Millions in state funding to support UA research


The University of Akron was the big winner in the distribution of funding from the Ohio Third Frontier Commission.

Of the  $12.5 million in awards announced yesterday to support start-ups and commercialize technologies, University of Akron researchers and their collaborators received a combined total of more than $5 million—more than any other single organization in the state. 

“Taking ideas and getting them to the marketplace strengthens Ohio’s technology economy,” said David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency and chair of the Ohio Third Frontier Commission.

UA received awards in two categories.

2014 Ohio Third Frontier Innovation Platform Awards

The platform awards link established research at the state’s colleges, universities or other nonprofit research institutions to the needs of Ohio companies to help with near-term product innovation and commercialization.

  • $3 million to The University of Akron in collaboration with PolyOne, Lubrizol, SNS NanoFiber, Viscus Biologics and Austen BioInnovation Institute to enable the development of novel polymers, X-ray shielding materials, protective coatings for medical devices and catheters and antimicrobial materials for wound healing.
  • $1.74 million to The University of Akron in collaboration with Exacter, Inc. and Jacco & Associates to develop a smart sensor platform for mitigating electrical grid outages, and an HVAC sensor system to regulate airflow and improve system efficiency.

Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund grants

The Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-Up Fund provides grants in two phases. The program’s first phase involves demonstrating that a technology can be commercialized, through activities such as testing and prototyping. The second phase supports Ohio start-up companies that will license and ultimately commercialize technology developed at Ohio higher education and nonprofit research institutions.  UA research supported by new funding includes:

  • $50,000 to Rare-Earth-Material-Free Multiphase Electric Machine (FMEM) for Low Power Applications: This technology will help improve reliability and have a longer life than existing electric motors at a lower cost.  Validation of the technology will have immediate application in the automotive and aerospace markets.
  • $50,000 to Integrated Imaging Goggles for Guiding Basal-cell Carcinoma Surgeries: These goggles will be able to reveal the presence and extent of cancerous lesions, which will enable surgeons to excise the cancerous tissue while sparing adjacent non-cancerous tissue, improving surgery. 
  • $50,000 to Transparent Conductive Coating for Flexible Electronics: This technology has the ability to disrupt the existing transparent conductor markets, which are frequently used in flexible electronics like touch screens and solar cells.  The transparent conductive coating under development is less brittle than what is being used in the market, meaning breaking a smartphone screen will be significantly less likely using this technology.
  • $50,000 to Additively Manufactured Prosthetic Socket Cooling System: This technology solves a current problem with current prosthesis: the prosthesis of active wearers becomes hot and leads not only to pain but skin breakdown.  This technology will solve this problem by developing a prosthetic socket that contains cooling channels that will cool the socket by circulating air through a battery-driven pump attached to the body or prosthesis. 
  • $50,000 to Akron Fast Fourier Transform (FFT): This technology will increase the speed of calculations carried out by graphics processing units (GPUs) in computers in procedures such as MRI processing and computer gaming.
  • $100,000 Phase II funds to UA affiliated startup Akron Ascent Innovations LLC – Bio-Inspired Reusable Adhesives Using Scalable Electrospinning Techniques: Funding will go to commercialize a dry, reusable adhesive that is easily removable without damaging surfaces or leaving sticky residue.

Media contact: Eileen Korey, 330-972-8589 or