Queen’s professor receives highest award in the field of electrical power

On Thursday, May 13, 2021, during a virtual ceremony, Dr. Praveen Jain from Queen’s University received a prestigious award from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Medal in Power Engineering (2021), recognizing his 40 years of career research and accomplishments. Dr. Jain is the third Canadian ever to receive this medal in the history of IEEE. 

Dr. Praveen Jain with the IEEE Medal in Power Engineering Photo courtesy of Queen’s University.

Dr. Jain is the Director of Queen’s Centre for Energy and Power Electronics Research in the Department of Electrical & Power Engineering. Over the tenure of his career, his contributions have been in the theory and practice of high-frequency power-conversion systems. He is also the Canada Research Chair in Power Electronics. Dr. Jain has been working at Queen’s since 2001. Over the years, he has secured over $35 million in external research funding, and his work has resulted in to over 600 publications and 100 patents. He is also the founder of two companies: CHiL Semiconductor, designing digital power control chips, and Sparq Systems, developing solar microinverters.  

“I was pleasantly surprised when I heard that I was the recipient of the highest honor in the entire field of electric power. Fortunately, I am fortunate and have done very well in my career, but receiving this medal has a special meaning for me. It is a dream of any power engineer,” said Jain

Dr. Jain is recognized as the pioneer in his field for revolutionizing many aspects of high-frequency power conversion technology with innovations that have found applications in the space, telecommunications, computer, induction melting, and renewable energy industries.

“I wanted to become an engineer, but what kind, I had no idea,” he explained. “Not knowing anything, I chose electrical engineering ,only because I had to list one choice on my application for admission. I stood among the top students in the entrance exam, and the first choice was awarded to me. That’s how I got started in electrical engineering.”

A graduate of Allahabad University, India, in BE (Honours), Dr. Jain completed his Masters and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Toronto. At U of T, he worked under the supervision of the late Professor Shashi Dewan – a foundational pillar of power electronics.   

 Early in his career, Jain invented a new class of single-stage, high-frequency ac-to-dc resonant converters with near-unity power. The highlight of this invention gained more significant momentum when Dr. Jain presented an idea to his superiors, which later was accepted as the design of power converters for the Canadarm2 of the International Space Station. 

“It was my first invention when I started in the industry,” Praveen explained. “It came to me while I was walking after lunch, and I worked on it for quite some time. However, the hardest part was presenting my idea to management, which was something I had never done before. I was very nervous, but it ended up being a very rewarding experience.” 

After a rewarding career as a power engineer at prestigious institutions like the Canadian Astronautics and Nortel Networks, Dr. Jain joined academia, previously working as a professor at Concordia University and currently at Queen’s University. 

 “I was approached to join academia and said no three times. I was invited to give a lecture at Concordia and fell in love with academia ever since,” said Dr. Jain

“I still do a lot of work with industry, but academia has afforded me a lot of freedom to focus on and expand my interests.” 

He’s been an active IEEE member since the 1980s. 

IEEE is the world’s largest organization for technical professionals in engineering dedicated to advancing technology to benefit humanity. The IEEE Medal in Power recognizes outstanding contributions in the field and is awarded to one person out of approximately 50,000 IEEE members every year.

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