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Texas A&M-Galveston’s Dr. Irfan Khan Chosen for Early-Career Research Fellowship    

March 10, 2022

Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Engineering Technology Dr. Irfan Khan was named an Early Career Research Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Gulf Research Program.

By Andréa Bolt

Texas A&M University at Galveston is proud to congratulate Assistant Professor in the Department of Marine Engineering Technology Dr. Irfan Khan on being awarded an Early Career Research Fellowship from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s (NASEM) Gulf Research Program.

Fellows participate in a two-year program to contribute to the advancement of safer, more reliable and more efficient offshore energy operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

“This prestigious award will help me achieve my goal of enhancing offshore energy safety over the next couple of years leading to my long-term goal of developing commercial cybersecurity applications for marine cybersecurity,” Khan said. 

The fellowship supports emerging scientific leaders as they take on research projects yet to be tested or explored, as well as those in the pursuit of projects pertaining to offshore energy operations, safety, and the well-being of coastal communities and ecosystems. Khan’s focuses on alternative energy, specifically wind and sea power generation, as well as cybersecurity related to maritime industry interests have direct, timely applications. 
“The biggest challenge we are facing these days is how to secure our critical cyber infrastructure, including marine energy cybersecurity,” explained Khan. “The marine energy sector is evolving rapidly with the increased dependency on industrial control systems and digitization. Unless properly secured, it can be manipulated to be at best non-functional, or at worst, turned into a physical weapon. Thus, my goal is to develop smart and cyber-secure solutions for coping with the emerging challenges in the sector. This goal is also well aligned with the Marine Engineering Technology Department mission and Texas A&M University at Galveston strategic plans.”

Khan also operates the Clean and Resilient Energy Systems (CARES) Lab on the Galveston Campus. Consisting of a team of undergraduate students and doctoral students, research is focused on creation, optimization and implementation of clean energy resources. Specifically, the team is at work studying electric vehicle charging infrastructure and resiliency of energy grid systems. 

Marine Engineering Technology Department Head and Powell Chair Professor Dr. Alok Verma said he’s proud Khan received the fellowship, saying that it was well deserved.

“Alternative energy including wind and sea power generation has been a strategic research area for the department as a whole, but Dr. Khan has taken a lead role in developing our research capability in the area and developed an alternative energy course here on campus that has been very popular with students.”

Director of Research Operations Dr. Diego Gil-Agudelo said this award recognizes the excellent research scholarship present on the Galveston Campus, but also has broader implications for the university's ownership of the Blue Economy. This unique concept involves the interrelated economic, social, political, and ecological vitality of our oceans and surrounding ecosystems.  

“This award will guarantee the important development of Dr. Khan’s research for years to come. For the university, it is an important step toward implementing our Blue Economy strategy, seeking the sustainable use of oceans and coasts while improving the livelihoods of the people living in coastal areas.”


Media contact:
Andréa Bolt
Social Media & Communications Manager

Texas A&M University at Galveston is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in a unique blend of marine and maritime programs, including majors in science, business, engineering, liberal arts, and transportation. It is driving the development of the blue economy in the Gulf Coast Region and is a critical contributor to Texas A&M’s sea-grant portion of Texas A&M’s rare land-, sea-, space-grant mission with nearly $10 million in research expenditures.
Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of seven in the U.S. and the only academy integrated into a Tier 1 academic institution, which trains over 400 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world. Texas A&M-Galveston is ideally located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where is it surrounded by the industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission. Aggies are known for their deep commitment to the success of each other and their strong desire to serve.

If you are interested in supporting this endeavor or research, please contact the Texas A&M University at Galveston Office of Development by email at or by calling (409) 740-4481.