At the 10th annual Innovators’ Luncheon, held March 6 at the Georgia Center, Innovation Gateway recognized the enterprising UGA researchers who are moving their technologies and discoveries into the marketplace.
During 2018, 31 patents naming 56 UGA employees as inventors were awarded to the UGA Research Foundation. These comprised three plant patents, one plant variety protection certificate and 27 utility patents. In addition, UGA entrepreneurs formed 15 startup companies from their research last year.
Other members of the UGA research community were recognized for furthering the university’s mission. Darrell Sparks, professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was recognized as the 2018 Inventor of the Year for his research in the physiology, management and development of new cultivars that contributed to making Georgia the No. 1 state in pecan production. Yajun Yan, associate professor in the College of Engineering, was recognized as the 2018 Entrepreneur of the Year for research leading to six issued U.S. patents, several pending patent applications and two startups: BiotecEra Inc. and HGG Research, LLC. Vasu Nair, former associate dean for research in the College of Pharmacy and Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar, received a framed display celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his Inventor of the Year award.
Innovation Gateway presented the inventors and entrepreneurs with two tokens of appreciation: a UGA-monogrammed umbrella and a commemorative license plate for new patent holders that reads “UGA INVNTR.”