NEWgenerator by BioReNEW An interview with Daniel Yeh of NEWgenerator-Winners of the Cade Museum Prize 2014.
Q. How was your experience with the Cade Museum Prize?
A. One word: Amazing. Going through the different rounds of selection, from submitting the application to being notified by Alexandra on the Sweet 16, to getting the phone call from Richard on the Final 4, to holding my breath and hearing Marty announcing NEWgenerator the winner. It has been an absolute thrill beyond words. Watching my student team in the audience go completely crazy with the winning announcement was priceless. For the students, who have worked with me tirelessly over the past few years to develop the technology, the public recognition was validation of the significance of their work. The entire prize experience was absolutely first rate. From the Sweet 16 Reception to the Prize Night, one can tell that the Cade Museum dreams big and are not afraid to swing for the fence. The entire flight-themed event was imaginative and breathtaking. I am looking forward to working with the Museum in a newfound partnership.
Q. Besides the cash award what was the most beneficial aspect of participating in this?
A. The Cade Prize was a validation of the hard work and vision of our team. We have always believed in what we are doing, from the global significance to the novelty of our technology. This is what has driven my research group at USF for the last 10 years. What we weren’t sure about was whether others, especially those not in our field, would feel the same. Our technology is neither sleek nor sexy, but it speaks to the future of our planet. I think the Cade leadership and the judges really understood and supported our vision of developing and implementing a technology that can simultaneous address a number of the world’s grand challenges by safely and efficiently transforming waste into beneficial resources. We can’t do this alone. With the Cade Prize, we are now building a coalition of supporters and resources towards the vision.
Q. What would you tell someone who was considering entering the prize next year?
A. My advice is to dream big. The Museum wants ideas that will be transformative and make a difference for the world. Also, regardless of the outcome, get in touch with the Museum and offer to help, from educating children to demonstrating technologies to fundraising. The Cade Museum is a vision about to become a physical reality, and there is so much momentum behind it. There are opportunities for everyone, from seasoned entrepreneurs to aspiring inventors, to become involved. We need to continue to grow the creative and inventive spirits that made this country the leader that it is, and there is so much talent right here in the State of Florida.
Q. Give me two statements on your experience with the Cade Museum.
A. Working with the Cade Museum has been a very energizing and refreshing experience. The Museum leadership are visionaries. They understand what inventors need to take their ideas from lab to field to market.
A. Dr. James Robert Cade always believed that inventions should be used to the betterment of humanity. We feel that our NEWgenerator technology embodies a number of his ideals and are deeply honored to receive the 2014 Cade Museum Prize.