RIT recognizes newest class of PI Millionaires

Fifteen faculty-researchers honored for exciting research and significant funding from national organizations

Traci Westcott/RIT

Vice President for Research Ryne Raffaelle honored the 2023 class of PI Millionaires—faculty and staff researchers who received $1 million or more in research funding—at a campus reception on March 26.

RIT celebrated another exemplary year of research funding and honored 15 faculty and staff researchers in its newest class of PI Millionaires. The honorees, all principal investigators on innovative projects, were recognized at a reception on March 26 at the university.

The 15 distinguished researchers inducted as PI Millionaires are those receiving $1 million or more in funding over the fiscal year and leading some of the most active projects under way at the university. The group was praised for its work and impact the research could make in areas such as behavioral health, semiconductor design and development, cybersecurity, and 3D printing and sustainable preservation.

University research funding has topped $1 billion collectively since 2010, said Ryne Raffaelle, RIT vice president for Research and associate provost.

“The strategic plan goals set for the Research Division were exceeded and reached earlier than expected. The amazing thing about this year is we’re on track to remain among the top universities in research spending. The state of our research union is strong,” he said.

Since 2001, RIT has recognized its accomplished faculty-researchers through the annual PI Millionaire Reception. Today, there are more than 350 principal investigators and colleagues on active, multi-disciplinary projects.

Faculty and staff honored as PI Millionaires for 2023 are:

Also recognized at the event were Seed Funding awardees, who are faculty members in the beginning stages of a research career. Members of the 2023 class are:

Both the PI Millionaires and Seed Funding awardees are part of the growing research initiatives taking place at RIT and contributed to the more than $94 million awarded to scholars across RIT’s colleges. Key research areas include nanotechnology, optics and imaging science, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Many of these awards were funded by national agencies such as the National Science Foundation ($16.5 million), the Department of Defense ($15.2 million), National Institutes of Health ($8.1 million), and the Department of Energy ($7.5 million).

Since 2004, 19 faculty members have received NSF CAREER awards, including the two newest honorees this academic year: Bing Yan, for improving low-carbon grids with renewables and energy storage, and Amy Engelbrecht-Wiggans, to better understand fiber bundle failure mechanics for ultra-high reliability applications.

The total value of the proposals submitted was $325 million—a 23 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, putting RIT in the top 50 of all private research universities in the country.


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