Oklahoma Innovations - OCAST's Official Newsletter
OCAST AWARDS $4 MILLION FOR HEALTH RESEARCH
OCAST has awarded nearly $4 million for 30 health research projects that will take up to three years to complete. The Oklahoma Health Research program was the first program implemented by the state’s science agency when it was created 26 years ago as Oklahoma began a long-term economic diversification effort.
The 30 winning applications were chosen from a field of 154, one of the largest application pools in the program’s history.
“The growing number of applicants indicates the level of demand for basic health research,” said C. Michael Carolina, executive director of OCAST. “Many of the successful applicants will attract private and federal research dollars to Oklahoma – a major factor in Oklahoma's growing reputation as a supporter of health research. Improved health and high-wage and high-skill jobs are follow-ons to this investment.”
The purpose of the Health Research program is to: (1) strengthen the competitiveness of Oklahoma health researchers for national research funds; (2) recruit and retain outstanding health research scientists for the state; (3) improve health care for Oklahomans; and (4) strengthen the state’s health care industry. Research funded under the program investigates the causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of human diseases and disabilities and facilitates the development of innovative health care products and services.
Successful applicants and their organizations include:
|University of Tulsa
• Jamie Rhudy
• Lisa Cromer
OU Health Sciences Center
• Madeleine Cunningham
• Jody Summers
• Ping Song
• Zhonglin Xie
• H. Anne Pereira
• Allan Wiechmann
• Stephen Gillaspy
• James Tomasek
• Yusuke Takahashi
• Blaine Mooers
Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
• Weidong Wang
• Hui-Ying Lim
• Eliza Chakravarty
• Gary Gorbsky
• Kenneth Smith
|Oklahoma State University
• Donghua Zhou
• Eduardo Yukihara
• Marianna Patrauchan
• Guoliang Fan
• Guolong Zhang
• LeGrande Slaughter
• Sundararajan Madihally
University of Oklahoma
• Andrea Vincent
• Ann West
• Wai Tak Yip
University of Central Oklahoma
• Jicheng Fu
Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
• Bruce Benjamin
• Kathleen Curtis
The 2012 legislative session proved positive for OCAST and the Oklahomans who benefit from their programs. OCAST will remain a stand alone state agency and their budget allocation remained flat.
The OCAST budget allocation remained flat for a $17.8 million budget in fiscal year 2013. This is the first time in five years the organization has not received a budget cut. The cumulative impact of previous budget cuts adds up to more than 22 percent since fiscal year 2008.
Under bill 1541, which was introduced in 2011, OCAST was being considered for consolidation into the Department of Commerce. The bill, which included consolidation of several other state agencies, did not receive a hearing in the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee in either 2011 or 2012 sessions and therefore died.
“We want to thank our legislators for continuing to see the importance in funding science and technology,” said Michelle Wynn, OCAST director of government relations and strategic initiatives. “We must continue to educate about the many benefits research funding has on new business in our state and the continuing demand and opportunity for growth.”
OCAST-supported organizations create jobs, increase state exports, increase tax revenue and improve our citizen’s quality of life. In 2011, OCAST-supported organizations created or retained 1,549 jobs. OCAST brings a 20:1 return to the state – for every dollar OCAST has invested in an Oklahoma research project, $20.39 is attracted from private and federal sources.
While the positive economic impact is significant, it has the potential to be even bigger. Due to limited state funding, OCAST cannot support all of the qualified Oklahomans who apply.
Using internationally accepted methods of applying public funds to research projects, OCAST helps Oklahomans develop knowledge-based businesses. These businesses, in turn, attract private and federal investment, world-class scientists and collaborative relationships that translate into quality jobs for Oklahomans.
PLANE CRASH CLAIMS LIFE OF OCAST BOARD MEMBER
E. R. (Tracy) Shirley III, a member of the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development board since 2008, died May 31 of injuries suffered in the crash of his corporate aircraft near Macon, Mississippi.
He was 53.
Shirley was completing his term on the OCAST governing board and would have attended his last official meeting with the board on June 19. He was chief financial officer and vice president of Harrison Gypsum Company and was a graduate of Leadership Oklahoma Class 19. In Newcastle, he was a Cub Scout Master, a charter member of the Newcastle School Education Foundation, a member of the Newcastle Planning Commission and he was an adjunct professor at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee.
