Professor Robert McGrath currently serves as the Director of the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI), a joint research institute between the University of Colorado Boulder and the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). He has previously served as scientist, educator and R&D executive leader within major U.S. universities and several DOE National Laboratories.
Bob’s previous positions include serving as Senior Vice President for Research and Director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) (2011-15), Associate Laboratory Director at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) (2008-2010), Senior Vice President for Research at The Ohio State University (2004-2008), and Professor of Engineering Science & Associate Vice President for Research at Penn State University (1996-2004). From 1981 to 1998, Bob served as researcher and/or R&D program manager at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) with responsibility at various times for Cooperative R&D Agreements with SEMATECH on microelectronics manufacturing, for SNL’s Advanced Super Computing Applications Program, and for coordination of U.S. international collaborations on plasma-materials for magnetic fusion with the European Union, Japan, Russia and the Former Soviet Union.
Dr. McGrath earned a PhD in nuclear science and engineering (plasma physics) from the University of Michigan, and MS, MA and BS degrees in physics, mathematics and engineering sciences at Penn State. He has published over a hundred refereed scientific journal articles and professional conference proceedings, many co-authored with the numerous graduate students, post docs and junior researchers that have worked under his mentorship. He has taught dozens of university courses in engineering, mathematics and physics and is passionate about educating our nation’s future generation of scientists and entrepreneurs.
Dr. McGrath has supported development of our nation’s R&D strategy, for example by serving on the U.S. Secretary of Energy’s Task Force (2015-16) assessing DOE National Laboratory management, investments and industry partnerships; by contributing to the Defense Science Board’s (2013) report on Technology and Innovation Enablers for Superiority in 2030; and by co-authoring the Brookings Institute Report – A Blueprint for American Prosperity – Energy Discovery-Innovation Institutes: A Step Towards America’s Energy Sustainability (2009).