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UTRF recognizes 56 faculty members at yesterday’s “Innovation Awards” luncheon

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

The only suspenseful announcement at yesterday’s “University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) Innovation Awards” luncheon was the faculty member designated as the “Innovation Driver,” and the recognition went to Brett Compton, Assistant Professor of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering on the UT Knoxville campus.

The award acknowledges a faculty member chosen by the UTRF licensing team based on the faculty member’s drive, enthusiasm and excitement for commercializing a technology based on an invention disclosed in the last three years. In Compton’s case, he has developed a high-performance material for additive manufacturing.

It was also noted that he was known for working across academic disciplines.

The other finalists for the “Innovation Driver” award were Joshua Campbell, Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for UT’s Graduate School of Medicine in Knoxville, and Oudessa Kerro Dego, Assistant Professor of Animal Science in UT’s Institute of Agriculture.

The three were among 56 faculty members recognized during the annual luncheon at The Foundry on the Fair Site. Some earned multiple awards.

In addition to the three competing for $1,000 “Innovation Driver” award, UTRF also presented $15,000 maturation grants to Dego; Kaitlin Oliver-Butler and Caleb Rucker in the of Mechanical, Aerospace and Biomedical Engineering; and Tarek Hewezi in the Department of Plant Science. Those awards are intended to help them further advance their technologies.

Twenty-six faculty members were recognized for their inventions being licensed in the last year, and 28 were cited for patents being issued. Three of those – Doug Birdwell, Jimmy Mays, and Catherine Schuman – had two patents awarded during the year.

At the beginning of the event, UTRF Vice President Maha Krishnamurthy described the luncheon as a way to celebrate the “innovation, determination and creativity” of the faculty. She cited several important technology transfer metrics achieved over the past five years – 759 inventions disclosed, 122 licenses executed, and $12.2 million in licensing revenues generated.

Here’s the official UTRF news release from yesterday (UTRF 2018 Innovation Awards Press Release).


Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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