Qualls to Direct the Energy, Defense and AgriTech Research Initiative at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology

Jan. 27, 2022 — Dr. Louis Qualls has been selected to establish and direct the ENDEAVOR Research Initiative at the University of Memphis FedEx Institute of Technology beginning Feb. 1.

ENDEAVOR, which stands for Energy, Defense and AgriTech Innovation Research, will pursue connected multi-discipline research to address shifts in population, the environment and policy in a rapidly evolving and increasingly challenging world. 

Qualls received his PhD in nuclear engineering from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is currently a distinguished researcher at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and an adjunct professor in the University of Tennessee Department of Nuclear Engineering.

He has worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for more than three decades performing advanced energy research with an emphasis on next-generation reactors for both terrestrial and space applications. He served as ORNL’s program manager for space power system development from 2007-17 and was appointed in 2017 as the Department of Energy’s first national technical director for molten salt reactors. Under these programs, he managed broad research and policy portfolios that are now instrumental in the commercial development of reactors for clean energy production and space exploration.

“We are looking forward to welcoming Dr. Qualls to our research team,” said Dr. Jasbir Dhaliwal, executive vice president of Research & Innovation at the University of Memphis. “His accomplishments and reputation as a preeminent national expert in nuclear energy fits well with our status as a flagship Carnegie R1 research institution in Tennessee.” 

An early emphasis of ENDEAVOR will be to develop strategic partnerships with other regional research communities in order to focus on issues specific to the Mid-South and Southeast. The objective is to create a regional ecosystem where science and technology are used to address key sector challenges and foster innovation that attracts the best scholars, students, businesses and research infrastructure.

The FedEx Institute of Technology is an advanced technology and research organization that functions as a catalyst for interdisciplinary research and innovation in emerging technologies by supporting cross-campus research innovation clusters. These clusters focus on specific areas such as intelligent systems, drones, cyber security testing, biologistics, autonomous vehicles, robotics, smart biomaterials, additive manufacturing, agriculture and food technologies, electric vehicles and precision medicine.

For more information on ENDEAVOR and/or the research areas identified, contact Qualls at fedex@memphis.edu.