Yuill receives prestigious 2016 ASHRAE New Investigator Award

Yuill receives prestigious 2016 ASHRAE New Investigator Award

Calendar Icon Feb 11, 2016      Person Bust Icon By Karl Vogel     RSS Feed RSS

David Yuill, associate professor of architectural engineering, has been chosen to receive the prestigious 2016 ASHRAE New Investigator Award. The award is given annually to one faculty member worldwide.
David Yuill, associate professor of architectural engineering, has been chosen to receive the prestigious 2016 ASHRAE New Investigator Award. The award is given annually to one faculty member worldwide.
David Yuill didn’t take a typical path to becoming a UNL faculty member at the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction.

However, Yuill’s journey has led to his being recognized by his peers as one of the top new engineering faculty in the world as the recipient of the 2016 ASHRAE New Investigator Award and a $100,000 prize.

“I certainly came to this later in life than most people would,” said Yuill, an assistant professor of architectural engineering whose resume not only includes working as an executive in an engineering consulting company, but also as a musician and a hunting guide in Canada. “I’ve found, later than most, that I love being in the academic world. It’s the right job for me.”

The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers agreed, choosing Yuill from 17 international candidates to receive the prestigious award.

Eligible faculty members must be nominated by a department head or chair and be within five years of starting a full-time tenure-track or tenured faculty position at the nominating institution and within five years of having received a Ph.D. or equivalent degree.

When considering the nominated faculty, ASHRAE weighs each candidate’s competence in engineering, potential for growth as a professional researcher, and potential for significant development as an educator and academic leader in the training of future engineers in ASHRAE’s areas of interest.

“David’s experiences prior to returning to gain his Ph.D. are very valuable,” said Jay Puckett, director of the Durham School. “They make David a strong researcher and a strong teacher. But more than that, he’s an excellent communicator, very well organized, and at the core of his teaching is that he cares deeply about his students.”

While Yuill is happy to have been chosen to receive the award, he sees greater benefit in how it will positively affect his research and the graduate students who work on it.

“When we do research, often times we have to do it with a lot of hope,” Yuill said. “The important thing about this prize is that it will give me a little wiggle room and make the lives of some Ph.D. students a little less stressful.

“You might hire a Ph.D. student and not have funding or you have the money but don’t have a student to do the work. Either way you can’t get the research done. This prize means we can start working without having to worry about disaster.”

Yuill said he plans to pursue research in dynamic fault-enabled models that could better predict how and when parts of air-conditioning systems will break down or fail. That technology, Yuill said, could make the machines last longer and use less energy.

Receiving the New Investigator Award, Yuill said, is gratifying because of how closely his professional goals line up with those of ASHRAE.

“Their mandate is to make the built environment better for people, and to decrease energy consumption, to reduce our impact on the planet,” Yuill said. “I became an engineer because I wanted to do something good. My way of doing that is largely using less energy. Hopefully, this will help make the world better.”