Funeral services were held June 8 at the First Baptist Church in Newcastle. Survivors include his wife, Shari, and two sons, Parker and Jeff, all of the home; his mother Charolet Shirley and husband Vernon Day of Oklahoma City; a brother Nathan and his wife Diana of Singapore; two sisters, Natalie Shirley and her husband, Russ Harrison, of Oklahoma City, Leslie Shirley and husband, Joe Atamaniuk, of Ringwood, N.J.; and mother-in-law, Norma Parker.
SENATE CONFIRMS THREE GUBERNATORIAL APPOINTMENTS TO OCAST GOVERNING BOARD
Three nominations by Governor Mary Fallin for the Oklahoma Science and Technology Research and Development Board (OSTRaD) have been confirmed by the state senate. One of the confirmations is a new member of the board and two are reappointments. The three will join the 21-member governing board for the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
Steven Rhines, who begins his first term on the OCAST governing board, serves as vice president, general counsel and director of public affairs for the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation in Ardmore.
Rhines was a patent attorney in the Dallas office of the international law firm of Sidley Austin LLP before joining the Noble Foundation. Rhines received a bachelor in science in mechanical engineering at the University of Oklahoma and a juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University. The Noble Foundation is a nonprofit institution conducting agriculture consultation and educational programs as well as agricultural and plant science research to enhance agriculture regionally, nationally and worldwide.
Karl N. Reid, recently-retired dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) at Oklahoma State University, was reappointed with the senate confirmation. He received a doctor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and BS (petroleum option) and MS degrees in mechanical engineering from OSU. He served on the faculty at MIT for four years, coming to OSU in 1964 as an assistant professor. He was the tenth dean to lead the OSU College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology and at 24 years, he was the college’s longest serving dean.
Dr. Reid was founding director of the Oklahoma Center for Integrated Design and Manufacturing. He is the founder and director of the Web Handling Research Center at OSU, initiated in 1986 as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.
Also reappointed, Timothy Mather, is the director of research administration for the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. Mather received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Oklahoma after earning degrees at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan.
At OMRF, Mather has held several positions with the Cardiovascular Biology Research Program, and he is an adjunct professor in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
STATE MOVES EDGE FUNDING TO ENDOWED CHAIRS
This year the legislature voted to move funds from the Economic Development Generating Excellence endowment and support research through another venue, by funding endowed professorships at public universities.
In an effort to decrease the backlog of nearly 750 endowed chairs waiting for matching state funds, Senate Bill 1969 reallocates funds from EDGE to the higher education budget.
EDGE was created in 2005 by the legislature to support applied research and technology commercialization in Oklahoma.
Although the bill takes effect July 1, current EDGE researchers will keep their funding.
In its six-year history, EDGE awarded $34 million for technologies including life-saving drug treatments and devices, new energy sources, agricultural advancements and advancements in security and defense.
The state hopes that by funding the endowed chairs, Oklahoma will continue to attract and retain innovative scientists supported through research universities. Endowed professorships help universities with research, teaching, service activities and recruiting.
OKLAHOMA SBIR COLLABORATIVE RESOURCES
Each year 11 federal agencies award more than $2.5 billion to small businesses that have an innovative service, product or process through Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and its sister funding program Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). While Oklahoma companies have historically under-performed in comparison to more densely populated states in the SBIR/STTR program, OCAST has a program to assist.
SBIR is a unique funding opportunity for small businesses that need money to prove the feasibility of their innovative idea. SBIR/STTR seeds risky endeavors in hopes that each year a few of the projects will lead to the development of game changing technology.
SBIR/STTR awards funding to small for-profit organizations with an unproven technology and a strong desire to demonstrate to the marketplace that their innovation is feasible and worthy of full scale investment and commercialization. The award money is not a loan, meaning no repayment is required and interest does not accrue. Small companies do not have to forgo any ownership in their company or innovation because SBIR is a source of non-dilutive financing. In addition to flexible funding terms, the SBIR/STTR funding program allows the company to retain ownership of all intellectual property developed before and during the project.
