Matt Grob is executive vice president and chief technology officer of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. He is responsible for oversight of Qualcomm’s technology path, coordination of R&D activities across the Company, and development of next-generation wireless and adjacent technologies. Grob also oversees Qualcomm Ventures and Qualcomm Corporate Engineering Services, and he is a member of Qualcomm’s executive committee.
Grob joined Qualcomm in 1991 as an engineer. In 1998, was promoted to lead the Company’s R&D system engineering group, and in 2006 took leadership of Qualcomm’s Corporate R&D division, now known as Qualcomm Research, expanding the group’s efforts in scale and scope.
Grob is strongly committed to fostering STEM education at all levels. He has been building robots since he was six, and attributes this passion for technology and engineering for setting the stage for his career. Grob is an active volunteer and judge at FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions globally, for which Qualcomm is an official sponsor and strategic partner. Under Grob’s leadership, Qualcomm Research spearheaded the integration of Qualcomm Snapdragon technology into the new platforms used for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a FIRST program targeted to middle and high school students. Grob also serves on the board for the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego.
Grob holds a Master of Science in electrical engineering from Stanford University and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from Bradley University. He is a member of the IEEE and holds more than 70 patents.
At Qualcomm, we believe in the power that technology has on our world, and as inventors we are always pushing the envelope of what is possible in technology, paving the way for the devices, applications, services, and business models of tomorrow. Innovation is one of the most critical things that Qualcomm has to do well to thrive, and for that we need the best minds in this field.
My group, Qualcomm Research, is a world-class R&D organization comprised of an international team of forward-thinking researchers collaborating in 11 different locations around the globe. Our engineers engage in a wide variety of exciting and technically challenging projects. We focus on future technologies and forward-thinking research that is three to 10 years from commercialization, and work diligently on advancing research, innovation, and the standardization of new technologies.
With invention in our DNA, we don’t just talk about sharing, fostering and developing breakthrough ideas, we also provide and continuously nurture a trusted environment that provides the single best setting for bringing ideas to life. One of our internal programs is ImpaQt™, which empowers all of our employees (not only who’s on my team) to think, create, invent, collaborate and inspire. The program encourages Qualcomm’s most inventive employees to submit their best technology ideas. After a process of thoughtful consideration, we nurture the most promising of those ideas and then work together to bring them to life, one step at a time.
We believe that providing recognition to those employees who come up with new ideas, and giving them the opportunity to explore and vet them, is a very important element to continue fostering a culture of invention. This is how some of our greatest breakthroughs have been made on the Qualcomm Research team.
Approximately 70% of Qualcomm’s employee base is in technical positions and many have a very high degree of specialization (including PhDs), it is imperative for us to constantly look at innovative ways to identify, hire and retain the best talent available, as well as to inspire students to pursue STEM education and become the inventors of tomorrow. We do this through different internal and external programs.
Qualcomm engages with top engineering and science universities around the world in different ways, ranging from founding R&D projects, labs, facilities, to providing scholarships and internships. We work closely with several of these institutions on shaping and developing their curriculum, as well as encouraging our employees to volunteer their time as teachers. This close collaboration also gets us the opportunity to identify outstanding students who could become strong candidates to hire.
Additionally, our University Relations Program helps to build stronger partnerships with universities and collaborate with PhD students to help foster the continued growth of research. Qualcomm Innovation Fellowship (QInF) is another program through which the Company invests in university PhD students and their forward-thinking ideas.
Another way in which we encourage and inspire young people to continue their development in STEM-related fields, is through our internship program, which is one of the top ranked in the country. Students from across the US and select international locations get the opportunity to join Qualcomm each summer for meaningful and challenging project work that allows them to work alongside industry experts.
Now, when it comes to inspire the inventors of tomorrow around the globe, I am very proud of our support of FIRST Robotics. Since 2007, Qualcomm has provided more than $3.5 million in charitable donations, volunteers and countless hours of staff time to FIRST Robotics competitions in the United States, Canada, Israel and most recently in China. Several senior managers at Qualcomm, including myself, are actively involved with the organization as advisors and judges, and our employees volunteer as mentors for teams of young inventors and as judges at regional competitions around the world.
Qualcomm was presented with the FIRST Founder’s Award at the 2014 FIRST Championship, which award recognized the Company for exceptional service in advancing the ideals and mission of FIRST. As a Strategic Partner, we have worked with the organization to develop robust communication systems for the FRC and FTC programs, and have helped ensure quality wireless communication environments at the Championship in past years. Qualcomm was the Presenting Sponsor for 2015 FIRST Championship in St. Louis, Missouri and is providing increased support for the promotion and development of the international, K-12 robotics STEM learning organization to include the FIRST Tech Challenge program, teams, and events in China.
Additionally, next year, students aged 12 to 18 competing in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) will build their robots on a new Android platform, which will run on smartphones powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 410 processors. Kids who may have been intimidated by the technical learning curve will instead be able to work with an object that they’re already intimately familiar with—the smartphone.
In conclusion, STEM education is essential for invention, and Qualcomm is a strong and committed player to continue inspiring and enabling current and future inventors. As a technology leader we know about the importance of dedicating resources to nurture STEM education at all levels, in order to continue to advance as an industry and a society overall. Experts in these disciplines are critical to our business and crucial for communities everywhere that want to grow sustainably, improve the quality of life for their residents and meet the challenge of doing more with fewer resources.
Qualcomm Incorporated is a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. For more than 30 years, Qualcomm’s ideas and inventions have fueled major technology trends, transforming the way people work, live and play. Qualcomm is committed to foster STEM education for students of all ages, to expand opportunities for underrepresented students, and to reduce the engineering gender gap. Qualcomm does this through programs including Qualcomm® Thinkabit Lab™, a makerspace where students from all cultural and socio-economic backgrounds access hands-on experiences in engineering. Qualcomm also provides support, both financially and through employee volunteering, to the FIRST Robotics competitions globally. Additionally, Qualcomm sponsors programs in schools in various countries, and supports the Institute of International Education. Qualcomm engages with other organizations to advance the Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) program, a Clinton Global Initiative commitment that links girls to university scholarships in engineering, leadership and technical opportunities.