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Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hao Li learns he is the recipient of the UM System President’s Award for Economic Development. The award was presented to him by Leona Rubin, UM Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Education.

Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Hao Li learns he is the recipient of the UM System President’s Award for Economic Development. The award was presented to him by Leona Rubin, UM Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Education.

In front of an audience gathered for an MU College of Engineering faculty meeting, UM System Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Graduate Education Leona Rubin surprised Hao Li, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, with the President’s Award for Economic Development.

The award, which includes a $5,000 prize, recognizes faculty for distinguished activity in meeting the University of Missouri’s goal of serving as an economic engine for the state through entrepreneurial innovation.

Li is the co-founder and president of Nanova, Inc., a company that produces medical devices based on bicomposite and non-thermal plasma technologies.

Thanks to Li’s efforts, the company is well-financed by venture capital firms and federal grants, including several from the National Institutes of Health. Nanova plans to launch its first FDA-approved medical device products this year. The firm is expanding rapidly, and with that is boosting the local economy. The company is currently building a 6,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Columbia and expects to create 20 jobs by the end of 2015.

“Dr. Li effectively demonstrates his passion for interdisciplinary research and capability of applying the research results to help improve others’ life quality as well as to make an impact in the business world,” one nominator wrote.

The UM System President’s Awards are presented annually to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university.