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ECE's Rohatgi Named a 2015 National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Dec 15, 2015

Ajeet Rohatgi, Regents' Professor and John H. Weitnauer, Jr. Chair, in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been named a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Election to NAI Fellow status is a high professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

The 168 named today bring the total number of NAI Fellows to 582, representing more than 190 prestigious research universities and governmental and non-profit research institutions. The 2015 Fellows account for more than 5,300 issued U.S. patents, bringing the collective patents held by all NAI Fellows to more than 20,000. These academic luminaries have made a significant impact to the economy through innovative discoveries, creating startup companies, and enhancing the culture of academic invention.

Included among all NAI Fellows are more than 80 presidents and senior leaders of research universities and non-profit research institutes, 310 members of the other National Academies (NAS, NAE, NAM), 27 inductees of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, 32 recipients of the U.S. National Medal of Technology and Innovation and U.S. National Medal of Science, 27 Nobel Laureates, 14 Lemelson-MIT prize recipients, 170 AAAS Fellows, and 98 IEEE Fellows, among other awards and distinctions. 

The NAI Fellows will be inducted on April 15, 2016, as part of the Fifth Annual Conference of the National Academy of Inventors at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va. USPTO Commissioner for Patents Andrew Hirshfeld will provide the keynote address for the induction ceremony. Fellows will be presented with a special trophy, medal, and rosette pin in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.

Rohatgi joined the ECE faculty at Georgia Tech in 1985 and started a program on photovoltaics, which has become one of the best in the country. He has become an internationally recognized leader in photovoltaics. He is the founding director of the first university-based DOE Center of Excellence in Photovoltaic Research and Education. He is the author of more than 400 publications and holds 16 U.S. patents. Rohatgi has received numerous awards and distinctions from professional societies and Georgia Tech. He is the founder and CTO for Suniva.

Rohatgi has positioned Suniva as a U.S. leader in the research, development and manufacturing of high-efficiency, low-cost crystalline silicon cells using unique technology that evolved from his work at UCEP. Rohatgi continues his research on the development of low-cost high-efficiency cells, innovative cell designs, and cost and technology roadmaps for attaining grid parity with silicon PV.

Under Rohatgi’s leadership, Suniva has accomplished several industry firsts and achievements, including the fastest ramp-up to 100MW production in the industry (and current expansion to 170MW); the raising of $270 million in capital since Suniva’s inception; the successful production of cell efficiencies exceeding 19%, and R&D cell efficiencies exceeding 20%.

The academic inventors and innovators elected to the rank of NAI Fellow are named inventors on U.S. patents and were nominated by their peers for outstanding contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, significant impact on society, and support and enhancement of innovation.

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The National Academy of Inventors® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit member organization comprised of U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 3,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 200 institutions, and growing rapidly. It was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The NAI edits the multidisciplinary journal, Technology and Innovation, published by Cognizant Communication Corporation (NY). www.academyofinventors.org