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Timken, Stark State, Port Authority team up on nation's first R&D center for large wind-turbine gear

Technical students at Stark State College could be blown away by America’s first R&D center for large wind-turbine gearbox systems.

The Timken Company, Stark State and the Stark County Port Authority are building a Wind Energy Research and Development Center, the first of its kind in the U.S. Timken will use the facility to develop ultra-large bearings and seals on sophisticated equipment that replicates the operating environment of large multi-megawatt wind turbines. 

The $11.8 million research and development center will anchor Stark State’s new Emerging Technologies Airport Campus on 15 acres of property adjacent to the Akron-Canton Airport.

“We are very pleased to launch such an important project for the wind energy industry,” said Douglas Smith, Timken’s senior vice president of technology and quality at the center's groundbreakign in August. “Being able to simulate real-world conditions at full-scale puts us in a unique position to rapidly assess and qualify new solutions for the industry.”

According to Timken, the 18,000-square-foot center will secure 65 jobs directly, while creating a unique research practicum and technical certification program for Stark State students, offering them critical experience conducting research, developing new designs and testing large wind-turbine bearing systems.  It will also provide critical training for current and future technicians required by today’s wind turbine manufacturers and operators.

Joint funding for the project combines more than $6 million invested by Timken, $2.1 million from the Ohio Third Frontier, and $1.5 million in loans from the Ohio Air Quality Development Authority's Advanced Energy Jobs
Stimulus Program.

Source: The Timken Company

University Clean Energy Alliance brings together academia, business for advanced energy growth

The University Clean Energy Alliance of Ohio was founded five years ago by Ohio's 15 research universities. The goal: to advance the cause of clean energy in Ohio in a collaborative way.

Since then, the Toledo-based organization has worked with a wide array of academic, government and business entities to further business-university partnerships in advanced energy and to encourage dialog on energy issues facing the state.

"The whole idea behind the alliance was to facilitate collaboration among the universities in their efforts to do research," says Jane Harf the UCEA's director. "And it's not the ivory tower research -- it's development and deployment. We really want to see these technologies make it to the marketplace -- commercialization and technology transfer."

While the organization started with the 15 research institutions, it has expanded its membership over the years to several community colleges and organizations like the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Ohio. Institutions such as the NASA Glenn Research Center and EWI (formerly the Edison Welding Institute) -- are also members.

Harf says that as part of its work, UCEA has engaged in a number of projects related to clean energy advancement, including a study on business and university collaborations, focus groups with businesses to assess the challenges and opportunities for clean energy and programs supporting the state's nine university-based Advanced Energy Centers of Excellence.

On April 26 and 27, the organization will hold it's fifth annual conference in Columbus, where it will showcase the work being done at those centers and work being done by students -- and at which it will offer breakout sessions on  a variety of topics including energy projects under way in Ohio, intellectual property issues surrounding university-business partnerships, policy issues around advanced and alternative energy and the opportunities and challenges of doing business in Ohio.

Also at the conference, the UCEA will roll out a new database that Harf says will provide advanced energy companies and others with current information about individual researchers and the work they do, programs of study available to those who are seeking degrees in alternative energy and on facilities and equipment available to businesses to further their technology development.

To register, go here

Source: Jane Harf, UCEA
Writer: Gene Monteith

Ohio State Commercialization Center seen as unique model

Ohio State University has announced a new commercialization center that it calls a unique model for collaboration between university researchers and business -- one that will strengthen the state and national economies and increase university revenues.

The Technology Commercialization Center, which Ohio State says departs from typical university commercialization models, will emphasize partnerships between the colleges of engineering, food agricultural and environmental sciences, health sciences, business, law, and the Office of Research.

In a news release, OSU said the center will be housed within the Fisher College of Business and will "bring together, in one unified organization, new-technology evaluation, license negotiation, company-formation mentorship and undergraduate and graduate education on entrepreneurship and commercialization."

In addition, a Proof of Concept Center will be established to ensure inventions with the greatest potential for the commercial market will receive the most attention.

Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research, told hiVelocity in May that the center was in development.

"We need to prioritize these technologies and develop the most promising ones further within the university," she said at the time. "So the idea here is twofold: to do a thorough evaluation of these technologies, and that involves bringing in some people from outside as well, bringing in some market experts, both local and national. And using the expertise within the university to look at what's really valuable."

