Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory
Ralph Semmel is taking a strategic approach leading the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, the nation’s largest university-affiliated research center.
During his tenure, the lab has sent robotic spacecraft from the sun to Pluto and beyond, fortified the nation’s cyberdefenses, strengthened the nation’s defenses and developed advanced prosthetics and health care systems for wounded warriors.
“APL is focused on bold, next-generation initiatives pursued in a culture of experimentation that enables and encourages people to reach far and take risks,” Semmel said. “Our goal is to create defining innovations that will have game-changing impact and ensure our nation’s preeminence in the 21st century.”
Since 2010, he has served as director of the lab with more than 6,700 employees, prioritizing areas of emerging innovation and critical need. The lab opened a new Intelligent Systems Center in 2016 that will explore the leading edge of artificial intelligence, machine learning, human-to-computer interaction, robotics and precision health care systems.
He’s also promoted lab-wide innovation initiatives, like open competitions for internal grants and innovation spaces that are open around the clock. Next year, the lab will open its newest building, the 260,000-square foot future home of the research and development department.