UF Innovate Celebrates Juan Gilbert’s Achievement with a Reception

The UF innovator received the National Medal of Technology and Innovation

By Andrea Dautant

Jim O’Connell (left) and Dr. Juan Gilbert (right).

To celebrate Dr. Juan Gilbert receiving the National Medal of Technology and Innovation by President Joe Biden, UF Innovate hosted a reception on November 30th.

On October 24th, Dr. Gilbert was honored at the White House for his invention, Prime III, a secure and universal voting system. The National Medal of Technology and Innovation is the nation’s highest honor for technological achievement, bestowed by the President of the United States on leading innovators for their outstanding contributions to America’s economic, environmental, and social well-being.

“We get to know Juan at a different level because we get to see all of his technologies that come out. This one just happens to be election-related,” said Jim O’Connell, the assistant vice president for commercialization at the University of Florida.

Dr. Juan Gilbert poses with Dr. Richard Croley (left) and Autumn Arranz (right), his licensing team at UF Innovate | Tech Licensing.

Prime III is a secure, multimodal electronic voting system. The easy-to-use interface accommodates individuals with physical disabilities and impairments, enabling greater participation in the electoral process while ensuring the reliability and security of every vote.

Dr. Gilbert, the Andrew Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Professor and chair of UF’s Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering, has dedicated a significant portion of his career to finding ways to improve election technology and protect democracy. The 2000 U.S. presidential election sparked his interest in election security when flaws in the country’s voting technology were exposed.

Prime III was the first open-source voting system to be used in federal, state, and local elections in the United States. The recognition from the White House is a testament to the importance of his work in addressing the most pressing challenges facing our society and his commitment to real-world technological solutions.

“We were just trying to fix a problem,” Dr. Gilbert said. “If you can’t vote, how is that different from not having the right to vote? What is gratifying is changing the history of voting.”  

To recognize this prestigious achievement, Dr. Gilbert received a plaque for one of his issued patents. The plaque is a testament to his work and the innovations he will pioneer in the future.