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December 05, 2017 | Tom Ballard

UTRF recognizes inventors at annual awards luncheon

utrf-innovator-logoBy Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer, PYA

More than 70 University of Tennessee (UT) researchers were honored yesterday, some for multiple accomplishments, during the UT Research Foundation’s annual Innovation Awards luncheon at The Foundry.

The top recognition – the “B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer” – was presented to David Millhorn who recently stepped down as UTRF President and UT’s Senior Vice President for Research, Outreach and Economic Development. First presented 28 years ago, the award was endowed by a gift from Wheeley, a long-time corporate executive and friend to many entrepreneurs in the region.

In making the presentation, Stacey Patterson, who succeeded Millhorn in both roles minus the “senior” title, cited her mentor’s strong support in championing technology transfer in general as well as a number of UT initiatives that advanced the institution’s research work and the opportunity for more commercialization.

Robert Wheeley and Larry Perry, who represented the Wheeley Family Foundation, joined in the presentation. Millhorn now serves as Senior Vice President Emeritus and National Laboratory Relations Advisor.

The other “surprise award” went to Daniel Costinett, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at UT Knoxville. He bested two other faculty members in winning the “Innovation Driver Award” that was first presented a year ago. The honor, which comes with a $1,000 prize, recognizes more junior researchers who have disclosed their first inventions in the last few years and who have shown a strong commitment to getting their innovations into the marketplace.

Thirty-seven researchers were recognized for patents that have issued in the last year. Some were shared with other faculty members, and a number involved joint work with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Seven researchers – Carmen Lozzio, Ming Qi, Thomas Zawodzinski, Shane Foister, Neal Schrick, Lannett Edwards and Louisa Rispoli – were recognized for their technologies that have resulted in new start-ups being created. Another 21 received certificates noting that their inventions had been licensed by established companies.

To see the complete list of those honored, click here.

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