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2017 UTRF Innovation Awards Ceremony Honors UT Researchers

Category: Research

innovation awards

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) recognized UT researchers for their inventions and commercialization efforts made within the last year at the 2017 Innovation Awards Ceremony, held December 5 at The Foundry on the Fair Site.

“The University conducts research that generates groundbreaking inventions, and patents are key to the protection and commercialization of these inventions,” said Dr. Stacey Patterson, President, UT Research Foundation. “Licensing these innovations provides incentives and competitive advantages that will drive economic development for the state and impact the quality of life for Tennesseans.”

During the ceremony, Dr. David Millhorn, senior vice president emeritus, and national laboratory relations advisor was presented the 2017 B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer. The Wheeley Award is UTRF’s highest honor awarded to a UT employee who has contributed to technology commercialization at UT in an extraordinary way. The award was presented by Mr. Robert Wheeley and Mr. Larry Perry, representing the Wheeley Family Foundation.

Dr. Patterson also announced Dr. Daniel Costinett, assistant professor in the department of electrical engineering and computer science, as the winner of the 2017 Innovation Driver Award. This award recognizes faculty inventors who are relatively new to working with UTRF, meaning they submitted their first invention disclosure within the last three years and have demonstrated enthusiasm, creativity and drive to bring their ideas to the commercial marketplace.

“I applaud Dr. Costinett’s eagerness and dedication to take his innovations to the next level,” said Dr. Maha Krishnamurthy, Assistant Vice President of Licensing at UTRF.

Dr. Costinett received a $1,000 award from UTRF. Other honorees included 37 recipients of patents from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, as well as 28 inventors of technologies that were licensed to companies, including three startup companies based on UTRF technologies. In some cases, researchers received awards in more than one category. The 2018 UTRF Maturation Grant Funding recipients were also recognized at the ceremony.

For a complete list of award receipts, please visit:

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Category: Research