Oklahoma Innovations - OCAST's Official Newsletter
THREE APPROVED FOR OCAST INTERN PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM
Three R&D Intern Partnerships have been approved by the governing board of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology for funding totaling $149,989.
Professors and engineers from the University of Tulsa, University of Oklahoma, John Zink Company and SouthWest NanoTechnologies will oversee student interns in the awarded projects. The R&D Intern Partnerships will operate for one to two years in collaboration with universities and private-sector companies in Tulsa and Norman. Awards support undergraduate student internships in energy, advanced materials/chemicals and computer software.
The OCAST R&D Intern Partnerships program has helped Oklahoma small businesses locate hard-to-find technology-trained employees. OCAST pays half of the cost for an undergraduate intern to work in a research and development setting.
OCAST’s program is designed to assist technology-based job creation. It combines university faculty oversight with financial support and company mentoring from the private sector. Some of the college students who participate in the program eventually become employees of the small businesses that sponsor them.
The most recent program awards follow:
Tulsa – University of Tulsa Professor Surendra Singh will oversee work performed by student interns at the John Zink Company. Two interns will work on vapor control systems needed in vapor recovery and vapor combustion. The project, titled “Design and Development of Burner Systems,” will be conducted under the direction of two design engineers at the John Zink Company in the firm’s design, testing and manufacturing facility in Tulsa. New products that come from the research project will increase John Zink’s revenue, creating employment opportunities for engineers and technicians. Award: $60,000 for two years.
Norman – Ricardo Prada Silvy will serve as principal investigator for a project titled “Undergraduate Internships in Advanced Nanotechnology.” Three interns will be hired at SouthWest NanoTechnologies Inc. to work collaboratively with the OU School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering and the Department of Chemistry. Award: $60,000 for two years.
Norman – OU’s Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth will provide matching pay for interns working under the direction of the University of Oklahoma’s Jeffrey Moore. Titled “University of Oklahoma Software Business Accelerator (SoBA) Internship Program,” the project combines the talent of interdisciplinary students, the expertise of faculty researchers, and the experience of private sector entrepreneurs to launch novel software products in an accelerated fashion. SoBA provides student interns an unparalleled opportunity to experience the technology-based entrepreneurial process, from idea generation to product development and launch. Award: $29,989 for one year.
The 2011 legislative session proved mostly positive for OCAST and the Oklahomans who benefit from the agency's programs. OCAST will remain a stand-alone state agency and received a seven percent budget cut, on par with many other agencies’ cuts.
Under bill 1541, OCAST was being considered for consolidation into the Department of Commerce. The bill, which included consolidation of several other state agencies into larger agencies, did not receive a hearing in the Senate Appropriations and Budget Committee.
According to Michelle Wynn, OCAST director of government relations and strategic initiatives, because the consolidation bill did not receive a hearing in the last session, it is still alive and has a chance of being heard next year.
OCAST received a seven percent budget cut for a $17.8 million budget in fiscal year 2012, down from $19.2 million in fiscal year 2011. While the seven percent cut is significant, it was average when compared to other agencies. However, the cumulative impact of consecutive budget cuts is adding up. This is the fourth consecutive year of budget cuts for OCAST, resulting in a budget decrease of more than 22 percent since fiscal year 2008.
OCAST will make efforts to minimize the most recent cuts’ impact on programs and funding for research. OCAST plans to cut seven percent of their administrative costs to keep operating costs low. While OCAST also plans to cut seven percent from their programs budget, they do not plan to eliminate any programs or services.
“We want to thank our legislators for continuing to see the importance in funding science and technology during years when state revenues are down,” said Wynn. “But we must continue to educate about the many benefits research funding has on new business in our state and how it prospers the economy and the continuing demand and opportunity for growth.”
OCAST-supported organizations create jobs, increase state exports, increase tax revenue and improve our citizens' quality of life. In 2010, OCAST-supported organizations created or retained 3,140 jobs. OCAST brings a 19:1 return to the state – for every dollar OCAST has invested into an Oklahoma company, $19.94 is attracted to the project 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 – 150 qualified Oklahoma projects went unfunded in Fiscal Year 2010. The amount of money needed to fund all of the promising research and development projects was $24 million.
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.
During the 1980s oil bust, lawmakers were faced with some of the same tough decisions they face in today’s economy. They recognized that to keep talented graduates in state, sustain business growth, attract a fair share of federal research dollars, create jobs and become more attractive to business, Oklahoma must strategically diversify its economy and invest in science and technology. Twenty-three years later, OCAST has funded 2,258 Oklahomans across the entire state. The projects of today will create jobs, state exports and tax revenue in the future.
