Hull is an integral part of the Technology Park’s focus to help companies stay on the leading edge of their industry.
Robert Hull, senior associate vice president for research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, serves as the research ambassador for the Rensselaer Technology Park Campus. In this special liaison role, Hull’s mission is to connect the Technology Park’s company tenants with Rensselaer faculty expertise. “My role as the research ambassador is to match research that is being conducted across the university campus with companies at the Technology Park to help these businesses advance their products and services,” Hull says.
This means that Hull can reach out to any of the 325 faculty across five schools who collaborate in multidisciplinary projects in areas that encompass Rensselaer’s five signature thrusts: energy, environment, and smart systems; biotechnology and the life sciences; media, arts, science, and technology; computational science and engineering; and nanotechnology and advanced materials. Hull also has connections to Rensselaer’s thriving community of entrepreneurial faculty whose seminal ideas and analytical insights can help companies translate fundamental research into innovative products and processes to help businesses move forward. Hull is readily familiar with Rensselaer’s state-of-the-art facilities, which include a cleanroom, high-performance computing spaces, and immersive technology and cognitive computing labs that are housed in world-renowned centers and are available for industry use. Associated centers include the Center for Automation Technologies and Systems, Center for Future Energy Systems, the Lighting Research Center, the Center for Computational Innovations, and Institute for Data Exploration and Applications, among more than a dozen Institutewide research centers across campus.
“Robert Hull’s grasp of the types of research that faculty across campus engage in and his own diverse range of expertise and interests make him an invaluable asset to the types of world-renown companies that choose to locate in our business park,” says Rensselaer Technology Park Director Karl Lampson. “He is an integral part of the Technology Park’s focus on building partnerships to help companies stay on the leading edge of their specialties and technologies,” Lampson adds. “This partnership approach also provides excellent opportunities for students to learn how to apply classroom and lab experiences with companies looking for students who want to change the world.”
Hull has served in various leadership roles at Rensselaer for more than a decade. He joined the university in 2008 as the head of the Materials Science and Engineering Department and as the Henry Burlage Professor of Engineering. In 2014, he was named as the first director of Rensselaer’s Center for Materials, Devices, and Integrated Systems. Hull has extensive experience both in the business and academic sectors, having worked as a physics researcher for 10 years at Bell Laboratory and after that as the director of an NSF Materials Research Science Engineering Center at the University of Virginia, among other positions, before he came to Rensselaer. His wide range of expertise and interests includes structure and property elements in electronic materials; fundamental mechanisms of thin film growth; and the self-assembly of nanoscale structures. Other areas of interest include optoelectronic devices, advanced semiconductors, and nanoscale fabrication techniques.
“The Technology Park is a thriving community that provides an ideal environment for a diversity of companies that are especially reflective of the technological strengths of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute,” Hull says. “It’s a win-win situation for both the university and our business partners when we can build relationships and work together to address some of the world’s biggest problems and issues, with the ultimate goal of making the biggest positive impact on society.”