University of Minnesota
Office of the Vice President for Research

Office of the Vice President for Research : University of MinnesotaOffice of the Vice President for Research : University of Minnesota


Honors & recognition

Innovation and discovery have always been a proud part of the University of Minnesota's history. We celebrate the achievements of U of M researchers and the breakthroughs that result from their efforts. These innovations provide growth opportunities for businesses, benefit the public good, and improve quality of life in Minnesota and beyond.

Celebrating university innovators

The offices of the Vice President for Research and Technology Commercialization host this regular event to honor the outstanding faculty and staff from the university research community. On December 11, 2014, we recognized 285 inventors whose work was patented or licensed during fiscal years 2012–2014. Representing 14 colleges across the university system, the honorees earned a total of 141 patents and 316 licenses.

Download the 2014 event program

Innovation Awards

2014 also marks the inaugural presentation of the Innovation Awards—the winners were nominated by their peers within three categories for their contributions at various stages in their careers and in the commercialization cycle. Click on each of the 2014 award winners below to see a video about their work.

L to R: President Kaler, Daniel Voytas, Robert Vince, Kechun Zhang and VP Herman.

Early Innovator: Kechun Zhang, College of Science and Engineering

Entrepreneurial Researcher: Daniel Voytas, College of Biological Sciences

Impact: Robert Vince, Academic Health Center

Award category descriptions

Early Innovator
Nontenured faculty member or researcher (at the University for fewer than six years) who has demonstrated an ambitious entrepreneurial spirit and is actively engaged in developing new innovations and moving those technologies to the market.

Entrepreneurial Researcher
Faculty member or researcher who displays an exemplary entrepreneurial spirit by their initiative to not only innovate new technologies but to also move those technologies from the university laboratory to the market.

Faculty member or researcher whose innovation has most positively and broadly impacted global society and improved quality of life. The importance and impact of the innovation is widely understood by those outside of the nominee’s scientific discipline and by the general public.

About the award

The Innovation Award sculpture was conceived to symbolize innovation not as an end in itself but as the manifestation of an ever-evolving and dynamic creative process. Indeed, there can be no foreseeable end point to what we can know, discover, create, or innovate. Each unique sculpture contains seven (a prime number) fragments of variously shaped and colored hand fractured glass that exhibit distinct variations. These sculptures are meant to convey the serendipitous insights and discoveries resulting from happy accidents, juxtapositionally induced observations, insights, patterns and order out of disorder, DNA fragments, and so on. —Robert Delutri

Robert Delutri works in the University’s Sponsored Projects Administration office. His multidimensional works of art incorporate mixed media painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, and collage. For more than thirty years, Delutri’s “research” has been exhibited throughout the Midwest and profiled in the media, including on Minnesota Public Radio and KARE 11.

Scholar's walk sign

Scholars Walk

Stretching from Walnut Street to Pleasant Street on the East Bank campus, the Scholars Walk highlights the research and classroom accomplishments of the university's award-winning faculty and students.

Learn more about this prominent installation:

Wall of Discovery

Faculty awards

Student awards