Dr. Kenneth R. Swartzel, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences at North Carolina State University, received the 2011 N.C. State University Innovator of the Year Award.
He currently serves as the coordinator of Bioprocessing Programs for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. He also serves as the director of the national Association of Public and Land-Grant University’s Food Systems Leadership Institute.
Swartzel previously was department head of Food Science, 1993-2004, and he served as the UNC system’s director of the N.C. Technology Development Initiative, 2002-2003. His teaching and research interests have been in basic and applied kinetic principles and engineering considerations relative to processing and packaging of biomaterials.
In 1987 he founded CAPPS, an NSF Research Center that focuses on advanced biomaterial processing and packaging. CAPPS has since provided funding for more than 180 research projects at 14 different universities.
Swartzel has been recognized with nine international research awards and was named fellow of both the Institute of Food Technologists and the ASAE-The Society for Engineering in Agricultural, Food, and Biological Systems. He contributed to developments leading to three Institute of Food Technology Industrial Achievement Awards (1994, 2009 and 2011). In 2006 he received the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest award made by the university in recognition of a faculty member’s career achievements and contributions at N.C. State.
In addition to 121 research publications to his credit, he has co-authored 22 issued U.S patents. Licensed revenue from several of these N.C. State University-owned patents has exceeded $20 million, with licenses and/or know-how forming the foundation for seven start-up companies in North Carolina. Additionally, Swartzel has brought in more than $23 million in external funding and/or in-kind equipment donations to the university.
Swartzel received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from N.C. State.
The N.C. State Entrepreneur and Innovator of the Year awards, selected by the university’s Office of Technology Transfer, were established to recognize members of the N.C. State community who work to promote the commercialization of university intellectual property, train future leaders, and serve as champions of the university’s culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. Swartzel’s award was presented at the OTT annual awards program on Nov. 22 at the N.C. State Alumni Center.