Prof. Hanjalic was born on 30 November 1939 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. 
He obtained the following degrees: Dipl.Ing. in Mechanical Engineering/Energy Engineering from the University of Sarajevo (UoS), Bosnia-Herzegovina (1964), an MSc in Thermodynamics and Related Studies from the University of Birmingham, UK (1966), and a PhD in Fluid Mechanics from Imperial College London, UK (1970).  He was awarded a DSc (Eng) from the University of London, UK (1998).   
    He began his professional career as a Research Assistant, Researcher and Senior Researcher at the Institute for Thermal and Nuclear Engineering (ITEN/Energoinvest), Sarajevo (1964-1971).  In parallel, he worked in the Department of Mechanical Engineering of UoS, first as a Teaching Assistant and Lecturer, then Docent (1972), Associate Professor (1971) and full Professor (1979). He served as Head of Dept of Mech. Eng. in Sarajevo (1975-1978), Director of the Institute for Process-Power and Environmental Engineering (1980-84), Dean of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at UoS (1984-1985), Mayor of Sarajevo (1985-1987) and Minister of Science and Technology in the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina (1987-91). 
In 1991 he moved to Germany as a DFG Guest Professor at the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuernberg (1991-1993), and then was appointed as Professor at Michigan University of Technology, USA (1993-1994). In 1994 he was appointed as Professor and Head of the Thermal and Fluids Sciences Section in the Faculty of Applied Sciences at Delft University of Technology (DUT), the Netherlands (1994-2005). In 2005 he became Emeritus Professor at DUT and then worked as a DAAD Guest Professor at Darmstadt University of Technology, Germany (2005-2006), and shortly at AGH University of Science and Technology in Krakow, Poland (2006-2007). Since February 2007 he holds a “Marie Curie Chair” (EU) at the Deptprtment of Mechanics and Aeronautics of the University of Rome “La Sapienza,” Italy. He has also been a Visiting Fellow/Professor at a number of other universities in Europe, Asia and in the USA.  
Prof. Hanjalic has been a member of the American Association of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), a member of the American Physics Society (APS), a member of the International Association of Hydraulic Research (IAHR) and Chairman of its Working Group on Refined Flow Modelling, a member of the European Research Community for Flow, Turbulence and Combustion (ERCOFTAC) and of its Scientific Programme Committee, its Industrial Advisory Committee, and Chairman of its Special Interest Group for Turbulence Modelling.  He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee and a member of the Scientific Council, and he is now Vice-President of the International Center for Heat Mass Transfer (ICHMT), operating from Ankara, Turkey. He is a member of the Academy of Sciences and Arts of Bosnia-Herzegovina (1989), a (International) Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK (2005), a Fellow of the Institute of Physics, UK (2004), Fellow of ASME (2006) and of ICHMT (2006).
He is Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Flow, Turbulence and Combustion, a member of the Editorial Advisory Boards of the International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, Journal of Turbulence (electronic journal), the International Journal of Thermal Sciences and the International Journal of Fluid Dynamics, and a member of the Honorary Editorial Advisory Board of the International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer and of the International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer. 
Prof. Hanjalic has over 1500 journal citations and over 30 book citations to his credit.  He has presented around 50 keynote, panel and other invited lectures over the past ten years, and has around 130 papers in refereed scientific journals, and around 230 in refereed conference proceedings.  He has supervised over 100 Dipl. Ing., 35 MSc and 20 PhD students, and taught at the undergraduate and postgraduate level at a number of universities in Europe and the USA and given short lecture courses at many others.  He has two patents to his name and several semi-commercialised software packages.
He was awarded the Veselin Maslesa for scientific achievements (1973), the 27 July Award (the highest state honour of Bosnia-Herzegovina) (1989), and the Max-Plank Research Prize, Germany (1992). 
Prof. Hanjalic was elected as a Fellow of the IAS in 2005.