Grant Willson joined the faculties of the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin in 1993. He received his BS and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and an MS degree in Organic Chemistry from San Diego State University. He came to the University of Texas from his position as an IBM Fellow and Manager of the Polymer Science and Technology area at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose, California. He joined IBM after serving on the faculties of California State University, Long Beach and the University of California, San Diego.

His research can be characterized as the design and synthesis of functional organic materials with emphasis on materials for microelectronics. These include monomeric and polymeric liquid crystalline materials, polymeric non-linear optical materials, novel photoresist materials, etc.This work is supported by grants from both government and industry.

He is a member of the ACS, APS, SPIE, SPE, AAAS, ASEE, and Sigma Xi and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals in polymer chemistry and materials science and is co-author of more than 300 journal publications. He is editor and author of several books and co-inventor on more than 25 issued patents.

His work in photoresist research has been honored by the Arthur Doolittle Award, the Chemistry of Materials Award, the Carothers Award from the American Chemical Society, the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award from the Federal Republic of Germany, the ACS Award for Cooperative Research in Polymer Science and Engineering, the SRC Technical Excellence Award, the SRC Aristotle Award and the Malcolm E. Pruitt Award from the CRC. He is the recipient of the 1999 National Academy of Sciences Award for Chemistry in Service to Society. He was appointed Fellow of the PMSE Division of ACS in 2001 and received the Applied Polymer Science Award from the ACS in that year. In 2003 he receievd the Photopolymer Science and Technology Award in Japan and in 2005 he received the Dehon Little Award from the AIChE, the Zernike Award from the SPIE and the Heroes in Chemistry Award from the ACS. He was the 2007 recipient of the SEMI North America Award. He was recently awarded the National Medal for Technology and Innovation by the President of the United States.