Spark Fund announces first three awards to innovators on campus


Spark Fund – a University of Akron Research Foundation initiative to fund prototyping and testing to lead to more technology licenses – has announced $255,000 in funding to support its first three funded projects. 

Dr. Abraham JoyDr. Abraham Joy, at right, an associate professor of polymer science, and graduate students Kaushik Mishra and Cesar Lopezreceived funding to prototype and iteratively test a light-releasable medical adhesive. The 11-month project aims to produce a fully validated negative pressure wound therapy bandage to start FDA testing, as well as a scaled production process. The team was mentored by Dr. Gopal Nadkarni, an associate professor of mechanical engineering.

Dr. Gary DollDr. Gary Doll, at right, professor of civil engineering, received funding to prototype three new advanced surface coatings. Through the 11-month project, his lab will provide prototype “coupons” and larger samples of coated parts to large commercial companies. The team was mentored by Max Lewis, former Vice President of Global Innovation for Sherwin Williams.

Dr. Kwek-Tze Tan, at right, below, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and biomimicry fellows Emily Kennedy and Bill Hsiungreceived funding to prototype a football helmet liner to test their concussion prevention technology.

Dr. Kwek-Tze TanThe five-month project will lead to the creation of three helmet liners that will be tested using NFL approved techniques. The team is supported by Nathan Swift, COO of Hedgemon, and Douglas Paige, a professor of industrial design at the Cleveland Institute of Art.

Spark Fund is a 2017 initiative that aims to deploy $500,000 in privately raised and state of Ohio funding to support the creation of validated prototypes that will lead to licenses and scalable startups. The program is open to all our faculty who have completed or are willing to complete UA’s I-Corps Site program. The next application deadline for executive summaries is Sept. 15.

Learn more at Spark Fund online.

Original Source: UA Digest