Professor Roger Ruan named National Academy of Inventors Fellow

Ruan holds 19 patents on new technologies that break down waste into valuable biobased products

MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (12/15/2023) — University of Minnesota Twin Cities Professor Roger Ruan has been named a National Academy of Inventors (NAI) Fellow and will be inducted into the NAI at the academy’s ceremony in June 2024. Ruan is one of only 162 academic inventors to be awarded the honor this year. 

Ruan is a professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering (BBE) and the director of the Center for Biorefining at the University of Minnesota.

Ruan's research focuses on renewable energy and environment technologies as well as food engineering for sustainable development and circular economy. He hold 19 U.S. patents and has published more than 600 papers in refereed journals, two books, and 28 book chapters. Ruan is a top-cited author in engineering and technologies with more than 35,000 citations. He has supervised more than 75 graduate students, 150 post-doctoral fellows and other engineers and scientists, many of whom hold University faculty positions. 

Ruan has received and managed more than 200 projects totaling more than $45 million in research funding, including several large grants from federal agencies and industry. He has organized and chaired international conferences and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in renewable energy technologies, food process engineering, and more. 

“Roger is an innovative researcher; his work represents significant advances of utilizing biomass and solid wastes for valuable commodities, and implementing new technologies such as catalytic non-thermal plasma and low temperature microwave/pulse microwave at the production scale,” said BBE Department Head Hua Zhao. “He sets an excellent example of integrating innovation, discovery and research together.”

Ruan earned an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from China Agricultural University, his master's from Oklahoma State University, and his Ph.D. in agriculture and biological engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He joined the faculty of the University of Minnesota in 1991. He was named an American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers Fellow in 2015 and an Institute of Food Technologists Fellow in 2019. Ruan received the Pandey Research Excellence Award from the International Bioprocessing Association in 2022. 

To see the full list of inductees, visit the National Academy of Inventors website.