Duncan named NUtech Ventures 2023 Emerging Innovator

Ross McCollum Associate Professor Brittany Duncan
Ross McCollum Associate Professor Brittany Duncan

Ross McCollum Associate Professor Brittany Duncan has been named the NUtech Ventures 2023 Emerging Innovator.

NUtech Ventures hosted its 2023 Innovator Celebration on Nov. 6. The annual event featured this year’s Innovator Awards, which recognize university personnel and companies who are developing and commercializing cutting-edge research from Nebraska.

Awards were presented in six categories by members of the NUtech Ventures leadership team: Cheryl Horst, associate director and IP counsel; Jeewan Jyot, director of licensing; and Brad Roth, executive director.

The Emerging Innovator award recognizes an individual, often a junior faculty member, for recent innovation contributions. Duncan was recognized for the development and novel applications of drone and robotic technologies to solve real-world problems.

Duncan is a co-director of the NIMBUS (Nebraska Intelligent MoBile Unmanned Systems) Lab, where she and her team study unmanned systems (with a focus on aerial robotics). In 2018, Duncan was awarded a nearly $550,000 NSF Early Faculty Career Award to continue studying foundational interactions between novice users and small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (sUAVs). The NSF grant supports pre-tenure faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research. Duncan’s long-term research goal is to advance the state-of-the-art in human-drone interaction so that sUAVs can comfortably and safely interact in proximity to a variety of people and communicate with them in a natural and efficient way across varying contexts.

“I'd like to thank all the undergraduate and graduate students who've worked with me on the projects throughout my time at Nebraska, Dr. Justin Bradley for walking with me from assistant professor to named associate professor, Dr. Carrick Detweiler and Sebastian Elbaum for allowing us to join the NIMBUS Lab and creating an amazing place to be successful as a junior faculty member, and NUtech for the award,” Duncan said.

As the university’s technology commercialization affiliate, NUtech Ventures protects, markets and licenses the university’s intellectual property to improve quality of life and promote economic development. NUtech also promotes entrepreneurship through programming and sponsored events.

Watch the video and learn more about the NUtech Innovator Awards here.