Tuesday, December 9, 2008

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UT System Awards Third Round of Commercialization Grants

AUSTIN – Will a revolutionary wireless sensor system – up to 10 times more energy efficient than existing technology – set the standard for hazardous agent detection, telemedicine and agricultural, environmental and industrial monitoring?

Or could a new technology that detects and corrects movement in patients improve the precision of MRI images?

These two technologies were among nine developed at University of Texas System institutions that were awarded Texas Ignition Fund (TIF) grants totaling nearly $450,000 to help get the advancements out of the laboratory and into commercial use.

The wireless sensor and MRI technology, as well as the other winning entries awarded $50,000 grants, are described in detail online here.

The grants come from a $2 million fund approved by the UT System Board of Regents late last year to speed commercialization of products created at UT System institutions. In the first three TIF rounds, the Office of Research and Technology Transfer (RTT) and the Ignition Fund Advisory Board (IFAB) approved $1.16 million in TIF awards for 28 proposals from 11 System institutions.

“We are pleased at the high quality of proposals submitted to the TIF program from our institutions,” UT System Interim Chancellor Dr. Kenneth I. Shine said. “They reflect the remarkable talent and innovative thinking on our campuses and reinforce our belief that higher education is an economic driver in Texas.   We have high hopes that these ventures will begin to produce new commercial products and startups as early as next year.”

The TIF fund was authorized to address the challenge that research discoveries and inventions at UT institutions often cannot reach their potential without additional effort to develop product applications that can attract investor capital to commercialize them. TIF funds are used mainly for personnel, equipment, supplies, instrument use fees, market analyses and business plans.

“We want to express appreciation for the valuable contributions of several outside experts who helped review and evaluate TIF proposals,” UT System Assistant Vice Chancellor for Commercial Development Cathy Swain said. “We expect to fully commit the balance of TIF funds this fiscal year and hope to find ongoing sources of funding to perpetuate the TIF’s good work.”

The TIF program was created by the UT System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer, whose charge is to develop and implement strategies to expand and enhance research and commercialization activities at UT System institutions. With a total research expenditure of $2.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2008 by the UT System, research and product development activities resulted in 25 start-up companies (83 in the last five years), 99 U.S. patents (572 in the last five years), and 716 invention disclosures (3,207 in the last five years), ultimately creating new jobs, products and services.

About The University of Texas System

The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.5 billion (FY 2009) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Student enrollment exceeded 194,000 in the 2007 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's healthcare professionals annually. With more than 81,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state

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