TAKING AEROSPACE TO THE NEXT LEVEL
The rapid progress for Oklahoma’s unmanned aerial systems (UAS) sector is attracting local, national and international interest in the remotely piloted aircraft that can carry cameras, sensors, communications equipment or other items, most widely known for uses in military operations.
In May, the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma (USA-OK) was unanimously approved to become a state chapter of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. USA-OK is comprised of industry, university and state government representatives working together to promote the unmanned systems industry.
“The organization’s goals are to continue to educate the public on the importance of the unmanned systems industry and what it will mean to Oklahoma’s economy,” said James Grimsley, president of the Unmanned Systems Alliance of Oklahoma and president and CEO of Design Intelligence Incorporated LLC. “The global UAS market is predicted to be a $94 billion industry over the next decade.
Therefore, it’s important to ensure that our students are aware of the opportunities in this industry and that we encourage more students to go into related college majors and careers, as well as grow awareness in the state through efforts such as statewide summits, networking events and other opportunities to collaborate and communicate.”
Currently, the UAS industry is dominated by military operations and unmanned aerial systems are not allowed to fly in the national airspace except under limited conditions and at very few locations. As the FAA introduces new regulations that allow these unmanned aircraft to fly within the national airspace, the industry will be open to commercial opportunities.
The OSU University Multispectral Laboratories, a national center for testing, evaluating and implementing defense, homeland security, energy and intelligence systems, owns one of the only UAS airfields in the U.S. where no FAA Certificate of Authorization is required. This is the result of an agreement between the University Multispectral Laboratories and the Ft. Sill Army post in Lawton. This gives Oklahoma a competitive edge in the industry and is one of the reasons Oklahoma is attracting attention from all over the globe.
Grimsley estimates there are 10 companies in Oklahoma that focus on UAS. However, he predicts that number to grow as industry experts learn more about the capabilities of current Oklahoma companies. Grimsley also expects that more startup companies will be created and other companies will relocate to Oklahoma due to the state’s unique assets and resources.
“There are five or so states that are actively working to develop a strong unmanned systems industry, but Oklahoma is unique in that we are recognized as a state where the entire unmanned systems industry, including universities and state government representatives, are all working together toward one goal – to promote the unmanned systems industry sector,” Grimsley said. “It is rare to see all stakeholders work together so well and create an industry as quickly as we have with unmanned systems.”
Governor Mary Fallin has demonstrated her commitment to that common goal with the recent creation of the Governor’s Unmanned Aerial Systems Council that Dr. Stephen McKeever, secretary of science and technology, will chair. The governor is appointing 10 to 15 members to the council who represent the Oklahoma unmanned aerial systems community.
“The Oklahoma ethos is important,” Grimsley said. “We work hard and take care of our patrons and we have a reputation for doing so. We also foster innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit through excellent organizations such as OCAST.
We have benefited by having the right group of people together at the right time under remarkable leadership and vision. Our rich legacy of aerospace in our state makes us an ideal location for this type of industry.”
Right now, Oklahoma is focused on education, research and development, testing and evaluation; however, manufacturing is next and Grimsley said there are already plans to address manufacturing needs.
“Oklahoma’s unmanned aerial systems solution will cover all aspects, including manufacturing and hopefully maintenance and logistical support,” Grimsley said. “We are only limited by our imaginations. The environment and support for unmanned aerial systems in Oklahoma is truly remarkable.”
For more information on USA-OK, visit www.usa-ok.org or to join the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, visit www.auvsi.org.
MOST COMMON PROPOSAL MISTAKES
How to Improve Your OCAST Application
To help ensure our award selection process is objective and merit-based, OCAST uses out-of-state experts who are highly respected in their fields to evaluate and rank proposals according to scientific merit and commercial potential. Here are the top seven mistakes they see in proposals.
- Incomplete list of team members
- When listing mentors, co-principal investigators, or other partners, make sure their education, experience and role in the project is clearly defined.
- Make it clear how the project will benefit from the participation of each member of the project team.
- Inflated budget
- Salaries of research personnel sometimes appear to be inflated. Peer reviewers will compare the amount of time allotted to the project to the salaries of research personnel.
- Cost of supplies and equipment sometimes appear to be inflated. Do the research to make cost estimates as accurate and understandable as possible.
- OCAST funding does not cover certain indirect costs such as tuition, patent or licensing fees. Reference the Frequently Asked Questions about OCAST Programs and Solicitations document for more information about budget fees and costs.
