Tapping into innovation

Through a new effort called the Technology Acceleration Program (TAP), Missouri S&T is providing seed money for commercially viable research projects in an attempt to move technology out of the laboratory and into the marketplace. It’s doing so by reinvesting the university’s earnings from patents.

Strassner.jpg

Keith Strassner. (Photo by B.A. Rupert)

“So many great ideas end up languishing in the laboratory” due to a lack of “proof of concept” funding, says Keith Strassner, Chem’79, director of technology transfer and economic development. TAP is designed to “bridge the commercialization gap” and allow researchers to further refine promising ideas.
“We’re focusing on those ideas that we are pursuing patent protection for, but for which we don’t yet have a licensee,” he says.
For the first year of the new program, Missouri S&T earmarked $75,000 in royalty income and solicited proposals for funding of three projects of up to $25,000 each. “We wanted to know from the researchers, ‘What are you going to do to make the project more marketable?’”
The university received six proposals and funded three.
“These are projects where the researchers need to develop more data to support their idea, build a prototype or otherwise push their technology further toward commercialization,” Strassner says.
One of the TAP-funded projects will help a researcher develop a prototype for an energy-efficient water heating system, while another will help a researcher gather data on a new specialty glass that could be used to re-grow bone and soft tissue. The third project involves the development of computerized “smart” sensor technology to monitor bridges for cracks or other defects before they grow into larger problems.
Missouri S&T’s licensing income last year was around $400,000, and about 22 percent of that — or roughly $89,000 — will go to the technology transfer program to continue the TAP effort.
While other universities provide seed funding for similar commercialization efforts, Strassner says Missouri S&T is unique in its approach of reinvesting royalty income.
“We think it’s the right thing to do — to take the money from one invention and invest it in the next one,” he says.

Around the Puck

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2018

8,607 Students enrolled for the fall semester at Missouri S&T. Classes started Aug. 20. 91 Percentage of first-year freshmen who receive scholarships and financial aid.

[Read More...]

Making tornado alley safer

Growing up in northeast China, Guirong “Grace” Yan didn’t see many tornados in a country where the number of documented twisters is a fraction of those that hit the United States. But as her academic career took Yan to several postdoctoral fellowships and then faculty positions in Indiana, Missouri and Texas, the assistant professor of […]

[Read More...]

Living laboratory houses lead battery research

This past November, Missouri S&T installed two new advanced lead battery microgrid systems at the EcoVillage, a “living laboratory” that is home to S&T’s solar-powered homes.

[Read More...]

Partners for progress

An expansion of the partnership between Missouri S&T and Missouri State University will allow students to pursue a mechanical engineering degree on the Missouri State campus with courses taught by faculty from both institutions. Students began applying this fall. The program will begin in fall 2019.

[Read More...]

Chancellor search is underway

This past August, University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced the formation of a 23-member committee to lead a nationwide search for a chancellor at Missouri S&T.

[Read More...]