Source: University of Tennessee | Release | August 21, 2019

Alan Liby, former director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory Advanced Manufacturing Program, has been appointed director of the University of Tennessee’s Joint Institute for Advanced Materials (JIAM). Located at UT’s Research Park at Cherokee Farm, JIAM is a partnership between UT and ORNL. His tenure began on August 19.

“The University of Tennessee is a leading authority in advanced materials and manufacturing,” said Robert Nobles, interim vice chancellor for research. “By leveraging the joint institute’s resources and expertise, Liby will help elevate the visibility of this program beyond its current scope.”

UT and ORNL established JIAM in 2005 as a way of bringing together material scientists to do groundbreaking work. Advancements in physics, computer science, building, and energy collection and storage have all benefited from the work done at JIAM.

As director, Liby will be responsible for the financial management, building operations, core facilities oversight, and administration of grants and contracts for the institute. He will work closely with JIAM-affiliated faculty and staff to continue and strengthen collaborations with UT and ORNL. Liby will also collaborate with the leadership of the Cherokee Farms Development Corporation to position JIAM as the gateway to the research park.

“I am very pleased and excited to have this opportunity to work with UT, ORNL leadership, and research communities to develop new opportunities for collaboration between these two great institutions,” said Liby. “The possibilities are truly boundless.”

For the past year, Liby has worked as an advisor to Montefibre Hispania, S.A., a textile plant located in northwest Spain. In that role, he worked with ORNL and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) to transition plant production from textile acrylic fiber to specialty acrylic fiber as a precursor to commercial carbon fiber production.

While at ORNL, Liby was strongly involved in the development of IACMI, coordinating input from its diverse partnership of universities, state governments, and industry.

Liby spent 14 years at ORNL in various leadership roles including managing industrial and economic partnerships and leading initiatives in commercialization of emerging technologies, entrepreneurial development, and industrial partnerships. He played a critical role in the creation of ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) and Carbon Fiber Technology Facility (CFTF), which were central components of East Tennessee’s involvement in IACMI.

“We’re excited to welcome Alan in his new role at JIAM,” said Nobles. “He has a proven record of working with UT and ORNL researchers and will help create and support research opportunities for our faculty and students.”

Before joining ORNL, Liby was the cofounder and president of the Manufacturing Sciences Corporation (MSC), an Oak Ridge tech-based manufacturing business. Under Liby’s leadership, MSC supplied hundreds of tons of precision detector components to high-energy physics experiments at CERN, FermiLab, and DESY and catalyzed cleanup of the Oak Ridge uranium enrichment complex using technology for recovery of high-value materials from contaminated waste. The company grew from its startup in Boulder, Colorado, to more than 200 employees prior to its sale. It continues to operate under ownership by Global Medical Isotope Systems.