Office of the President

May 8, 2014

Celebrating faculty excellence

Office of the President

President Young recently sent an email to the University community announcing new research funding initiative, the Innovation Awards. Below is the official email announcing the details of the initiative.


Dear Campus Colleagues,

Breakthroughs occur every day in laboratories and classrooms across our campuses as Huskies work to tackle some of the world’s most intractable problems. Our faculty are at the heart of these innovations, and today I’m pleased to recognize a few who truly transform our world.

Benjamin Hall, professor emeritus of genome sciences and biology, and Eric D’Asaro, a senior principal oceanographer at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory and professor of oceanography, were among the 84 new members and 21 foreign associates elected as fellows to the National Academy of Sciences just last week. Chosen for the distinguished breadth and continuing depth of their original research, Professor Hall and Professor D’Asaro’s significant contributions to academia, science and the University community have spanned decades.

As we celebrate Professor Hall and Professor D’Asaro’s storied accomplishments, we also want to inspire innovative faculty who are early in their careers. So today, we are announcing a new initiative to fuel their research: the Innovation Awards.

The Innovation Awards recognize the most creative thinkers in our midst who are addressing the problems of humanity through research and education. These awards support unusually creative early and mid-career researchers engaged in the medical, natural, social and engineering sciences, as well as researchers fostering new levels of student engagement and understanding through active learning.

The application deadline is September 1 each year. The selection committees are organized and run by the Office of Research and the Office of Academic and Student Affairs. In its inaugural year, three outstanding faculty members have been honored with Innovation Awards to fund their transformational work in research and education:

Brandi Cossairt, assistant professor of chemistry, is focusing on chemical innovation in solar energy capture and storage. She is devising novel materials and devices that use abundant natural resources and low-cost processing methods geared toward advances in clean energy technology.

James Carothers, assistant professor of chemical engineering, will create new approaches to produce renewable chemicals. He will address fundamental questions of cellular design, which will be used to redesign living systems for biotech applications.

Eric Klavins, associate professor of electrical engineering, and his colleagues aim to revolutionize how laboratory courses are taught. Students will learn to encode their experiments as computer programs and use advanced technology to automatically generate their lab notebooks.

Join me in congratulating Professor Hall, Professor D’Asaro, Professor Cossairt, Professor Carothers and Professor Klavins for their outstanding efforts in powering creative research at the UW. Their work nurtures our experimental and enterprising culture, and we celebrate their accomplishments in fostering Husky innovation and imagination.

Michael K Young signature
Michael K. Young