OSU says the strategy presents a significant opportunity to generate new revenue for the university, which is recruiting a chief commercialization officer to lead the effort. Ohio State, based in Columbus, ranks in the top ten nationally with $716 million in research expenditures in 2009 and is second in industry-sponsored research. The university's 2009 licensing revenue was $1.7 million.

Source: Ohio State University
Writer: Gene Monteith

Neuros Medical's goal: no more pain meds

People who suffer from chronic pain could someday toss their painkillers into the garbage. For good.

Neuros Medical is developing a device that uses an electrode to deliver high-frequency stimulation to sensory nerves in the peripheral nervous system. Basically, pain signals in the spine just won't make it to the brain.

The Willoughby-based company was founded in 2008 using technology invented by two Case Western Reserve University doctors.

Jon Snyder, founder and CEO of Neuros Medical, says Northeast Ohio has become an international hub for researching � and producing � neurostimulation devices.

"There's a great amount of this type of technology being discovered and refined here, especially with institutions in the area like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, Case Western and the Functional Electrical Stimulation Center," Snyder says. "This region is very well-known for uncovering new uses for neurostimulation."

Neuros Medical is currently in the product-development stage, but the company's pace is moving quickly. Human studies are expected this year.

Investors have taken notice � to the tune of $1.8 million so far. That includes support from JumpStart ($275,000), North Coast Angel Fund ($200,000) and Ohio TechAngels ($200,000).

"In Ohio, we've got some great support organizations, to help companies get through their early stages of development," he says.

Neuros Medical employs three people, not including consultants that are hired regionally. Within the next few years, Snyder expects to have a product on the market � which will add even more jobs. However, the company could add as many as six positions within one year. "Maybe even more," he adds.

Source: Jon Snyder, Neuros Medical
Writer: Colin McEwen

Master agreement gives P&G, universities, common starting point for research

It just got easier for Ohio colleges to collaborate with Procter & Gamble on research projects, thanks to a groundbreaking master agreement between P&G and Ohio's 14 state universities.

The agreement, announced April 22, is expected to lead to more P&G-university partnerships and increased commercialization of new technologies. But it also is seen as a template for agreements between the Ohio university system and other research-driven entities, says Noah Sudow, associate director economic advancement for the Ohio Board of Regents.

"I think our biggest next step is going to create that model that we can market to all business and say 'hey, we'll sign this with you right now,' Sudow says. "The goal is . . . to show how we can utilize the power of the university system to work with businesses."

The agreement, which governs treatment of intellectual property, licensing rights and when researchers can publish their findings, is the first of its kind in Ohio and may be the first in the nation, parties to the agreement say.

The five-year pact eliminates the need to negotiate agreements one-on-one with each university, drastically reducing the time needed up front, "where you could spend months negotiating (the rules) for what turned out to be two to three weeks of work," says P&G's Nick Nikolaides, university liaison for P&G global business development. "Getting rid of that up-front part and putting the focus on the project work really ought to catalyze more strategic collaborations in the long term."

The master agreement is patterned after a 2005 agreement with the University of Cincinnati.  Nikolaides says P&G invested nearly $20 million in university research projects across all business lines between 2006 and 2009, and the agreement should lead to additional investments with an increasing number of universities.

Sources: P&G: Nick Nikolaides, Chris Thoen (director, global open innovation) Rich Eggers (associate director global business development) and Mary Ralles (external relations manager, global business development); Board of Regents: Noah Sudow
Writer: Gene Monteith

SciTech aims for tech-savvy synergies -- all under one roof

Science and Technology Campus Corp., the state-of-the-art research and office complex at The Ohio State University, is counting on creative synergy, investing in an $7.3 million ElectroScience lab and wireless communication building that housing university researchers and private tech-savvy firms under one roof.

The innovative 40,000-square-foot Wireless Communication Building allows for quick collaboration, making the research-to-commercialization process more dynamic and smooth, says SciTech President Doug Aschenbach.

"A lot of research ideas really do begin in a brainstorming process where people will be talking at lunch. There is a creative process that works better if people are together than if people are working by phone 1,000 miles away," Aschenbach says.

SciTech, a non-profit that partners with state, local and university partners to attract high-tech companies to its research park, is the developer of the Wireless Communication Building. The OSU ElectroScience Lab will occupy half of the new building. SciTech hasn't announced any official private clients yet, but said the companies in the ElectroScience field, like aviation companies, are targeted tenants.

"In many cases (researchers and private industry) are already collaborating. It makes the process more efficient if someone can walk down the hall and talk to the person conducting research on their behalf," Aschenbach says.

