Awards & Accolades

Awards & Accolades

By University Communications
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A University-led team won a Department of Energy prize for its design of a a robotically applied, 3D-sprayable exterior insulation system for buildings.
A University-led team won a Department of Energy prize for its design of a a robotically applied, 3D-sprayable exterior insulation system for buildings.
Michael Johnson, assistant professor of immunobiology
Michael Johnson, assistant professor of immunobiology
Susan Briante, professor of English
Susan Briante, professor of English
Environment and Natural Resources 2
Environment and Natural Resources 2
Carol Stewart, associate vice president for Tech Parks Arizona
Carol Stewart, associate vice president for Tech Parks Arizona

University researchers win E-ROBOT prize from the Department of Energy

A team of University researchers is one of 10 Phase 1 prize winners in the U.S. Department of Energy's Envelope Retrofit Opportunities for Building Optimization Technologies – or E-ROBOT – competition.

The team's members are Wolfgang Fink, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, Jonathan Bean, assistant professor of architecture, and Dewey Benson, president of Energy Quest Technologies Inc. Brian Adair, director of corporate engagement for Research, Innovation & Impact, and Doug Hockstad, assistant vice president for Tech Launch Arizona, also were involved.

The E-ROBOT competition calls on teams to use robotics to develop minimally invasive and low-cost "envelope retrofit" solutions that make existing buildings more energy efficient while also improving safety for workers.

The University team developed wall-EIFS, a robotically applied, 3D-sprayable exterior insulation and finish system for building envelope retrofits. The team says the system allows crews to add insulation to a building and increase its energy performance while saving more than 50% in time, labor and materials. Furthermore, wall-EIFS adds the ability to preserve or change the aesthetic appearance of a building.

The winning Phase 1 teams are awarded $200,000 each and an opportunity to advance to Phase 2 as finalists. Fink and Bean say they have not decided whether they will advance wall-EIFS to Phase 2.

Fink came to the University in 2009 and specializes in areas including human and brain-machine interfaces, smart service systems and autonomous systems. Bean joined the University in 2017 and focuses his research on areas including building science and market transformation.

The E-ROBOT competition is part of a series of "American-Made Challenges" sponsored by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Johnson wins diversity award from the American Society for Microbiology

Michael Johnson, assistant professor of immunobiology and BIO5 Institute member, has won the William A. Hinton Award for Advancement of a Diverse Community of Microbiologists from the American Society for Microbiology.

The award recognizes outstanding contributions to fostering the research training of minorities and increasing diversity in microbiology. It is named for William A. Hinton, a physician-research scientist who was one of the first Black members of the American Society for Microbiology.

Johnson joined the University in 2016. His research focuses on understanding how bacteria interact with metals during infections.

Briante wins award from the Poetry Foundation

Susan Briante, professor of English, has won the 2021 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism from the Poetry Foundation. The award recognizes biographies, essay collections and critical editions that consider the subject of poetry or poets.

Briante won the award for "Defacing the Monument," a series of essays on immigration, archives, aesthetics and the state. The collection examines what official records reveal or obscure about migration and bureaucracies relating to the U.S-Mexico border. The award come with a $7,500 prize.

The Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization committed to promoting the presence of poetry in culture. The organization publishes Poetry magazine.

Read more in this story on the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences website.

ENR2 wins prestigious architecture award

Environment and Natural Resources 2 has received a 2021 International Architecture Award in the schools and universities category. The award program, which celebrates innovative design in buildings and urban planning projects throughout the world, is organized by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and Metropolitan Arts Press.

In a project description on the International Architecture Award page, ENR2 is praised for its design, which draws from Arizona's dramatic canyon and mesa landforms. The description notes that "these natural forms are reflected in the building's canyon-like courtyard and dynamic façade, tying it to the powerful and evocative sequence of the desert slot canyon."

A panel of seven industry leaders chose award winners in 26 categories from a pool of more than 800 entries from 46 countries.

ENR2 was completed in 2015 and has LEED Platinum certification.

Stewart named president of International Association of Science Parks division

Carol Stewart, associate vice president for Tech Parks Arizona, has been elected president of the North America Division of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation.

Stewart joined the University in 2018 and oversees the tech parks at Rita Road and The Bridges as well as the University of Arizona Center for Innovation, a technology business incubator network. She will serve a two-year term.

IASP is a global network for science parks, innovation districts and other areas of innovation with more than 350 member organizations from 76 countries.

Read more in this story on the Tech Parks Arizona website.


We want to know about your good news. If you, your team or a colleague has won any major awards, been honored nationally or internationally, or accomplished some other major feat that deserves recognition, let us know about it.

To submit your news, please send us an email with the following information:

  • Name of the person, team or unit receiving the honor with full University titles.
  • Information about the award/honor and the organization that granted it. Please include a link to the official announcement of the award/honor.
  • When the honor was announced and when it will be presented (or was presented).
  • A photo of the honoree. If others appear in the photo, please provide their names and identifying information, such as their University title/affiliation.

Questions? Contact Lo Que Pasa at uaatwork@arizona.edu.

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