Govindan Parayil was born in the Indian State of Kerala in Southwestern India. He received his undergraduate education in Electrical Engineering at the National Institute of Technology Calicut (formerly Regional Engineering College, affiliated with the University of Calicut) from which he received a Bachelor of Science degree. Dr. Parayil received an interdisciplinary graduate education in Science and Technology in Society, earning a Master of Science degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. In between, he earned an M.A. in Development Economics at American University.
A Rockefeller Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Environmental Change in the Department of Science and Technology Studies and the Program on Ethics in Public Life at Cornell University, Dr. Parayil was an Assistant Professor in the Division of Social Sciences at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He was also an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Information and Communications Management (now, Communication and New Media) at the National University of Singapore.
From Singapore, Dr. Parayil moved to the University of Oslo in Norway where he was a tenured Full Professor in the Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture, Faculty of Social Science until 2015. In the Center for Technology, Innovation and Culture, his teaching and research was focused on science, technology and innovation for sustainability. While on leave from the University of Oslo from 2008 to 2014, Parayil served as Vice-Rector of United Nations University (UNU), and concurrently, as Director of the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Studies (renamed in 2014 as the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability) in Tokyo, Japan.
Dr. Parayil has held visiting appointments at Virginia Tech, the Illinois Institute of Technology, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the American University of Sovereign Nations, Arizona, and Fudan University in Shanghai. He served as the 2016-17 Mark and Melody Teppola Distinguished Visiting Professor at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. He has authored, edited and co-edited five books and published over forty peer-reviewed articles, as well as numerous book chapters. Dr. Parayil has supervised numerous PhD and Masters students, as well as Postdoctoral fellows. He has lived, worked and traveled in over sixty countries across all continents.
A leading expert in the field of Global Sustainability, Dr. Parayil follows an interdisciplinary approach to sustainability – from describing problems to finding solutions that are user-focused, innovation-oriented and market-based. Applying useful knowledge and methods from the social and natural sciences, as well as engineering and innovation management, he is committed to steering the continued growth of the Patel College of Global Sustainability as a vibrant interdisciplinary college of USF. By nurturing collaborative research and education in sustainability across the university, and fostering local and global community engagement, Dr. Parayil aims to aid the transformation toward global sustainability.