UMass President awards $175,000 to faculty to accelerate commercialization of early-stage technologies
Seven Innovative University Researchers Receive Technology Development Grants
BOSTON -Stressing the role of innovation in fueling economic growth and leading Massachusetts and the nation out of the current economic crisis, University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson today announced $175,000 in grants to UMass researchers who have developed new technologies that could be applied to medical practice, energy generation, flexible electronics and other fields.
Coming at a time when some analysts predict new technology will be a catalyst that pulls Massachusetts out of the current economic downturn, the 2009 awards from the University's Commercial Ventures & Intellectual Property (CVIP) Technology Development Fund consists of seven grants of $25,000 each to UMass researchers for further technology development. The selected technologies were seen as the breakthroughs with the most significant chance of being commercially successful from dozens of faculty submissions for support from the Fund.
This year's funding recipients have developed technologies that can potentially impact a wide variety of fields -from metallic inks for flexible electronics to nano-shell catalysts for fuel cell applications and novel HIV Protease Inhibitors.
"These grants allow the University to support faculty-developed inventions with the potential to drive the economy and change people's lives. Throughout our nation's history, breakthroughs made in university labs have shaped our social and economic development and spurred economic growth," said President Wilson. "As the Commonwealth's public research University, the University of Massachusetts serves as an innovation engine for the Commonwealth, fostering the development of new technologies that create new companies and new jobs in Massachusetts."
President Wilson added, "The results of previous grant awards have shown this funding has considerable impact-these technology development grants come at a critical time for faculty undertaking the complex process of guiding a breakthrough from the lab to the marketplace."
President Wilson, who founded a company as a spin-off of his university research sixteen years ago, established the UMass CVIP Technology Development Fund in 2004. Over the past six years, the Fund, managed by the University's Office of CVIP, has made a total of 41 awards to faculty from all five campuses for technology commercialization, resulting in the creation of several new companies, new licenses and over $3 million in additional research funding for the recipients.
In total, over the past six years, 12 out of 41 awardees obtained a patent, executed a license, or formed a new spin-off company-a greater than 25 percent success rate. The University's total investment in new technologies through the CVIP Development Fund has been returned many times over.
A recent survey published by the Association of University Technology Managers noted that U.S. academic and nonprofit institutions developed 686 new products in 2007 and launched 555 new start-up companies in 2006 alone. The University of Massachusetts is a national and regional leader in technology transfer. In Fiscal Year 2008, technology licensing revenue at UMass reached $37,686,000.
Over the past year, three previous UMass CVIP Technology Development Fund grant recipients founded spin-off companies- UMass Amherst Professor George Huber founded Anellotech in 2009 based on technology addressing catalytic conversion of biomass to industrial chemicals and UMass Medical School Professor Babs Soller's company Reflectance Medical, formed in 2008, is in the process of receiving venture funding. In addition, Wesfolk Corp. was incorporated in 2008 to commercialize a portfolio of scientific work conducted by University of Massachusetts, Amherst Professors Eric A. Decker, D. Julian McClements and Jochen Weiss involving advanced emulsion technology for the food and beverage industry. Decker, McClements and Weiss received a grant in 2007 and McClements and Decker are also 2009 awardees.
The 2009 CVIP Technology Development Fund awards will be given to the following project team leaders:
The grants process is managed by the University of Massachusetts Office of Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Property (CVIP), headed by Executive Director William Rosenberg, Ph.D. The awards are funded with technology licensing revenue supplemented by funds from the UMass President's Office.
The grant funds will be used for proof of principle work and will support additional lab testing, building of prototypes and animal and pharmacology studies. Funding for this type of development is not available from research grants and is critical to advancing technologies from the laboratory to commercialization.
In consultation with President Wilson, this year's grant submissions to the UMass CVIP Technology Development Fund were judged by a committee comprised of Dr. Rosenberg; the Directors of the five campus CVIP offices; Dr. Abigail Barrow, the Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC); Dr. Linda Plano, Associate Director of the MTTC; UMass Lowell alumnus and member of the UMass Foundation Board of Directors Warren Isabelle, and Steve Derezinsky an external consultant focused on technology commercialization.
Libby DeVecchi, 774-455-7189
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