Vijay Modi is a professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia University and an Earth Institute faculty member. He also leads the UN Millennium Project effort on the role of energy and energy services in reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Currently, he is focused on making consumer-scaled versions of technology that is normally supersized available to developing countries. His expertise is in the fields of energy sources and conversion, heat/mass transfer, and fluid mechanics. Previously, he led the UN Millennium Project effort on the role of energy and energy services in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Currently, he is focused on three projects: leading the infrastructure team for the Millennium Villages Project (10 countries, 14 sites across sub-Saharan Africa), developing planning and decision-support tools for infrastructure, and looking at the food-energy-water nexus in Indian agriculture. Modi also works on projects in water (with fellow Earth Institute faculty member Upmanu Lall), urban infrastructure (through the IGERT program led by fellow Earth Institute faculty member Patricia Culligan), and optics of concentrated solar and software systems for m-health with lab colleague Matt Berg. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal papers and served as the principal or co-principal of a number of research grants from government and industry.
Modi is a two-time winner of prestigious teaching awards from Columbia. In 1996, Modi received the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award from the Columbia Engineering School Alumni Association, the first year the award was given. The following year he received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates.Vijay Modi received a B. Tech. in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (Mumbai, India) in 1978, and he received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1984. He pursued postdoctoral research at MIT from 1984 to 1986.