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NSF research alliances begin new efforts to accelerate innovation

The National Science Foundation recently awarded nearly $6 million for eight emerging-technology projects that may result in technologies poised for commercialization.

The grants, issued as part of NSF's Accelerating Innovation Research program, will go to projects that aim to create innovative products, processes and systems. Each project will seek to solve problems for various industries, ranging from energy and weather to healthcare and information technology.

"The collaborations fostered by AIR will accelerate the translation from innovative research to market reality and strengthen the national innovation ecosystem," said Grace Wang, director of NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships, which funds the awards. "Partnerships and third-party investment are essential for successful technology translation."

Academic researchers will collaborate with private-sector partners as they begin the development of new technology concepts. In addition, the AIR Research Alliance competition requires researchers to obtain an equal commitment of resources for their projects from a company; a venture capital firm; an individual "angel" investor or a federal, state or local government--or a combination of these.

"With AIR, NSF-supported research alliances have a chance to expand their industrial reach and understand first-hand what's involved in commercialization," said Lynn Preston, director of the NSF Engineering Research Centers program. "They also have an opportunity to build upon their promising discoveries and technologies."

Fiscal 2012 AIR awards were granted to three engineering research centers, three industry/university cooperative research centers and two partnerships for innovation sites.

"These projects are expected to not only result in new technologies and start-up businesses," said AIR program director Karlene Hoo, "they also will provide opportunities for students to learn about innovation, entrepreneurship and the technology translation process."

During the next two years, AIR awards will support the following projects:

1237848 PFI-AIR: Nanoplasmonic Metamaterial Antennae for Efficient Wireless Power Transmission
Thomas Bifano (, Trustees of Boston University, Mass.

1237873 PFI-AIR: Industry-Academia Research Partnership for Developing & Implementing Non-Destructive Characterization and Assessment of Pharmaceutical Oral Dosages in Continuous Manufacturing
Alberto Cuitino (, Rutgers University New Brunswick, N.J.

1237734 PFI-AIR: Advanced SiNWs: Partnerships for Innovative Research in Energy (ASPIRE)
John Hartley (, SUNY at Albany, N.Y.

1237805 PFI-AIR: Accelerating Commercialization of the Solid State Transformer through Strategic Partnership
Alex Huang (, North Carolina State University, N.C.

1237857 PFI-AIR: Transitioning Novel Polymeric Membranes for Natural Gas, Air, and Hydrogen Separations
James McGrath (, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Va.

1237821 PFI-AIR: Architectures for the Future Cellular Networks
Shivendra Panwar (, Polytechnic University of New York, N.Y.

1237767 PFI-AIR: CASA Warning System Innovation Institute
Brenda Philips (, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.

1237818 PFI-AIR: CREST-I/UCRC-Industry Ecosystem to Pipeline Research
Naphtali Rishe (, Florida International University, Fla.

Contact: Joshua A. Chamot
National Science Foundation

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