Faculty Member Receives Funds from UT Research Foundation to Drive Further Development of Technologies

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Writer: Kimberly Draper

Faculty Member Receives Funds from UT Research Foundation to Drive Further Development of Technologies

The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has selected a researcher at the University of Tennessee Space Institute to receive a technology development grant for 2009. This grant will allow the researcher to further develop or “mature” the technology so that it is better positioned for licensing and commercialization.

The proposal submitted by Ying-Ling Chen was awarded for her work on a product to improve vision screening for children.

UT researchers were invited to propose work on inventions and discoveries that either had been previously disclosed to UT and assigned to UTRF or to propose new disclosures with a development plan. Forty-three proposals were received from the four campuses and three institutes that make up the University of Tennessee. A total of nine proposals were funded. Chen’s proposal was awarded $15,000.

“This is the second year for this grant program, designed to support the research and technology development efforts at the University of Tennessee” said Fred Tompkins, President and CEO of UTRF. “We expect this program to hasten the development of and add value to university technologies produced by the research enterprise. We also anticipate that these projects will help identify or clarify commercialization paths so that society can more quickly reap the benefits of these innovative technologies.”

UTRF used a panel of subject matter and technology commercialization experts from across the state to evaluate both the technology and the development plan proposed by each researcher. UTRF also solicited advice from Technology 2020 and Memphis Bioworks Foundation, economic development organizations engaged by UTRF to assist with technology commercialization.

“Being familiar with the details of the research that Dr. Chen is executing, I was not surprised to learn that she had been awarded this grant. She has skillfully and cleverly transformed highly technical research into a practical and valuable pediatric diagnostic tool that could potentially positively affect the quality of life for multitudes of children,” said Dr. Angelia Bukley, Assistant Vice President of UTSI. “This type of research is critical for creating products and services that will ultimately benefit our region and the nation as a whole.”

Upon completion of the development work, UTRF will receive a report from the researcher describing the new knowledge gained and improvements made in the technology. These results are expected to allow UTRF to better position the technology for licensing to either an existing company or a new start-up entity.