OTC News Archive

Texas Ignition Fund sparks 14 inventions

Austin Business Journal
April 9, 2008

The Texas Ignition Fund granted a total of $465,000 to 14 inventions that have the potential to become commercialized.

The University of Texas System’s newly-created $2 million fund is meant to facilitate the commercialization of technologies or products developed within the UT System.

“We are pleased with the quality of these first proposals for Ignition Fund grants and delighted that the availability of the grants has spurred so much interest on UT campuses,” UT System Chancellor Mark G. Yudof says. “It is our hope that the grants will speed the commercialization process and, over time, produce significant contributions to the Texas economy and society.”

Each grant recipient was awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000. The funds can be used for personnel, equipment, supplies, business plans, and in limited instances, faculty support and patent costs.

Among the winning inventions was a tiny chip that could be implanted in humans and diagnose acid reflux. Another grant recipient involved an advanced process for extracting lipids from algae to produce cheaper biofuels.

“Early indications are that the TIF is serving pent-up demand for seed capital to move research discoveries into commercial space,” says Keith McDowell, UT System vice chancellor for research and technology transfer. “The first round of TIF proposals were of very high quality, and tech transfer professionals on the campuses report that researchers they had never met are bringing their ideas forward because of the potential for TIF funding.”

In 2007, the state invested $1.7 billion in UT institutions. These funds supported $1.8 billion in additional funds spent on research endeavors. Those investments have resulted in 14 start-up companies, 117 U.S. patents, and 655 invention disclosures, spurring new jobs, products and services, the UT System says.

[ ABJ ]