Gov. Bentley Awards Innovation Funds to 15 Higher Education Projects


HOOVER – A series
of grants announced by Governor Robert Bentley Wednesday will pave the
way for research, innovation, and job creation across Alabama.

The grants, totaling $4 million, come from the Alabama Innovation
Fund.  The Alabama Innovation Fund supports research and economic
development initiatives from the state's public colleges and
universities.  The fund is a part of Accelerate Alabama – the state's
long-term plan for economic development.  This first round of grants is
part of Governor Bentley's efforts to further prioritize innovation and
entrepreneurship in the Education Trust Fund budget.

“By awarding these grants, we are investing in new opportunities that
will benefit our communities for years to come,” Governor Bentley
said.  “The Alabama Innovation Fund supports high-tech research and
innovative ideas.  These grants will lead to new innovations for our
communities and more jobs for Alabamians.”

In all, 15 grants were announced Wednesday at the Economic
Development Partnership of Alabama's second annual Innovation and
Entrepreneurship Conference.

The Alabama Innovation Fund operates two distinct programs
administered by Alabama Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield. 
The Renewal Program distributes grants to public universities based on
each university's federally-financed research and development
expenditures as reported over the preceding three years by the National
Science Foundation.  The Research Program stimulates economic

Criteria used in awarding the grants include the existence of a
public-private partnership, the likelihood of a project being capable of
successful commercialization, the likelihood that it will stimulate
further research and development in Alabama, and the likelihood of the
project contributing directly or indirectly to the creation of
additional jobs within the state.

“This program will enhance Alabama's economy in a variety of ways,”
Secretary Canfield said.  “Not only will it help us attract new
industries to the state, it will also work to expand the technology base
available to our state's businesses.  It will help create new products
and services, provide support to existing businesses and industries, and
increase both the number and quality of scientists and engineers
throughout the state.”

The project principal investigators, school names, the names of the projects, and the award amounts include:

• Robert Kimberly, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB),
Center for Clinical and Translation and Science Innovation, $1,574,885 
(Renewal Program Funding)
• Jason Cassibry, the University of
Alabama at Huntsville (UAH), Development and Testing of the Charger
Facility for Deep Space Fusion Propulsion Research, $299,557  (Renewal
Program Funding)
• Oladiran Fasina, Auburn University (AU), Naval
Stores Chemicals Productions from Southern Forests by Innovative
Treating, $204,351  (Renewal Program Funding)
• Richard P. Swatloski, the University of Alabama (UA), Alabama Start-up Seed Fund Program, $125,792  (Renewal Program Funding)
• Alec Yasinsac, University of South Alabama (USA), Metrics for Computing Education, $78,617  (Renewal Program Funding)
• Weikuan Yu, AU, Smart Network Backplane for Fast Analytics of Big Data, $68,797  (Renewal Program Funding)
• Allen Parrish, UA, 10-8CAD (Public safety technology, computer-aided dispatch), $206,326  (Research Program Funding)
• Bruce Tatarchuk, AU, Ultra High Thermal Conductivity Catalyst Carriers, $200,020  (Research Program Funding)
• Bharat Soni, UAB, Integrated Mixed Reality Simulation Training Center, $200,000  (Research Program Funding)
• David
Nelson, USA, Commercial Development of Millimeter Wave Peripheral
Perfusion Monitor, $200,000  (Research Program Funding)
• Vicki P.
Hawsey, Wallace State at Hanceville, Appalachian Regional Commission
Center for Entrepreneurship and Energy Innovations, $200,000  (Research
Program Funding)
• Anthony Skjellum, UAB, Commercialization of UAB Research Innovations in Cybersecurity, $184,000  (Research Program Funding)
• Robin D. Rogers, UA, A General Approach to 2D Nanomaterial, $160,487  (Research Program Funding)
• Marko
Hakovirta, AU, Intelligent Control Solution for Smart Manufacturing and
Energy Reduction in Pulp Mills, $142,835  (Research Program Funding)
• Gregory
Thompson, UA, Partnering with Nucor Steel in Development Microalloyed
Precipitation Strengthened Steels, $74,332  (Research Program Funding)

Also Wednesday, Governor Bentley said that in order to continue the
momentum of bringing great jobs to the state, he needs the help of the
voters on November 6.  Amendment Two on the November 6 ballot will
correct technical language regarding the refinancing of bonds and will
allow the savings from lower interest rates to be used to recruit new
industry and encourage existing industry expansions.

“The bottom line is this will give our state a new avenue for
providing economic development incentives, and that will help us create
more new jobs,” Governor Bentley said.  “The amendment will not raise
the state's debt limit, and it will go a long way in helping us ensure
more economic development for communities across the state.”


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