The UB awards are part of a group of six that the SUNY Research Foundation, which administers TAF, announced last week. The accelerator fund was launched in April 2011 to support innovation across the SUNY research community and to provide proof-of-concept funding for SUNY’s most promising technologies.
“The number and range of proposals submitted for 2012 TAF funding represent the extraordinary scope, scale and diversity of research conducted on SUNY campuses across New York State,” says Timothy Killeen, president of the RF and SUNY vice chancellor for research. “Providing targeted investment through the TAF helps faculty researchers move invention from the lab to the marketplace and turn projects into commercially viable technologies that benefit New York and the world. Congratulations to the six selected awardees.”
Both UB research groups that will receive TAF funding are working in materials science, a field UB is emphasizing through its newly designated New York State Center of Excellence in Materials Informatics. The center will focus on the discovery and commercialization of novel materials—an area of innovation that’s critical to enhancing the state and country’s competitive edge in advanced manufacturing.
“The funding from SUNY’s Technology Accelerator Fund will enable our researchers to accelerate the development of two promising technologies they developed at UB,” says Robert Genco, UB vice provost and director of the Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR). “This kind of support is crucial for bridging the gap between advancements in the laboratory and products in the real world.”
The UB teams each will receive up to $50,000 from the TAF program. They will use their awards to advance the following technologies:
- Rainbow-Colored Polymer for Multispectral Analysis: A UB team led by Alexander N. Cartwright, professor of electrical engineering and biomedical engineering and vice president for research and economic development, has developed a low-cost method to create a polymer that functions as a multispectral prism that could form the basis for handheld devices that identify the “true color” of objects. Potential uses range from analyzing colors in medical images to detect disease to matching paint colors.
- Glazing Technology for “Smart Windows”: Sarbajit Banerjee, associate professor of chemistry, invented a dynamic glazing coating for “smart windows” that reduces energy costs by reflecting heat from the sun on hot days and allowing transmission of heat in colder temperatures, in both cases without blocking the penetration of visible light.
The four other recipients of TAF funding included teams from the University at Albany, Binghamton University, Stony Brook University and Upstate Medical University. The technologies selected span groundbreaking advancements in novel antibiotics, assistance for the disabled, weight-loss and suicide prevention.
SUNY faculty, staff, and students were eligible to submit proposals for TAF funding with endorsement by the appropriate campus technology transfer director. Proposals were evaluated by the TAF managing director, with input from external experts in various fields of science and intellectual property commercialization. Factors considered in the evaluation included availability of intellectual property protection, marketability, commercial potential, campus commitment or cost sharing, feasibility, and breadth of impact and benefit to the population.
In just its first year of operation, the TAF registered significant success, producing two startup companies, one of which won a National Institutes of Health Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I award.