Kurt Becker was the Founding Director of the IIIE. He was also the Vice Dean for Research, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at NYU Tandon and a Professor of Applied Physics and of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering until the end of August 2023. He is now a Professor Emeritus and also serves as the Director of Business Development at CARA Systems Inc., a Tandon health IT spin out company. As a physicist, Kurt Becker worked on low-temperature plasmas and their applications and published more than 240 papers in peer reviewed journals. He pioneered the field of microplasmas and holds numerous patents on the stabilization of atmospheric-pressure plasmas and their applications. He was involved in two startups that commercialized this technology, one of them was acquired by Stryker Instruments in 2005. Becker earned Diplom in Physik (MS) and Dr. rer. nat. (PhD) degrees from the Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany in 1978 and 1981, respectively. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and he is the recipient of the Dr. Eduard-Martin Prize for Excellence in Research, the Thomas Alva Edison Patent Award, the SASP Erwin Schrödinger Medal and the New York City & State Sustainability and Environmental Impact Award. He also holds an honorary Professorship at the Leopold Franzens Universität Innsbruck, Austria.