Salil Gunashekar

Salil Gunashekar
Senior Research Leader and Associate Director of 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 senior research leader and associate director at RAND Europe focusing on science and technology policy. With over a decade of experience of working in policy research, 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 across the globe. These include the European Commission, the Research Council of Norway, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Microsoft, the British Standards Institution, Wellcome, UKRI, NHMRC Australia, and various UK universities and government departments. His projects cut across multiple sectors and have covered topics including technology foresight, new and emerging technologies (e.g. quantum technology, 5G, artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, virtual reality, the Internet of Things), S&T oversight, mission-oriented R&I, open science, public engagement, and research impact.

His recent and current projects examine topics such as regulating the use of AI, quantum technologies and the life sciences, the future of digital skills, and the social impact of UK higher education research.

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

  • Applying quantum technologies to the life sciences
  • Data enhancement and analysis of the 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) impact case studies
  • Tackling societal challenges and guiding the future of research and innovation in Norway
  • Examining self-regulatory mechanisms for artificial intelligence applications
  • Assessing the use of digital technologies for infectious disease (including COVID-19) surveillance, prevention and control