A pair of researchers with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) have been recognized for their significant contributions to the Army's selection as a 2012 Top 100 Global Innovators Award.

Bartley Durst and Toney Cummins with the ERDC Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory (GSL) were named two of the top 20 inventors in the Army for 2009-2011.

During that timeframe, Durst has been issued five patents, with two additional applications under review by the U.S. Patent Office. Focusing primarily on blast protective cement or composite products, his research is currently providing force protection services to Army units in the field.

"I am particularly gratified that the Modular Protective System invention is addressing critical protection requirements and making a significant impact for the Warfighter," said Durst. "Though these two applications, filed in 2009, are pending review in the patent office, this invention is already licensed and in production. This capability has been fielded with our forces in Afghanistan for Soldier and Civilian protection."
An ERDC researcher since 1983, Durst is currently chief of the GSL Geosciences and Structures Division. In that capacity, he manages a diverse research organization divided into four branches -- Survivability Engineering, Structural Engineering, Structural Mechanics, and Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences - with more than 200 employees and an annual budget exceeding $200 million.
Cummins has worked in a diverse variety of areas within GSL since 1982. He currently serves with the GSD research group, providing technical guidance and oversight to new and emerging research programs. He holds five patents on advanced materials solutions for force protection applications, and currently has an additional four patent applications pending.
"I was quite surprised when I saw an e-mail on the selection announcement. I immediately thought of the many researchers here at ERDC that contributed to the efforts behind this award," Cummins said. "I consider myself very fortunate to be part of an organization where leadership is so committed to the researchers, providing the resources we need, such as new staff with such innovative and creative contributions to solve critical problems for our country."
"When you couple the Soldier's need for the products we develop, the commitment we receive from industry in transitioning ideas to reality, and the support we get from the Army in providing solutions, this really is a wonderful place to work. Someone once told me I was able to think through the box, not just outside the box. To me, that means being innovative while staying grounded in solving problems. I … am glad to work in an environment where such concepts thrive."
According to ERDC Director Dr. Jeffery P. Holland, "Bart and Toney are great examples of the dedicated innovators we have here at ERDC. They are passionate about what they do, and about serving their nation and its military. Am I proud that their work has been recognized with such a prestigious award? Most certainly, but even more so, I am proud of them."

The "Top 100 Global Innovators Award" is presented by Thomson Reuters, the world's largest multimedia and information conglomerate. The award considers only organizations having at least 100 or more innovative patents during the specified years. The U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy are the first government agencies in the world to be selected. More than 900 individuals contributed to the Army's patents, including personnel from The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, the Army Corps of Engineers (of which ERDC is a part), and partners from industry, government and academia.

Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics & Technology Heidi Shyu accepted the award on behalf of the Army during a ceremony at the Pentagon Apr 30. Durst represented ERDC at the event.

"This recognition is shared with the members of our Army Science and Technology community who perform research relevant for the Army and our important mission, and provide the innovation that contributes to a strong national security posture," said Shyu.

"Nearly 12,000 scientists and engineers perform their work daily, knowing that it will benefit our Soldiers by providing them with the best technology available to successfully accomplish their mission."

Mary J. Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for research and technology stated, "Army science and technology cannot survive without innovative scientists and engineers. We are lucky to have an amazing group of scientists and engineers to invent, innovate, mature and demonstrate technology that provides increased capability to the Warfighter.

Thomson Reuters considered 436 Army inventions for the award, looking at patents from across the spectrum of the Army's science and technology enterprise. In addition to the 20 specifically mentioned, scientists from throughout the Army contributed significantly to the selection.

The 2012 Global Innovators Award selectees represent companies and organizations from eight countries, including diverse industries such as computer hardware, semiconductor and electronic components and telecommunications, along with colleges and universities. Notable companies included are Apple, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Toyota, Ford, General Electric, Chevron, Dow, Dupont, Siemens and Exxon, among others.

The ERDC is the premier research and development facility for USACE, with more than 2,500 employees, $1.2 billion in facilities, and an annual research program exceeding $2 billion. It conducts research in both military and civil works mission areas for the Department of Defense and the nation.