The SBIR/STTR program is broken up into three phases. Phase 1 funding provides up to $225,000 to evaluate the scientific technical merit and feasibility of an idea. Phase 2 awards approximately $1.5 million to expand on the results of and further pursue the development of Phase 1 work. This may involve additional R&D activity, prototype creation and testing or clinical trials. Phase 3 seeks to leverage private and state resources to commercialize the results from the Phase 2 project.
One example of how SBIR funding is making a difference can be found in Stillwater. In 2012, XploSafe was awarded $375,000 in Phase 2 SBIR funding from the Department of Homeland Security to develop mission critical non-detonable, non-hazardous, low-cost, explosive training aids for canines. XploSafe has promptly leveraged this funding to expand resources at its research and manufacturing facility.
Two new high technology research and development jobs have been created and five additional jobs have been sustained since the contract started. These new products and supplementary future products will be mass produced at XploSafe’s Stillwater manufacturing facility.
“The OCAST SBRA gap funding immensely helped XploSafe in sustaining the employment of our principal investigator during the gap period,” said Shoaib Shaikh of XploSafe. “It also allowed us to progress the technology thereby reducing the risk in the successful execution of Phase 2 deliverables.”
Although the benefits of SBIR/STTR are appealing, there are some challenges to acknowledge. First, SBIR/STTR is a competitive award process. Submitting a competitive application takes time, careful planning, patience and a lot of attention to detail. A company must pull together many pieces to assemble a winning application. In most cases, this includes identifying qualified team members, collaborators and resources.
Historically, Oklahoma companies have underperformed in the SBIR/STTR program. The state does not receive its fair share of the $2.5 billion available each year. Since 1982, Texas attracted $1.2B in SBIR awards, Alabama $562.1M, New Mexico $460.3M, Missouri $146.7M, Oklahoma $110 million. Oklahoma companies, entrepreneurs, researchers, universities and engineers are well versed in the formula for creating meaningful products and wealth for their state. What’s lacking in Oklahoma is simply not enough participation in SBIR/STTR.
In 2011, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and its collaborating partners launched a pilot project to assist Oklahoma companies in competing for SBIR/STTR funding. This pilot effort is called the Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resources or OSCR. OSCR offers the best resources in the nation to help Oklahoma companies compete for and win SBIR/STTR funding.
OSCR provides guidance on what is needed to assemble and submit a proposal to the federal agencies. These resources include proposal preparation services, help with identifying strategic partners and building collaborations, pre-review service, expert coaching and mentoring and identification of SBIR/STTR topics. OSCR will also provide up to $250,000 in funding for any Oklahoma company that moves from Phase I to Phase 2 in the federal SBIR or STTR funding program.
If any organization wishes to learn more about SBIR/STTR, OSCR or OCAST, the first step is to call OCAST’s program manager Steven Martinez at 405-319-8408 or you can email Steven at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TULSA, OKC, ARDMORE FIRMS WIN OCAST INTERN PARTNERSHIPS
Seven applicants, including four private firms and two projects from the University of Tulsa, have been approved for funding under the OCAST Intern Partnerships program. OCAST awarded the winning applicants a total of $191,900.
Internships are awarded for up to two years. The latest awards support undergraduate student internships in sensor technology, energy exploration, battery technology and hyperthermia therapy for cancer patients.
Since 1998, the OCAST Intern Partnerships program has assisted Oklahoma businesses in locating hard-to-find technology trained employees. OCAST pays half of the cost for an undergraduate intern to work in a research and development setting.
The program is designed to develop collaborations among Oklahoma business owners, university professors and undergraduate students. Some of the students become full-time employees of the sponsoring businesses following graduation.
