Ohio Third Frontier awards creative innovation


The University of Akron has received the largest award of any public research university in the most recent set of grants issued by the Ohio Third Frontier. 

Ohio Third Frontier award to the University of AkronAbout $200,000 in grants for projects inspired by UA students and researchers came from the Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund, which supports the development of new technologies for licensing and commercialization.

“The investment in technology is an investment in Ohio’s future, bringing new ideas and jobs to the state,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission.

In addition to the $200,000 in funding to UA research projects, the Third Frontier also provided $100,000 to Akron Surface Technologies (ASTI), a spin-off from UA’s partnership with the Timken Company, for developing and testing a metal coating to increase the lifespan of mechanical parts by increasing durability and decreasing friction.

National Science Foundation support

The UA projects funded also received support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) after UA was named an Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site by NSF.  UA is one of only three such sites in the country, providing students the opportunity to team up with scientists and entrepreneurs to quickly turn innovative research into commercially viable products. I-Corps Site teams, made up of a student, faculty member, and a business mentor from the community, each receive $2,500 to develop their idea.

The UA-based innovations to receive NSF support and new Third Frontier funding include:

  • A new kind of bandage that speeds wound healing through a polymer-based material that regulates the delivery of oxygen essential to the healing process. 
  • A paint-based stress monitoring system for use in the aerospace, civil engineering and naval markets that better detects the full range of mechanical stress and strain experienced by buildings, bridges and aircrafts.
  • A smart-phone based water quality sensor that can monitor and sustain a healthy ecosystem in environments like aquariums and greenhouses. 
  • A 3-D automated system for testing the effects of anti-cancer drugs in a polymer-based substance that contains cancer cells.

“This really is recognition of many years of hard work by teams of people here at The University of Akron and its community,” says Dr. George Newkome, vice president of research and dean of the Graduate School at The University of Akron. “These individuals have invested time and energy to take what they’ve created and built the intellectual property that sustains the momentum required to develop a marketable product. The new recognition by Ohio Third Frontier bodes well for a bright future and a greater return on investment from our commitment to research.” 

Media contact: Eileen Korey, 330-972-8589 or korey@uakron.edu