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Former NIST Director Willie May to lead research division at Morgan State

May, who led the national innovation agency for three years, will oversee commercialization efforts.

Inside Morgan State's CREAM lab. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Morgan State University appointed the former director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to oversee research.
Willie E. May will start as Vice President of Research and Economic Development on May 9. He will lead the department known as D-RED, which supports faculty research across departments and oversees IP and commercialization efforts.
May served as director of NIST, which promotes innovation and runs a network of labs and partnerships (we hear a lot about its cybersecurity framework around here), for three years after being appointed by President Barack Obama. He began at the 3,400-employee research institution in 1971, and worked his way up to the top post, overseeing a $1.2 billion budget. May most recently served as director of major research and training initiatives for the College of Computer, Mathematical and Natural Sciences, at the University of Maryland College Park.


“Dr. May is a welcomed addition to Morgan’s staff. With the establishment of a dedicated division for University research and the State’s designation of Morgan as its Preeminent Public Urban Research University, it was imperative that we tap one of the top scientific minds available to continue our momentum and lead us into the future,” said Morgan State President David Wilson. “He will play a huge role in our success in meeting the goals we have set for Morgan’s research and economic development work.”
According to the university, May will look to encourage collaboration between different departments and schools, as well as promoting research to corporations and increasing international opportunities.
Morgan has also been working to increase tech transfer activities, and recently announced its first licensing deal with spinout Cykloburn Technologies, a company working to convert poultry farm litter into clean energy. As far as industry collaboration, botanical research firm Vitreon also announced a move to Baltimore last year as a result of Morgan State’s work in the area. A new IoT lab is also drawing interest from the state’s intelligence community.

Companies: Morgan State University

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