Professor Raja Parasuraman educated, trained and mentored countless students and researchers within a number of diverse disciplines including human factors, ergonomics and psychology. Raja’s legacy and contributions to academic disciplines are still growing throughout this network. He inspired innumerable academic and industry researchers as well as practitioners. Raja was a collaborator and mentor who attained an impressive list of academic accomplishments and highly impactful publication track record within top journals.
His distinguished career and work started in the 1970s and included central contributions to fields such as vigilance and human-automation performance benefits and costs. Merging his interests in human factors and cognitive neuroscience, Raja investigated the field of neuroergonomics defining it as the study of brain and behaviour at work. This pioneering work led to the emergence of neuroergonomics as a new scientific field and he is considered the ‘father of neuroergonomics’.
Raja was a University Professor of Psychology, Director of the Graduate Program in Human Factors and Applied Cognition and also Director of the Center of Excellence in Neuroergonomics, Technology and Cognition (CENTEC). His research was supported by over $27 million in grant funds from federal agencies and private foundations. In 2010, he received a $7.5 million grant to establish CENTEC at George Mason University, Virginia.
He published over 400 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Psychological Science and hundreds more conference papers and abstracts. Raja’s research was highly influential, reaching a staggering h-index of 107 and over 56,820 citations to his work. His 13 books include the influential titles Psychology of Vigilance (Academic Press, 1982), The Attentive Brain (MIT Press, 1998; reprinted in paperback, 2000) and Neuroergonomics: The Brain at Work (Oxford University Press, 2007).
Raja was an incredible scholar, a pioneer, a visionary and thought leader, an exceptional researcher and extraordinary person. His advice to young researchers was to be passionate in order to develop theory and knowledge which can guide the design of technologies and environments for people. His legacy, the field of neuroergonomics, will live on in countless faculty and the students whom he has advised and continues to inspire.
Adapted from the nomination for this award by Professor Hasan Ayaz
Date of nomination: 2 May 2021