- Poorly developed research plan
- Applicants should use the allotted space in its entirety to spell out research aims and methodology in detail, adequately describing how the specific aims are going to be reached. The more detail you provide, the better.
- Keep the research plan organized and easy to follow.
- Previous research not acknowledged
- Proposals should acknowledge previous and current studies in the field.
- Unclear innovation or competitive advantage
- Describe how the proposed product, process or service is an improvement over the competition or what is currently available.
- No or poorly reasoned collaboration
- Applicants won’t be experts in every area. When a project could benefit from collaboration with an expert in a specific field, those collaborations are encouraged and should be listed.
- Reviewers like to see that applicants are collaborating where and when it makes sense to do so, but make sure the relevance of that specific collaborator is made clear.
- Lack of detail and explanation
- When a proposal is not detailed enough in one or more main areas (i.e. research plan, budget justification, methodology, economic impact), it is difficult for that reviewer to fully grasp the big picture. Peer reviewers are experts in the field, but it should not be assumed they are experts in your particular research area. The more detail you provide, the better.
- Rather than using vague terms such as “better” to gauge the efficacy of the product, process or service under development, use measurable terms.
- Don’t leave anything to the reviewer’s imagination, Googling skills, or personal knowledge and experience.
For proposal writing support, visit www.ok.gov/ocast/Program_Support/index.html.
GOVERNOR FALLIN ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENTS TO THE GOVERNOR’S SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COUNCIL
Governor Mary Fallin has appointed 18 people to the Governor’s Science and Technology Council, a council that has been reinstated by the governor, and will be headed by Secretary of Science and Technology, Dr. Stephen McKeever. The council has been reinstated by executive order for the purpose of identifying opportunities for the growth of science and technology industries in the state of Oklahoma.
All of the appointees are filling new positions and are serving at the pleasure of the governor. Each appointment will last through 2015. Appointees do not draw a yearly salary.
“Cutting edge technologies in industries like energy, aerospace, bioscience and agriculture are an important ingredient to economic growth and job creation, which is exactly why I have decided to reinstate the Governor’s Science and Technology Council. Each of the men and women I have chosen to serve on the council are experienced, innovative professionals who will do everything they can to move the state forward in the areas of science and technology,” Fallin said
Dave Humphrey of Tulsa is the CEO of Token Ex, a data security software company. He earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin and his MBA from Texas A&M.
Web Keogh of Edmond is the CEO of Triton Scientific University Multispectral Laboratories in Ponca City. He has a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Maryland.
Scott Rollins of Oklahoma City is president and CEO of Selexys Pharmaceuticals. He earned his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma.
Jerry Malayer of Stillwater is a professor of physiological sciences, biochemistry, molecular biology and is associate dean for research and graduate education at OSU. He earned his doctorate from the University of Florida. Malayer also serves on the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.
Wes Stucky of Ardmore is the president and CEO of the Ardmore Development Authority. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Bethel College and his masters from the University of Northern Colorado.
Joseph Ferretti of Edmond is the senior vice president and provost of the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center in Oklahoma City. He earned his doctorate from the University of Minnesota.
Sheri Stickley of Edmond is president and CEO of the Oklahoma Bioscience Association. She earned her bachelor’s degree from OSU.
Howard Barnett of Tulsa is the president of OSU-Tulsa and OSU Center for Health Sciences. He has served as the secretary of commerce and the chief of staff for Governor Keating. Barnett earned his juris doctorate from Southern Methodist University.
Colin Cumming of Stillwater is the general manager at FLIR Systems, a thermal imaging camera manufacturing company. He earned his bachelor’s degree from OSU.
David Myers of Ponca City is the executive director of the Ponca City Development Authority. He earned both his bachelors and masters degrees from California State University.
Warren Thomas of Lexington is the managing partner at Tinker Industrial Developers. He has served on the Oklahoma Science and Technology Council since 2004.
Tom Walker of Oklahoma City is the president and CEO of Innovation to Enterprise, a non-profit corporation focused on growing technology based companies in Oklahoma. He earned his MBA from Oklahoma City University.
Maj. Gen. David Ralston of Lawton is the vice president of CGI Federal, a company that provides IT services to businesses. He earned a masters degree from Central Michigan in public administration.
Michael Carolina of Edmond is the executive director at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). He earned a masters degree from the University of Oklahoma.
Kelvin Droegemeier of Norman is the vice president of research at the University of Oklahoma. He earned a doctorate in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois.
John Frick of Oklahoma City is the senior vice president of ProCure, a cancer care treatment center. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.
