Economic Transformation News

NC State Awards Help Speed Discoveries to Marketplace

A vaccine that prevents Salmonella, coatings that protect fabrics from ultraviolet (UV) rays, bandages that release medication to improve wound healing, and better bed bug bait – these four technological breakthroughs are one step closer to becoming reality. The North Carolina State University researchers behind these inventions are the first recipients of NC State’s Chancellor’s Innovation Fund awards, and their recognition means that you may soon see these products in use.

This year’s recipients are: Dr. Hosni Hassan, professor of microbiology and Dr. Matt Koci, assistant professor of poultry science, for their work on creating a potential Salmonella vaccine; Dr. Elizabeth Loboa, associate professor of biomedical engineering and Dr. Benham Pourdeyhimi, distinguished professor of textiles, for their work on nonwoven textiles that can be used to release medications; Dr. Gregory Parsons, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Dr. Jesse Jur, assistant professor of textile engineering, chemistry and science, and post-doctoral researcher Christopher Oldham, for their creation of nanoscale finishes that protect fabrics from UV radiation; and Dr. Coby Schal, professor of entomology, for his development of a new bed bug baiting system.

Each project will receive up to $75,000 in seed money that will be used to make the technology more marketable, such as gathering additional data, conducting market research and building prototypes.  

The Innovation Fund was established in 2010 by Chancellor Randy Woodson as a means to provide additional support to faculty, staff and students who develop technologies or ideas with commercial potential. Fifty-six applicants applied for funding this year, from which 12 finalists were selected. A selection committee composed of NC State personnel with technological and entrepreneurial expertise, as well as external partners, chose the four winning projects.

“We want to bridge the gap between the lab and the marketplace,” says Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development. “The fund provides these researchers the ability to make their technology more marketable, which in turn provides North Carolinians with jobs.” 

Lomax sees the innovation fund as an important part of NC State’s strategy to double the number of startups it launches by 2012. It is a key component of the Springboard Innovation Partnership Portal. Created in 2010, the portal speeds the pipeline through which research becomes reality by facilitating business partnerships and helping fledgling companies succeed.