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Lee Moradi, Ph.D., is no stranger to dreaming big.

When he came to UAB in 1996, he came with an idea: to build an engineering organization that was among the best in the United States. In the past 22 years, that dream of Moradi’s came true with the creation and success of Engineering and Innovative Technology Development.

EITD has become one of the nation’s leading developers in cold stowage hardware for use in microgravity and exploration, and its GLACIER refrigeration system, MERLIN thermal carrier and Polar minus-80 degrees Celsius freezer are used aboard the International Space Station.

Moradi, mechanical engineering professor and EITD director, said its success is due entirely to the employees and managers who are committed to the project. The UAB team “is the best I have seen in my 40-year career,” he said.

The EITD is just one big idea on campus that grew into reality, and now, UAB wants to give others the opportunity to realize their dreams.

Through UAB’s Grand Challenge initiative, any student, faculty or staff member university-wide can submit a proposal to fix a large, complex and multi-faceted issue — one that requires a combination of technologies, treatments, approaches and policies that a large institution such as UAB can provide to find a solution that will positively impact a large number of people.