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David Sholl will serve as interim executive director of the UT-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute. Photo credit: Genevieve Martin/ORNL, U.S. Department of Energy

The University of Tennessee-Oak Ridge Innovation Institute is positioned to leverage and extend the best capabilities of UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to accelerate discovery and innovation, interdisciplinary graduate education and talent development.

In pursuit of these goals, David Sholl, director of ORNL’s Transformational Decarbonization Initiative, has been appointed the institute’s interim executive director, effective June 12.

Sholl’s background, passion and expertise will ensure continued progress as the institute recruits exemplary joint research faculty, builds its research portfolio, develops students and prepares them to become leaders, and contributes to workforce development in areas important to Tennessee.

“The work UT faculty and students are doing in partnership with ORNL researchers is advancing the frontiers of knowledge and strengthening Tennessee’s leadership role in areas like clean energy, future mobility, advanced materials and next-generation manufacturing,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “We look forward to working with David and to leveraging our strategic partnership with ORNL to advance discoveries, learning and innovations that make life and lives better here in Tennessee and around the world.”

Sholl joined ORNL two years ago to lead TDI and for the past year has also served part-time with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations, working on the portfolio strategy and multiyear program plan for OCED’s execution of clean energy demonstration projects. Sholl’s personal research focuses on using materials modeling to develop new chemical processes. Before joining ORNL, he chaired the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Georgia Tech.

Sholl is a fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was a senior editor for Langmuir for 10 years and is currently the editor-in-chief of AIChE Journal. He has published more than 420 papers and three books.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in theoretical physics from the Australian National University, Sholl received his master’s and doctorate in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado Boulder.

He brings to the interim role a strong scientific background, excellent leadership experience, and a deep understanding of both university and national laboratory organizations.


Christie Kennedy (865-974-8674,