Ten research projects with high market potential received the Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF) awarded by the Office of Commercialization (OC). The OC provides researchers up to $50,000 via the CGF to booster their ability to make an economic impact on our society.
The CGF program is aligned with Washington State University’s mission and commitment to its land-grant legacy and tradition of service to society. The transfer of technologies to commercial entities allows valuable knowledge to be applied through local and global engagement. This knowledge has the potential to improve lives and enhance the economies of Washington State, the nation, and the world. The goal of the program is to support projects that have a high likelihood of commercialization but are not likely to get there without gap funding.
The CGF is intended to be the final funding step for near market-ready technologies in the areas of clean tech, engineering, human and animal health, and agricultural and/or information technologies. The Office of Commercialization works closely with the awardees and provides support to ensure their projects are reaching the desired milestones and moving toward a commercially viable product.
The CGF has awarded more than $2.2 million in funding to 52 projects since 2014. These projects include technologies with 27 issued patents, 34 provisional patents filed, two trademarks filed, and four copyrights filed. Additionally, 17 of the technologies have signed licensing deals with outside companies and 13 start-up companies have been formed. The gap funding support resulted in $11.7 million follow-on funding for these technologies.
The 2020 CGF awardees and their project titles are:
“CornBot – Virtual Assistant for African farmers”
“Sequential Hydrothermal Extraction: An innovative technology for recovering valuable bioactive compounds to repurpose and valorize potato peels”
“A machine-learning platform to predict hearing toxicity during drug development”
“Foamed Drywall Waste Panels (FDWP): A novel fire protective insulation made from gypsum dry waste”
“A novel approach to non-invasive pupillometry screening for ASD”
“Colorimetric freshness sensor in milk packaging”
“Single-atom nanozyme enhanced point-of-care biosensors”
“Advancing the commercialization of DRZ subsurface irrigation device”
“Cellulose foams for high-performance insulation”
To apply to the Office of Commercialization’s Gap Fund program, applicants must submit a letter of intent and a pre-proposal. An internal committee selects the top pre-proposals. The top applicants are then invited to present in front of an external committee. Individual awards of up to $50,000 are given. Funds are available to clarify market needs, refine a value proposition, and decrease technical risk through prototyping.