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy late this year.

Source: SciTech President Doug Aschenbach
Writer: Feoshia Henderson

Research Institute's 53 years marked by growth, unique tie to University of Dayton

In 1956, Elvis Presley released his first hit, Prince Rainier of Monaco married American actress Grace Kelley, and the Federal Highway Act was signed into law promising 41,000 miles of road improvements across the United States.

Under the radar, another milestone occurred: The University of Dayton Research Institute was born.

Starting with just 20 sponsored projects, those seeds have born tasty fruit. Today, the institute has grown to more than 1,000 sponsored projects, 400 employees and more than $96 million in research expenditures this year.

The university now ranks second among all American colleges in the amount of federal and industry-funded materials research it performs. It also ranks first in Ohio and among the top 30 universities for federally sponsored engineering R&D.

All the while, it has managed to do something no other university has done, according to UDRI Director John Leland: remain a not-for-profit arm of the university.

"There have been a lot of university research institutes," he says, "but all have spun off into separate corporate entities. The University of Dayton never spun this off," instead keeping full-time researchers on university staff, which "gives them the ability to give full-time attention to customers."

Projects can run from the simple -- analyzing why a part broke on a piece of machinery -- to complex -- analyzing how a bird brought that plane down in the Hudson River.

Besides its work helping companies develop new materials and scale them up for production, UDRI is also conducts research related to energy and the environment, aeropropulsion, structures, mechanical systems, sensors and how to improve the interface between human beings and complex systems.

Source: John Leland, UDRI
Writer: Gene Monteith

Athens-based Diagnostic HYBRIDS growing at double-digit pace

David Scholl says it took his company more than 10 years before it sold its first product. But what he describes as "care and nurture" within the Ohio University community appears to have paid off.

Founded at OU in 1983 with about a dozen employees, Scholl's Athens-based Diagnostic HYBRIDS has grown to 225. Scholl, president and chief executive officer, cites a 75 percent increase in jobs over the past four years.

Among the products powering growth are those related to thyroid conditions. For example, in 2000, the company partnered with OU on a $1 million grant from the Ohio Third Frontier's Action Fund, luring scientist Leonard Kohn to Ohio to support development of early detector of Graves' disease.

"About 32 million people have the disease, and there are 300,000 to 400,000 new cases diagnosed per year in the United States," Scholl says. "We began commercialization of that product in 2001, and it's been selling to the point where we decided to make a refined version, which the FDA approved in May."

The new test cuts the typical results time from three days to one. Diagnostic HYBRIDS is counting on a new web-based education and marketing effort -- and direct mail to doctors -- to raise awareness and drive earlier treatment.

The firm won a $5-million Third Frontier Award last year to further develop viral diagnostic and treatment capabilities. More recently, Diagnostic HYBRIDS licensed a test to detect recurring thyroid cancer. And it just won FDA approval for FastPoint, a test that detects two common influenza strains in less than 30 minutes.

Source: David Scholl, Diagnostic HYBRIDS
Writer: Gene Monteith

New UT campus to accelerate advanced and alternative energy, jobs

The University of Toledo is already well known for its role in incubating young alternative energy companies, like solar products manufacturer Xunlight. Now it has a campus devoted purely to the development and commercialization of advanced and alternative energy technologies.

Last week, UT signed the first two leases for its new Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation, dedicated in September as the university's newest technology accelerator, says Chuck Lehnert, vice president of facilities and construction. The university calls the 177-acre campus the first in the country committed solely to advancing renewable, alternative and sustainable energies.

"Our university's mission is to improve the human condition," Lehnert says. UT's pioneer work in new energy options has made "renewable and sustainable energy part of our DNA. Scott Park demonstrates our commitment."

The campus will serve as an alternative energy laboratory for teaching, research and demonstration and an accelerator for new ideas coming to the marketplace. The hope is that resulting new companies will locate within the UT technology corridor and spur economic growth in northwest Ohio, Lehnert says.

While the Scott Park Campus hopes to make an economic impact on northwest Ohio, it hopes to make no impact on the environment. A 10-kilowatt solar array and a 100-foot wind turbine have already been installed at Scott Park. And there are plans for a larger, 1.12 megawatt solar array to be installed on eight acres near the UT soccer field. The goal: a neutral carbon footprint.

Source: Chuck Lehnert, University of Toledo
Writer: Gene Monteith

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