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UConn garners bulk of Yankee Ingenuity awards
August 31, 1998
The University has received nearly $1 million from the state's Yankee Ingenuity Initiative for its work with Connecticut companies to develop emerging high technology.
Connecticut Innovations Inc., a quasi-state agency that helps foster technology transfer from universities to commercial applications, announced the grants last month, saying UConn's partnership with six companies were great investments in the state's future. The grants are awarded every year.
"This year's winning projects were selected because of their strong potential to yield products or processes that will contribute to long-term economic growth in Connecticut," said Victor R. Budnick, president and executive director of Connecticut Innovations Inc.
Robert V. Smith, vice provost for research and graduate education, said he was delighted with the results of this year's competition for the grants.
"The Yankee grants are helping the University foster critical corporate partnerships of great benefit to the Connecticut citizenry," he said. "The development and transfer of University technology - from ornamental plants to value-added fin fish to materials with unique optical properties - add value to our economy in terms of high-paying jobs and economic growth."
UConn received six out of the seven grants awarded for research including a project involving Tom Hoagland of animal sciences with Alexion Pharmaceuticals Inc. of New Haven to genetically engineer pigs. The process is intended to reduce the chance of organ rejection when organs are transplanted into humans.
Robert Weiss of chemical engineering has a project with the Rogers Corp. of Rogers, near Dayville, to develop foam to dissolve reactants and transport them to previously unreachable locations within a material..
Tom Chen, director of the Biotechnology Center, is working with Connecticut Aquaculture Inc. of Willimantic and Sea Free Fish Co. of North Grosvenordale to produce transgenic fish capable of converting the cheap carotenoid supplied in feed into expensive and highly nutritious carotenoid in fish flesh, thereby increasing the commercial value of fish flesh..
Working with E-Lite Technologies Inc. of Stratford, Faquir Jain of electrical and systems engineering is developing faster and brighter lamps for flat panel displays such as billboards and hand-held displays.
Gerald Berkowitz, Carol Auer and Mark Brand of plant science are working with Imperial Nurseries Inc. of Granby to incorporate a disease-resistant gene into a commercially viable rhododendron.
Mark Bridgen, plant science professor and head of the Plant Bio-technology Facility, develops innovative plant production technologies and is micropropagating new ornamental horticultural plants with Sunny Border Nursery Inc. of Kensington, Clark's Greenhouse & Nursery of Salem, Just for Starters of Eastford, and Imperial Nurseries Inc. of Granby.
Mark Appelberg, vice president of E-Lite Technologies, said he was pleased with the funding. "Once again, the partnership between industry and academia has created the opportunity for a very successful commercialization of a proprietary product," he said. "We would not be able to achieve the level of equipment sophistication without the help of the University of Connecticut."