Oklahoma Innovations - OCAST's Official Newsletter
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY MONTH RECOGNIZES TALENTED STEM STUDENTS
Governor Mary Fallin and OCAST partnered together in April to recognize and encourage Oklahoma students who have excelled in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Annually, OCAST sponsors Science and Technology Month to emphasize the importance of the fields to Oklahoma’s economy. Governor 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 monthly column.
To promote science and technology in the classroom, OCAST encouraged teachers to nominate outstanding science students for certificates of recognition. Students from each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties have been recognized during the Science and Technology Month program in previous years. This year 1,417 middle and high school students from around the state received certificates signed by Governor Fallin and OCAST Executive Director Michael Carolina.
“We appreciate the support from Governor Fallin to help spark enthusiasm about science in Oklahoma,” Carolina said. “Oklahoma is well positioned to grow the science and technology industry."
OCAST RECEIVES $17.8 MILLION BUDGET FOR FY 2014
OCAST’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget was approved for $17.8 million, the same amount the agency has administered for the previous two years. There were no cuts in the 2014 OCAST budget. When considered with the fact most state agencies received standstill budgets could indicate an improving financial position for the state of Oklahoma.
The agency budget remains at 22 percent below the previous high appropriations experienced in FY 2008.
“Legislators are still coming to grips with a downsized state government and the slowly improving budget picture following the 2008 international financial meltdown,” said Michelle Wynn, OCAST director of government relations and strategic initiatives. “Oklahoma’s budget has improved and lawmakers are being deliberative in their efforts to restructure state appropriations in concert with the new economic reality.”
Wynn said OCAST has widespread support for its programs and accomplishments. “Our programs are designed on the basis of good science and proximity to commercialization. Those are principle qualities our outside peer reviewers consider when ranking OCAST applications.
“OCAST has funded more than 2,388 projects with a total investment of $234 million and a cumulative return on that investment of 20:1.”
CROSS HONORED AS A JOURNAL RECORD’S ACHIEVERS UNDER 40
Cornell L. Cross II, OCAST associate director of programs for Tulsa and Northeastern Oklahoma, was selected as an Achiever Under 40 by The Journal Record. This is an award designated for accomplished, young professionals who are making a difference in their communities and the state of Oklahoma
Cross earned his bachelor’s of science in government from Oral Robert’s University and master’s of science degree in biochemistry from the University of Tulsa. Cross began his professional career at the Oklahoma Insurance Department before joining OCAST. Since taking on his role at OCAST in December 2011, Cross has been responsible for doubling program-related activity in Tulsa and northeastern Oklahoma resulting in an 80 percent increase in the rate of financial awards to that area.
Cross and the other honorees were recognized at the 10th annual Achievers Under 40 event in May.
NEW SOLAR UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE ANNOUNCED
Editor’s Note: James Grimsley is president and CEO of Design Intelligence Inc. and is an OCAST client. Grimsley also serves as president of the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma. The news release was distributed at the recently completed Paris International Air Show.
LE BOURGET, FRANCE (June 19, 2013) – Design Intelligence Incorporated LLC (DII) and MicroLink Devices Inc. (MLD) announced the development of a new solar-optimized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called ETURNAS. The ETURNAS UAV weighs less than nine pounds and uses a reconfigurable solar wing design that allows users to adjust the configuration of the UAV for specific applications such as long-loiter (slow-speed) or faster “dash” configurations. When operated in good sun and weather conditions, the ETURNAS UAV has more than three times the endurance of traditional battery-powered UAVs. The ETURNAS UAV can accommodate a variety of modular payloads such as sensors, cameras, and detectors. The ETURNAS UAV can be transported by a single person, quickly assembled/disassembled, and stored in a small volume.
For more information, visit www.dii1.com/_Eturnas/index.php.
FIVE PLANT SCIENCE PROJECTS RECEIVE APPROVAL FROM OCAST EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
(These winning plant science projects were awarded in March 2013)
Five plant science projects were approved for funding through independent peer review by the OCAST executive committee governing board. Operating under the Plant Science Research program, the projects collectively were awarded $599,667 for up to two years of research.
The approved projects were chosen from a field of 28. Independent peer reviewers approved 27 of the applications for funding; however, the available funds could support only the first five.
Oklahoma Plant Science Research is a basic and applied research program designed to:
- Improve the competitiveness of Oklahoma’s plant researchers in securing federal grants and contracts
- Help researchers gain the expertise and gather research data to support funding opportunities for larger research projects
- Encourage collaborative efforts to support applied plant research projects
- Support R&D necessary to move plant science research to commercialization
Plant science research targets those research activities occurring in higher education, nonprofit research institutions and private enterprises. The projects have potential commercial application and concern plant productivity, renewable biomass, plant-based environmental applications and chemical platforms, plant-based solutions to improve nutrition, human and/or animal health or performance, process applications and seed management and the development of new products and services that shall form the basis of a new, high-technology plant science/ agriculture industry for Oklahoma.
