Annual Award of the Industrial Research Institute Medal
To ROBERT A. FROSCH
For his outstanding leadership in industrial research management as GM Vice President in charge of the General Motors Research and Development Center, and as a founder of the field of industrial ecology; in championing important scientific and engineering developments in areas such as industrial ecology, materials science, systems engineering, electronics, biomedical research, and advanced CAD/CAM engineering and analysis, which have had impact far beyond the automotive industry; and in successfully spearheading the creation of innovative methods of technology transfer to speed the implementation of new technology into automotive products. As General Motors Vice President in charge of the GM Research and Development Center from 1982 to 1993, Dr. Frosch promoted a vision for industrial research as a continually evolving activity firmly "sighted" on the future. Operating with this philosophy, the R&D Center broke new ground in many areas, including systems research, industrial ecology, materials science, electronics, computational analysis, and operations research. These developments have helped General Motors change the way it does business and have had impact far beyond the automotive industry.
Among his most important accomplishments, Dr. Frosch was largely responsible for institutionalizing systems engineering within GM's vehicle-development process and championed the establishment of an operations research activity that has given GM a new technical capability with wide application on both company and plant levels. Dr. Frosch fostered General Motors' reputation as a world leader in automotive safety research, supporting the development of many new vehicle-safety features. He broadened the scope of environmental research to encompass manufacturing as well as vehicle emissions and was an early champion of cooperative research efforts involving industry, government and academia. …