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Professor Sanjay Sarma

Speaker Summary

Professor Sanjay Sarma is the Vice President for Open Learning at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology and an acclaimed author. A world-leading authority on the science of learning and the future of education, Professor Sanjay is a multi-award-winning educator and scientist at the very cutting-edge of learning research, practice, and theory. In his role as Vice President, he oversees the operation of MIT’s ground-breaking digital initiatives, constantly pushing the barriers of learning to their next limit. Backed by his extensive research into the very structures and processes of how we all learn, Professor Sarma is our herald of the future of education at the Summit.

Areas of Expertise

Cognition – Educational Research – Digital Learning – Educational Technology

Full Profile

Aside from his responsibilities as the Vice President for Open Learning, Sarma is also the Fred Fort Flowers and Daniel Flowers Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. In fact, we could write an entirely different profile about the impact and legacy that Professor Sanjay has left on the world of technology and the internet. Briefly: He is one of the biggest names and innovators in the commercial RFID industry and helped lay the groundwork for the Internet of Things (IOT) which effects the functioning of all of our lives on a daily basis.

In education, Professor Sanjay serves on the boards of multiple ed-tech start-up companies, and edX, the non-profit company set up by MIT and Harvard that aims to develop and promote an open-source platform that distributes free online education worldwide. He is the author of more than 75 academic papers on various subjects including computational geometry, sensing, RFID, and automation.

In 2012, Sanjay was appointed as the first ever Director of Digital Learning at MIT. His responsibilities included assessing the impact of MIT’s education initiatives on learning on campus. He was then appointed as Dean of Digital Learning and made co-chair of the Taskforce for the Future of Education at MIT. In these roles, Sanjay had a first-hand experience of the power of online learning, of how to do it correctly, and how to mitigate for its weaknesses. His research, his experience and his proposals led MIT to significantly expand their digital learning approach in 2015, investing in a future of learning that 5 years later, looks very sensible.

For his contributions to education and technology, Sanjay is the winner of multiple awards. These include the MacVicar Fellowship, the Business Week eBiz Award and Informationweek's Innovators and Influencers Award. He advises multiple global companies and governments on a wide variety of matters.


Sanjay has produced a plethora of academic work on a variety of subjects, his first book on education is due to be published next year:
- Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn (2022)

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