UCI Applied Innovation has recognized Chancellor’s Professor of Computer Science Michael Franz as its inaugural Innovator of the Year. The new award aims to recognize researchers who have developed a breakthrough idea, process or technology and demonstrated its transformational potential to improve lives and create economic value.
“I am delighted to be recognized by the community in this manner,” says Professor Franz, who received formal certificates of recognition from the United States Congress, State Senate and State Assembly, along with $10,000 to support his lab. However, he was also quick to share the recognition with his former students. “Of course, the real credit belongs to the researchers who helped develop these ideas in the lab at UCI and, after completing their Ph.D.s, are now building a company, Immunant Inc., here at UCI Applied Innovation.” The team was on hand to join in the celebration.
Innovator of the Year is one of four inaugural awards, all of which recognize researchers who are actively working to promote the commercialization of university intellectual property. Created with generous support from the Beall Family Foundation, the other awards categories are Emerging Innovation/Early Career Innovator, Entrepreneurial Leader and Lifetime Achievement, all of which come with $5,000.
The award series recognizes efforts such as invention disclosures filed, patents applied for and/or received, technologies licensed or startup companies formed. These activities help back regional economic development in support of UCI’s mission to make a positive human impact.
“The nominations across the board were very strong, very impressive and reflect why UCI is a leading research institution,” said Richard Sudek, chief innovation officer and executive director of UCI Applied Innovation. “It is clear the nominees and award recipients are excellent representatives of the best UCI has to offer in innovation and entrepreneurship.”
— Shani Murray