Recent program awards follow:
• Advanced Harsh Environment Sensors for Intelligent Downhole Applications. Principal investigator Goutham Kirikera will oversee two student interns at Sercel-GRC Corp. This project targets the design, manufacture and commercialization of two products to increase the efficiency of hydrocarbon extraction. Products include a gauge capable of withstanding pressures in excess of 15,000 psi at temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and a sensor communicator module with no downhole electronics. $15,000
• Design of Next Generation Chemical Injection System for Cooling Water Treatment. The University of Tulsa and Advantage Controls will work with one intern under the direction of principal investigator Kaveh Ashenayi. The intern will focus on developing a more efficient pump for injecting chemicals required to reduce scaling and corrosion within a cooling tower. $23,400
• Deep Tissue Hyperthermia Therapy in Abdominal and Pelvic Cancers. Robert Sheaff will oversee work by two interns in a project with Cancer Treatment Centers of America and the University of Tulsa. The project features a device that uses high temperatures to kill cancer cells. Interns will collect the data in a form that will help physicians make determinations based on quality of life, safety and efficacy. $60,000
• NORDAM Thrust Reverser Division. Catherine Cyran will serve as principal investigator for an intern at NORDAM, an aerospace firm currently developing integrated propulsion systems for next-generation large cabin business aircraft. The intern will be involved in nacelle ventilation and cooling and inlet dry air and flight icing performance tests. $20,100
• Fault Tolerant Battery. ATC New Technologies will hire two interns under the direction of Bryan Schultz to develop more robust batteries that can tolerate multiple faults and still function. The technology is designed to promote automatic rerouting around damaged battery cells without need for human intervention. Work will be conducted in concert with faculty associated with development of an electric vehicle at the University of Oklahoma. $18,500
• Renewable Energy Storage. ATC New Technologies principal investigator Bryan Schultz will direct two interns conducting research into the “second life” of high voltage vehicle batteries. Essentially, batteries are taken from vehicles, analyzed and re-purposed for grid energy storage. $24,900
• Hydrogen Assisted Semiconductor Surface Cleaning and Passivation. Khalid Hossain of Amethyst Research will direct an intern in using hydrogen-termination for cleaning of semiconductor surfaces. The process will improve current methods of growing thin films on semiconductor wafers used in products such as computers, solar panels and other electronics. $30,000
OCAST PROMOTES GROWTH IN SCIENCE
While April showers may bring flowers, OCAST uses the month to encourage another type of growth—one in science and technology. Annually, OCAST sponsors Science and Technology Month in April to emphasize the importance of the fields to Oklahoma’s economy. To kick-off this year’s event, Governor Mary Fallin proclaimed April as Science and Technology month for the state, along with several mayors proclaiming the same for their cities. Governor Fallin also addressed the importance of science and technology in her April monthly column.
To promote science and technology in the classroom, OCAST encourages teachers to nominate outstanding science students for certificates of recognition. This year nearly 1,500 middle and high school students from around the state received certificates signed by OCAST director Michael Carolina and Governor Mary Fallin.
“These students are our future engineers, inventors and entrepreneurs who will create the products, technology and treatments of tomorrow,” Carolina said. “It is so important to peak their interest in science and math at a young age to start them on the path to higher education and higher paying jobs. Observance of science and technology in Oklahoma emphasizes the role education plays in our state’s economic future.”
Click here for a full list of participating communities.
OKLAHOMA INNOVATIONS RADIO SHOW
Tactical Electronics engineers and manufactures products to assist law enforcement and military groups in their mission to protect the public. TE also designs training courses to meet clients' mission objectives and enhance their operational capabilities.
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University of Oklahoma researchers are testing a new approach aimed at preserving cognitive function in people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. The STOMP method (Skill-building through Task-Oriented Motor Practice) utilizes repetitive therapy in an effort to strengthen and preserve “procedural memory,” which is memory for how daily living tasks are completed.
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The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry believes in giving Oklahoma agriculture a helping hand by working to broaden outlets for agricultural commodities and assisting producers, processors, wholesalers and retailers in marketing the products.
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The Oklahoma State Department of Health is striving to achieve the vision of healthy people in healthy communities through tobacco use prevention, obesity reduction and increasing physical activity. Learn about programs and services offered through the Center for the Advancement of Wellness from director Keith Reed.
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August 28 – SBIR/STTR Workshop
August 29 – SBIR/STTR Workshop
INNOVATIONS IN HISTORY
At the time of the French Revolution, a group of scientists, charged to establish measurement standards under King Louis XVI’s command, came up with a decimal-based system that would later become the Metric system. In June 1799, the Metric system got its first prototype representing the official length of a meter and official weight of a kilogram.