Successful applicants include:
Energy Crop Production
- Nurhan Dunford of Oklahoma State University. Title: Evaluation of Oklahoma Native Algae Strains for Bioproduct Manufacturing. The photosynthetic production of oxygen, carbon sequestering and the ability to grow in wastewater and remove nutrients make microalgae ideal for effluent treatment applications. The purpose of this project is to screen 18 Oklahoma native algae strains for their biomass productivity, oil accumulation and waste water remediation. If successful, the result will have positive applications for the state's biosciences industry. Award: $99,668
- Ramanjulu Sunkar of Oklahoma State University. Title: Using Thellungiella as a Model to Elucidate MicroRNA-Mediated Salinity Tolerance in Plants. This project researches the adaptability of specific plants to tolerate soil salinity, one of the principal causes of crop losses worldwide. Testing such salt tolerances among several plant species makes possible the opportunity to develop plants that can overcome salty soil. Award: $100,000
- Ming Yang of Oklahoma State University. Title: Substrates of SCFs in Arabidopsis Reproductive Tissues. It is hoped this series of research approaches will reveal a heretofore unknown pathway in plant growth and development that bears special importance to seed maturation. Award: $99,999
Agriculture and Environmental Technology
- Travis Flatt of Martin Bionics Innovations. Title: Soilless Sod with Geometrically Concentrated Root Structure. The culmination of this project will result in full development of a revolutionary design for growing soil-free sod by incorporating novel engineered growing surface technology, a proprietary growing medium and proprietary growing processes to yield extremely high volumes of sod that are healthier, cleaner, lighter, stronger and more effective than conventional sod growing practices. Award: $200,000
- Andrew Doust of Oklahoma State University. Title: Seed Oil Diversity in Paysonia, a Potential Oklahoma Oil Crop. The long-term goal of this research project is to understand how certain plants develop seed oil composition and uncover opportunities for agronomic improvement. Award: $100,000
OCAST FUNDS FIVE R&D INTERNSHIPS
(These R&D Intern Partnerships were awarded in March 2013)
The University of Tulsa successfully competed for three intern partnerships awards and ATC New Technologies of Oklahoma City captured two of the awards funded by OCAST. The five projects totaled $201,895 for up to two years.
OCAST funding will support undergraduate student internships in environmental technologies, robotics, transportation and energy.
Interns assist Oklahoma small businesses in their efforts to recruit hard-to-find technology-trained employees. OCAST pays half of the cost for an undergraduate intern to work in a research and development setting while the business pays the remaining half.
OCAST’s program combines university faculty oversight, in most cases, with financial support and company mentoring from the private sector. Many of the college students who participate in the program become employees of the small businesses that sponsor them.
Recent program awards follow:
- Professor Surendra Singh of the University of Tulsa is working with MIRATECH Holding LLC to oversee the work of two interns in design and development of emission solutions for bi-fuel systems. The work will enable further development of large industrial engine exhaust silencers. Students will learn to use 3-D AutoCAD applications for the emissions industry. Total for two years, $60,000
- Professor Michael Keller of the University of Tulsa will oversee the work of two interns who will be employed by the firm CRTS Inc. of Tulsa. Students will design and build an internal weld repair tool for expediting repair of broken welds inside pipelines. The new technology will be beneficial in combating corrosion issues inside pipelines. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, 11.2 percent of all reported U.S. pipeline incidents in 2011 caused more than $30 million in property damage. Total for two years, $60,000
- ATC New Technologies of Oklahoma City will provide technical direction from staff member Bryan Schultz to lead two interns in developing and testing a replacement battery for the Toyota Prius. Toyota installs high voltage nickel metal hydride batteries in original Prius models. ATC New Technologies will replace the original battery with a lithium ion battery produced in Oklahoma City. Total for one year, $27,200
- The University of Tulsa’s Kaveh Ashenayi will collaborate with Railroad Signal International Inc. of Tulsa in overseeing the work of one intern. The student intern will work with company engineers to develop a new arm controller/sensor design using shaft encoders and the latest microprocessor based technology. Total for one year, $25,495
- Bryan Schultz of ATC New Technologies in Oklahoma City will direct two interns on a one-year project to evaluate, using nontraditional sensors and techniques, batteries from hybrid and electric vehicles. ATC New Technologies will use a number of sensors identified in a separate Department of Energy ARPA-E grant in this project. Sensors and techniques to be investigated by the two interns include ultrasonic signals detected by microphone, pressure variation during charge/discharge, magnetic field probing, off gas detectors and heat flux. Total for one year, $29,200
SMD, or Surface Mount Depot, is one of the leading electronics contract manufacturers in the United States located in Oklahoma. SMD provides a number of contract manufacturing services for industrial applications, including printed circuit board assembly, electromechanical assemblies, engineering support and cable and wire harness assembly. The company manufactures printed circuit board assemblies for industries including oil and natural gas, aerospace and defense, construction, industrial controls and medical equipment. Learn more about their services. Listen to radio show
Hear how Oklahoma EPSCoR works to increase the state’s research competitiveness through strategic support of research instruments and facilities, research collaborations, and integrated education and research programs. Listen to radio show
Deep Vein Thrombosis is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of preventable hospital deaths. Hear how Compression Solutions is helping prevent life-threatening DVT and pulmonary embolisms. Listen to radio show
Each year, millions of consumers go online to make a purchase and end up being a victim of fraud or find themselves in the midst of a scam. WeGoLook® provides a service global consumers can access at any time, regardless of their location, to verify an item, property or person by dispatching a “Looker®” on their behalf and providing them with a personalized and affordable report. Listen to radio show
This past May, Steve and Gary looked back at some of Oklahoma Innovations’ first guests to find out what they are doing 17 years later. Listen to radio show
- July 12 Governor’s State of the State Luncheon
- August 6 Noble Foundation: Water Source Development Seminar
- August 20 Noble Foundation: Pecan 101 School
- August 22 State of the Schools
- August 23 Oklahoma Technology Showcase
- September 19 Noble Foundation: White-tailed Deer Management Workshop
INNOVATIONS IN HISTORY
On June 24, 1844, Charles Goodyear was granted patent #3,633 for vulcanized rubber. Goodyear discovered that if you removed the sulphur from rubber, then heated it, it would retain its elasticity. This process, called vulcanization, made rubber waterproof and winter-proof and opened the door for an enormous market for rubber goods.