UAB’s Marchase, Sicking named NAI Charter Fellows for inventing

UAB interim president, School of Engineering professor named NAI Charter Fellows for involvement in inventions that impact life, society.

Richard Marchase, Ph.D.

University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Interim President Richard Marchase, Ph.D., and School of Engineering professor Dean Sicking, Ph.D., have been named National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Charter Fellows. The NAI selection committee cited the researchers’ “highly 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.”

Marchase, who joined UAB in 1986 and was named vice president for research and economic development in 2005, works directly with the Alabama Development Office, Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and Birmingham Business Alliance, and he oversees the UAB Research Foundation. During his tenure he has expanded UAB’s research, technology transfer and economic development enterprises.

“I am very grateful to be named an inaugural NAI Fellow, but, in contrast to Dr. Sicking, I was honored not so much for personal discoveries but on behalf of the many UAB researchers who are daily pushing the envelope in engineering, drug discovery and many other fields,” said Marchase. “My induction is really a testament to UAB’s robust capacity for innovation, and translating those discoveries to benefit our community and state in the form of better health, quality of life and economic development.”

Dean Sicking, Ph.D.

Sicking, one of the developers of the Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barriers used on NASCAR and IRL tracks, has spent 32 years researching highway safety. He estimates his innovations have saved 1,000 lives each year on U.S. highways. In 2005 Sicking received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, the highest honor the U.S. president can award an innovator. In addition to research and teaching, Sicking is the associate vice president of product development at UAB.

“I attended the first NAI conference last February, where I met many truly accomplished inventors who have changed this world for the better,” said Sicking. “I am really surprised and deeply honored to be considered worthy of being in this group.”

The NAI named 98 innovators, who hold more than 3,200 U.S. patents, from 54 research universities and non-profit research institutes. According to the NAI website, all of the honorees “have made 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.”