Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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UT System Awards New Round of Commercialization Grants

AUSTIN – The University of Texas System today (Jan. 12) announced awards totaling $394,000 to commercialize technologies developed at eight UT System institutions.

Among the discoveries is a wireless device produced by researchers at UT San Antonio that monitors breathing, which could be used for SIDS, epilepsy and sleep apnea patients. Another discovery, made by researchers at the UT Health Science Center at Houston, could lead to the development of a test using salivary biomarkers for the early detection of breast cancer. 

The discoveries were among six developed at academic institutions and two at health institutions within the UT System, and represent the fifth round of projects that received funding from the System’s $2 million Texas Ignition Fund (TIF). The fund was created by the UT System Board of Regents in 2007 to help speed the commercialization of discoveries made at campus laboratories and move them into the marketplace.

Grants awarded in the latest round ranged from $44,000 to $50,000.

"The TIF program is outstanding not only because it hastens discovery and invention, but because it leads to the creation of products that enhance the quality of life for humanity, as clearly evidenced by the many proposals that have merited grant funding over the past two years,” said Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D.

The TIF fund was authorized to address the challenge that research discoveries and inventions at UT institutions often require additional funding to develop product applications that can attract investor capital to achieve their commercial potential. TIF funds are used primarily for personnel, equipment, supplies, instrument use fees, market analyses and business plans.

Including the most recent awards, the UT System's Office of Research and Technology Transfer (RTT) and the Ignition Fund Advisory Board (IFAB) have approved nearly $2 million in TIF program funds for 45 projects at 13 System institutions.

“In less than two years the TIF has had a dramatic impact all over Texas, as UT institutions from El Paso, Tyler, Edinburg, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin are launching new companies with breakthrough innovations,” said Cathy Swain, UT System’s assistant vice chancellor for commercial development. “Furthermore, Proof of Concept funding nationally over the past five years tells a compelling success story of accelerating commercialization of university research. We at UT System are delighted to contribute to these outcomes.”

The Texas Ignition Fund was created to address financial challenges that research discoveries and inventions at UT institutions often encounter when trying to attract capital to achieve their commercial potential. TIF funds are used primarily for personnel, equipment, supplies, instrument use fees, market analyses and business plans.

The TIF program is administered by the UT System’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer, whose charge is to develop and implement strategies to expand and enhance research and commercialization activities at UT System institutions.

About The University of Texas System

Serving the educational and health care needs of Texans for more than 125 years, The University of Texas System is one of the nation’s largest higher education systems, with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $11.9 billion (FY 2010) including $2.5 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. Preliminary student enrollment exceeded 202,000 in the 2009 academic year. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state's undergraduate degrees and educates nearly three-fourths of the state's health care professionals annually. With more than 84,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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