U.Va. Engineering Professor Barry Johnson to Lead NSF Division

April 02, 2015

The National Science Foundation has selected University of Virginia engineering professor Barry W. Johnson as director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships of the Directorate for Engineering.

Johnson, who began his term at NSF on March 16, has served since 2006 as senior associate dean for U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he is also the L.A. Lacy Distinguished Professor of Engineering, a position he will continue to hold while serving at the NSF for up to four years.

Johnson “brings an exceptional combination of experiences in engineering research, academic-industry partnerships, entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Pramod Khargonekar, the NSF’s assistant director for engineering. “His insights and leadership will help NSF strengthen the connection between fundamental research and industrial innovations to serve the national interest.”

Johnson joined the U.Va. faculty in 1984 as an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering after working at Harris Corp. for several years. He rose steadily within the department and in 1998 became director of the Center for Safety-Critical Systems. From 2006 to 2011, Johnson was the Engineering School’s associate dean for research.

While at Virginia, Johnson acted as a consultant to more than a dozen companies and government agencies. In 2001 he co-founded the biometric security company Privaris Inc., where he served as chairman of the board of directors and, for nearly four years, as president and chief executive officer.

“Barry has made significant contributions at U.Va. that will have an enduring impact on our University and the commonwealth of Virginia,” U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan said. “He was one of the original architects of CCAM, which has become a nationally recognized model for public-private partnerships, and he has developed many other strategic opportunities that have added strength to the Engineering School and other parts of the University. Barry is a highly respected leader and consensus-builder at the state and national levels, and he will be a valuable addition to NSF.”

Johnson earned his bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and Ph.D. in electrical engineering at U.Va. His expertise is in techniques for the design and analysis of safety-critical systems. He has investigated architectures and algorithms to ensure the safety of hardware/software systems, and he has developed methods for modeling, analyzing and predicting the safety of these systems. He has published more than 150 technical articles, and he is an inventor on 29 issued patents.

Johnson’s work has been recognized with many awards, including the Frederick Emmons Terman Award, the C. Holmes MacDonald Award and the Alan Berman Research Publications Award. He won the Alumni Board of Trustees and U.Va. Endowment Fund Young Teacher Award, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award and the U.Va. Engineering Foundation Outstanding Faculty Award. Johnson has been active in IEEE as both a committee member and editor, and in 2006 he was named a fellow of IEEE for his contributions to fault-tolerant computing. He served as president of the IEEE Computer Society in 1997.

“It has been my great pleasure to work with Barry as both a graduate student and as a colleague,” said James Aylor, dean of the Engineering School. “His service to the Engineering School had a big impact on what we were able to achieve during my tenure as dean. I know that his knowledge and expertise will serve the division well.”

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Josie Pipkin

Director of Communications, School of Engineering and Applied Science