Roger Bonnecaze, an internationally recognized expert in rheology and modeling and simulation for nanomanufacturing who has served as a faculty member at The University of Texas at Austin for nearly 30 years, has been named dean of the university’s Cockrell School of Engineering after a national search.

Roger Bonnecaze, Dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering

Bonnecaze, who has been serving as interim dean since July 2021, will begin his appointment on June 1. He succeeds Sharon L. Wood, who served as dean for eight years before being appointed the university’s executive vice president and provost last summer.

“Roger Bonnecaze is a world-class researcher, a passionate educator and a tremendous leader, and I am delighted that he will be guiding the Cockrell School of Engineering for years to come,” Wood said. “As a professor, former department chair and co-founding director of the Nanomanufacturing Systems for Mobile Computing and Energy Technologies (NASCENT) Center, Roger has been integral to the Cockrell School’s success for almost three decades. He is deeply devoted to the Texas Engineering community — and to building an inclusive and supportive culture where all students, faculty and staff will thrive.”

Bonnecaze currently holds the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Endowed Chair in Engineering in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering. He joined the engineering faculty at UT Austin in 1993 as an assistant professor and was later promoted to associate and then full professor. He served as chair of the McKetta Department from 2005 to 2013. Bonnecaze also co-founded the NASCENT Center, the first National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center led by the Cockrell School, where he organized and led research projects with colleagues from numerous disciplines, engaged industrial partners in both research and entrepreneurial activities, and coordinated educational programs for the UT and greater Austin community.  

In 2019, Bonnecaze stepped down as co-director to help launch SandBox Semiconductor, a startup spun out of the NASCENT Center, based on research and led by a former doctoral student in his research group.

“I am thrilled to become the 10th dean of the Cockrell School, a place I have called home for decades. The school is poised to become the highest-impact public engineering school, and I am excited to build on the foundation of successes laid by Provost Wood,” Bonnecaze said. “With the convergence of outstanding talent, a supportive university leadership, industry engagement, visionary investors who aspire to help us implement our technologies, and passionate donors, we have an incredible opportunity to take the Cockrell School to the next level.”

Bonnecaze’s research expertise includes nanomanufacturing modeling and simulation and the rheology and behavior of complex fluids. He has won numerous awards, including the NSF Young Investigator Award, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship, the AIChE Thomas Baron Award and several teaching awards. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Rheology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

He received a B.S. from Cornell University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, all in chemical engineering. Prior to joining the engineering faculty at UT Austin, he was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and the Institute of Theoretical Geophysics at the University of Cambridge.