The Protium Company, a WSU-founded startup that produces novel liquid hydrogen tanks, was featured at the national Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase this week.

The showcase, presented by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Association of American Universities (AAU), highlights companies across the nation that have created products and services using federally funded, university-based research.

“The Protium Company is a great example of how federally-funded research at WSU fuels innovations that not only improve the economy but help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems,” said Chris Keane, WSU’s vice president for research and current chair of the APLU’s Council on Research.  “We are proud to have a WSU-startup featured in this year’s showcase.”

Started in 2015, The Protium Company arose out of the Hydrogen Properties for Energy Research or HYPER lab at WSU where all three of the company’s founders conducted graduate research with WSU Associate Professor Jacob Leachman. Today the company invents and manufactures liquid hydrogen tanks to power clean, affordable, and reliable electric transportation. View The Protium Company’s WSU story on YouTube.

The showcase, which is being held virtually this year from Dec. 7-11, spotlights 22 startup companies from across the nation. It is designed to highlight the important role of federal funding for university-based research in driving entrepreneurship and the American innovation economy. For example, the research behind The Protium Company, was funded by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Department of the Army. The event seeks to involve members of Congress and their staff as well as national leaders in economic development and innovation policy.

“The federal research that public universities undertake is foundational to innovation and economic growth,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Federal investment is a cornerstone to building a more healthy and prosperous society. These startups illustrate the critical importance of federal investment in university-based research.”

The virtual showcase coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act on Dec. 12, which significantly increased and accelerated the transfer of federally funded university discoveries to the marketplace.

“The longstanding and productive partnership between the federal government and America’s leading research universities has not only driven much of the most important scientific, technological and medical advancement of the post-World-War-II era but has also empowered countless entrepreneurs to start companies and even create new industries,” said AAU President Barbara R. Snyder.  “This entrepreneurship has expanded our economy and advanced our health and national security.”

Startups featured in the showcase were chosen by a selection committee who considered the level of student engagement in the startup, the strength of the startup technology and its connection to research. The committee also factored whether the affiliated university had earned APLU’s Innovation & Economic Prosperity University designation, a national recognition for higher education institutions that demonstrate a substantial and sustainable commitment to promoting economic development.