The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Research Foundation (UWMRF) announced the award of $435,000 in new Catalyst Grants with support from the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation and the Richard and Ethel Herzfeld Foundation.
The funding seeds six new research projects, such as new materials for biosensors, a novel method for water softening that eliminates the use of salt, and technology for more efficient, less expensive solar cells. In addition, two smaller amounts were awarded to help projects further along the commercialization continuum.
The Catalyst Grant Program invests in promising early-stage research at UWM, fostering commercialization of new technology. Catalyst Grants fall into two categories: those supported by the Bradley and Herzfeld foundations, and those supported by Rockwell Automation, which focus on advanced automation research.
This round of grant awards brings the total amount awarded through the Catalyst Grant Program to nearly $2.7 million. Outcomes to date include:
- Three license agreements completed, two of them for startup companies based on UWM research.
- 65 invention disclosures related to the program.
- 19 patent applications and two issued or allowed patents.
- Nearly $5 million in additional investment in UWM technology through external grants and corporate investments.
The following new research projects were funded this round:
Junhong Chen, associate professor, mechanical engineering,
Biosensors Based on Graphene Nanomaterials
Zhen He, assistant professor, civil engineering and mechanics,
Novel Enzymatic Water Softening Method
Changsoo Kim, assistant professor, materials engineering,
Design of New Medical Device Coatings
Adel Nasiri, associate professor, electrical engineering and computer science,
Power Electronics for Integrating Wind Turbines with Power Grid
Shangping Xu, assistant professor, geosciences,
Water Purification System Using Modified Zeolite
Chris Yuan, assistant professor, mechanical engineering,
New Low-Cost Solar Cell Technology
“Gap fund” awards were given to previous grant winners whose later-stage projects could benefit from additional support to realize commercial potential. Gap fund awards went to Peter Geissinger, associate professor, chemistry, and Ching-Hong Yang, associate professor, biological sciences.
“We believe that this program enhances UWM’s ability to attract and retain high-caliber researchers and students, while expanding UWM’s role in the economic development of the region,” said Michael W. Grebe, president and CEO of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation.
“Through our longstanding alliance with the Bradley Foundation and strategic support from the Herzfeld Foundation, UWM is advancing its research capacity,” said UWM Chancellor Michael R. Lovell. “Because of the foundations’ generosity, projects are closer to benefiting Wisconsin’s economy.”