Director, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute
University of Colorado Boulder
Bob McGrath earned a PhD in nuclear engineering (plasma physics) from the University of Michigan, in addition to BS, MS and MA degrees in engineering sciences, physics and mathematics from Penn State. He has served as educator, researcher and executive administrator at several major universities and national laboratories. Bob began his professional career as Assistant Professor in the College of Engineering at Penn State before joining Sandia National Laboratories from 1982-1994. In the academic community, he served as tenured professor in Engineering Science, Material Science and Physics before being recruited to serve as associate vice president for research at Penn State University, as Senior VP for Research at Ohio State and later as senior VP for research at Georgia Tech. Bob served as researcher and/or R&D program manager at Sandia National Laboratories with responsibility at various times for Cooperative Research and Development Agreements (CRADAs) with SEMATECH on microelectronics manufacturing, for the Lab’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 and the Former Soviet Union. In 2008, Bob played an instrumental role in Battelle Memorial Institute’s successful bid to win the contract to Manage and Operate the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and served as NREL’s Deputy Director for Research during the contract’s formative initial phase. Dr. McGrath has a strong track record of accomplishment working with federal agencies such as NSF, NIH, DOE, NASA, DoD and DHS, as well as on R&D partnerships with industry, IP management, technology transfer, economic development and job creation. McGrath has contributed to the nation’s overall R&D strategy, for example, by contributing to the Defense Science Board’s 2013 Report on Technical Enablers for Superiority in 2030, and recently serving on a task force for the Secretary of Energy assessing National Laboratory management, investments and industry partnerships.