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George Huber, William Murphy and Zongfu Yu
May 26, 2021

Three engineering professors earn campus faculty fellowships

College of Engineering professors George Huber, William Murphy and Zongfu Yu are among the recipients across campus of University of Wisconsin-Madison faculty fellowships for 2021-2022.

The University selected Huber and Murphy for the Kellett Mid-Career Award while Yu received an H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowship.

Huber, the Richard L. Antoine Professor of chemical and biological engineering, studies the design of disruptive technologies for the conversion of biomass, waste plastics and other waste resources into renewable fuels and chemicals. He is the director of the $12.5 million U.S. Department of Energy Center on Chemical Upcycling of Waste Plastics, funded in 2021.

Murphy, H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellow and Harvey D. Spangler Professor of biomedical engineering and orthopedics and rehabilitation, is director of the Forward BIO Institute. He has invented and developed multiple new types of biomimetic materials, which are materials inspired by nature. Murphy’s research group has used new materials to manufacture medical devices, human cells and human tissues. These products are now being used to discover and deliver new medical treatments.

Kellett awards, which went to 11 faculty this year, support those who are seven to 20 years past their first promotion to a tenured position. The award was created to provide support and encouragement to faculty at a critical stage of their careers. The honor, named for the late William R. Kellett, a former president of the WARF board of trustees and president of Kimberly-Clark Corporation, comes with $75,000 that may be spent over five years.

Yu, Jack St. Clair Kilby Associate Professor of electrical and computer engineering, studies photonics, with applications in computing, sensing, energy and sustainability. He is a fellow of the Optical Society. He has been elected as a Clarivate Highly Cited Researcher each of the past three years.

Fourteen faculty received H.I. Romnes Faculty Fellowships, recognizing faculty within their first six years from promotion to a tenured position. The award is named in recognition of the late WARF trustees president H.I. Romnes and comes with $60,000 that may be spent over five years.

The awards are made possible because of the research efforts of UW–Madison faculty and staff. Technology that arises from these efforts is licensed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and the income from successful licenses is returned to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education, where it’s used to fund research activities throughout the divisions on campus, including these awards.

“Each year we recognize faculty members at various stages in their careers, who excel in their research areas,” says Steve Ackerman, vice chancellor for research and graduate education. “This year’s awardees are talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication during the pandemic. Each has established an exemplary record of research and scholarly activity that has advanced the university’s research mission.”