portfolio with the collaborative research achievements of other players in international research. Such evidence would enhance the EU's research procurement strategy.

    Nov 10, 2014 Research Europe