UCF Honors Millionaires, Innovators

November 20, 2012


UCF recently honored 35 research “millionaires” and 157 “innovators” with a celebration at the university’s Stadium Club.

The Millionaires Club has recognized the university’s highest funded researchers since 2000.  The Innovators club was added in 2012 to acknowledge researchers who have filed invention disclosures, the first step in the patenting process.

UCF President John C. Hitt congratulated the award recipients and gave a brief history of UCF’s patent history – from its first patent in 1989, 21 years after the opening of the university – to its 100th patent in 2002 to more than 650 patents today.

Provost Tony Waldrop recognized the work of the researchers and also their staffs in achieving the highest levels of research activity.

The Millionaires Club began as a kind of tongue-in-cheek way  to recognize high research achievers in a manner comparable to the way sports achievers are recognized, said MJ Soileau, Vice President for Research & Commercialization.

UCF Millionaires Plaque 2000-2009

The Club has grown in size and stature and was even referred to by the Intellectual Property Marketing Advisor in 2009 as “an internal marketing idea that makes so much sense it engenders a “Why Didn’t I Think of That” moment.

From the inaugural class of six members the Millionaires Club has grown nearly every year, to the  35 inductees in FY12.  These 35 inductees, 8% of the funded faculty in 2012, brought in 58 percent of UCF’s total research funding of $128.9 million that year.

Tom O’Neal, associate vice president for research and commercialization and executive director of the UCF Business Incubation Program, talked about the significance of taking research to the next level by commercializing university technology.  The Innovator designation recognizes that activity.
Millionaires and Innovators received lapel pins commemorating their efforts and Soileau unveiled plaques listing the names of all millionaires since the Club was established.  The plaques will be displayed in the Office of Research & Commercialization’s two locations, in Millican Hall, Suite 243 and the University Tower Building, 12201 Research Parkway.

Other researchers recognized during the event were Yunjun Xu, College of Engineering and Computer Science with the “Every Little Bit Counts” award for the smallest grant; Thomas Wan of the College of Health and Public Affairs with the “Herding Cats” award for submitting a proposal with the most collaborators; Sudipta Seal, of the NanoScience Technology Center, the Advanced Materials and Analysis Center and the College of Engineering and Computer Science with the “Insomnia Award” for submitting the most proposals; Tom O’Neal with the “Whopper Award” for the largest single grant, Jim Fenton of the Florida solar Energy Center with Whopper Award for the largest single proposal and Joe Harrington form the College of Sciences with the “Out of This World” award for discovering a new planet.      Sasan Fathpour from the CREOL/College of Photonics and Haiya “Nancy” Hu from the College of Engineering and Computer Science were recognized for receiving NSF CAREER awards during the year.

For lists of the millionaires and innovators click here.

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