Roger Blais of Tulsa is the provost and vice president of academic affairs at the University of Tulsa. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota in physics and French literature.
Ben Robinson of Oklahoma City is the vice president for institutional advancement for the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico and a masters from Central Michigan University.
Technology Business Finance Program
Technical changes to the 13-year-old OCAST Technology Business Finance Program are now in place and a new funding mechanism is slated to begin in the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2012. The alterations to the program represent the most significant changes to the program since its inception.
TBFP has been administered under a contract between OCAST and i2E since its beginnings, with the goal to assist existing small businesses that are developing new innovative technologies, products or processes. However, now i2E’s contractual role will become a maintenance mechanism for existing TBFP portfolio investments, with new TBFP-type funding for non-manufacturing businesses to be handled through a new activity in OCAST’s Seed Capital program.
Instead, the TBFP program will be placing a new emphasis on helping small to medium-sized Oklahoma manufacturers participate more fully in developing new technologies that will boost their competitiveness. Within TBFP, a new funding mechanism – the Manufacturing Innovation Fund (MIF) – will operate as a financing option for those manufacturers, specifically using TBFP repayments and reclaimed awards from current TBFP portfolio companies. However, throughout the revised program, all existing TBFP procedures and rules will remain in place.
For more information, look at the OCAST Web site at www.ocast.ok.gov or contact Cheryl Stratton, 405-319-8416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Modifications to the OCAST Intern Partnerships program are designed to make the program more convenient to both student interns and the small businesses that hire them. In effect, the program will be open year round with closing dates chosen to coincide with the four quarters of each fiscal year. This change is expected to make the program more accommodating to businesses by allowing them to begin internship programs at times that are more convenient for their business climate, rather than following a traditional academic semester calendar. As a result, more students will now have the opportunity to participate in a greater number of internship experiences.
Upcoming closing dates are September 7 and November 30, 2011, and February 22 and April 4, 2012.
The money available for each review is expected to range from $120,000 to $150,000.
For more information, visit the OCAST Web site at www.ocast.ok.gov or contact Tessa North, 405-319-8410 or email@example.com.
||OARS Intent Deadline
||Dan Luton, director of programs for OCAST, talks about Oklahoma and its biotechnology initiative with a guest at the BIO - 2011 International Convention in Washington D.C.
||Intern Intent Deadline
||OCAST Board of Directors Meeting
||OARS Application Deadline
||Intern Application Deadline
OKLAHOMA INNOVATIONS RADIO SHOW
Lockheed Martin showcased the F-35 Lightning II mobile cockpit demonstrator at Pro-Fab Inc., a local supplier for the F-35 program. Pro-Fab has a significant footprint within the F-35 program, manufacturing some of the most flight-critical components and assemblies for all three variants of the fifth generation fighter. The program provides more than 400 direct and indirect jobs for Oklahoma and more than $30 million in economic impact across the state.
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Hear how technology is changing the face of retail business in downtown America. Linda Barnett with the Oklahoma Main Street Center discusses trends in consumer spending.
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Dr. Stephen McKeever, vice-president of research and technology transfer at OSU, is the new Secretary of Science and Technology appointed by Governor Mary Fallin. This week, Secretary McKeever will discuss the governor’s recently appointed Science and Technology Council, Oklahoma’s role in researching unmanned aerial vehicles, addressing education needs through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and the role of R&D for empowering Oklahoma small businesses to serve a growing number of new markets.
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Robert Taylor, director of the Inventors Assistance Service and New Product Development Center at Oklahoma State University, discusses the services they provide for Oklahoma's entrepreneurs and manufacturers.
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CALL FOR NEWS STORIES
Have you or your company recently reached a milestone in your research project? Have you received a national grant? Tell us your story, and you could be featured in an upcoming OCAST newsletter.
In garages, fields and laboratories across the state, our citizens are developing the products, technology and treatments of tomorrow. Many Oklahomans would be surprised to hear about some of the groundbreaking, globally-recognized work being done in Oklahoma.
OCAST would like to hear about your science and technology related news to feature in our upcoming newsletters. Please submit your name, contact information and a description of your news to Debbie Cox at OCAST firstname.lastname@example.org.
INNOVATIONS IN HISTORY
In August 1774, Joseph Priestley, British minister and chemist, identified a gas he called “dephlogisticated air,” which later became known as oxygen. He tested oxygen by focusing the sun's rays on a sample of mercuric oxide. Priestley first tested it on mice and was surprised they could survive quite a while entrapped with the air. He later tested it on himself.