In case you missed it, I’m pleased to report that Kent’s Alpha Micron was awarded $5 million in the most recent round of Ohio Third Frontier grants for continued product development of their liquid crystal technology. This is just another reason why Alpha Micron has been Kent State’s and the City of Kent’s poster child for technological research commercialization. The City worked hard to find Alpha Micron a research and development site in Kent 5 years ago and with this recent grant award I’m sure we’ll be working hard to find them a new site to grow into. Maybe I’m oversimplifying economic development strategizing but I have always found that when you have a company that is as successful as Alpha Micron you hitch your wagon to them and do everything you can to help them grow their business. It looks like the State of Ohio sees the same thing we do in Alpha Micron and they’ve rewarded them with the largest single grant in the state. Now that says something.
The old saying was it takes a village to raise a child and I guess you could say it takes bold acts by a City and a University to parent a new company in an entirely new field. Investing in Alpha Micron in their formative years was a bit of a roll of a dice but the University made the research possible and the City has helped make the business possible — and as a result Alpha Micron is creating a new industry in our own backyard.
The grant announcement will enable Alpha Micron to evolve their business to the next level. They’ve been largely an R&D firm but now it looks like they’ll be able to combine their R&D talents with light manufacturing and product development. That’s exciting news for Alpha Micron, Kent State University, and Kent as it holds the potential to be a catalyst for a whole new cluster of technology firms. And those tech firms hire employees who need places to live, eat and be entertained. All of which bodes well for Kent’s future.
It’s great when early investment gambles pay off and in this case Kent’s speculative support for Alpha Micron is paying off big time.
NE Ohio reaps Third Frontier grants
By CHUCK SODER
12:44 pm, June 27, 2008
The state of Ohio on Thursday awarded $66.8 million in Third Frontier grants aimed at promoting the development and commercialization of technology within the state.
About half of that money went to projects led by institutions in Cuyahoga, Portage and Summit counties.
The awards were recommended by the Ohio Third Frontier Commission, which oversees the 10-year, $1.6 billion program aimed at promoting economic development in Ohio through technology. The awards still must be OK’d by the State Controlling Board, which typically approves them.
Money was awarded for nine projects led by the following companies and institutions from Cuyahoga, Portage and Summit counties:
AlphaMicron Inc. of Kent: $5 million to commercialize technology that can change the color of eyewear using liquid crystals. Collaborators are NASA Glenn Research Center, Kent State University and Sekisui Chemical Co.
ReXorce Thermionics Inc. of Akron: $4.3 million to develop technology to capture waste heat and convert it into usable electricity. Collaborators are Parker Hannifin Corp., Case Western Reserve University, University of Akron, Carbide Derivative Technologies Inc. and Advanced Diamond Technologies Inc.
The Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute: $2.1 million to develop an above-the-knee prosthetic limb for injured soldiers. The technology would use fluids that change viscosity when they receive an electrical charge, plus a spring, sensors and a control system, to allow the injured soldier to walk more normally. Collaborators are Ohio Willow Wood and Cleveland State University.
The Cleveland Clinic’s Clinical Tissue Engineering Center: $4.9 million to expand its network and programs beyond applications in the areas of burn and scar care, wound healing and nerve repair. Collaborators are Akron General Medical Center, Case, University of Akron and University of Cincinnati
The Cleveland Clinic: nearly $3.8 million to develop a nitric oxide sensor that will enable asthma patients to monitor their asthma at home. Collaborators are NASA Glenn Research Center, Ohio State University, CWRU and Makel Engineering Inc.
The Cleveland Clinic: $3 million to develop small molecules that can enhance repair of the brain in multiple sclerosis with the goal not only of delaying progression of disability but reversing it. Collaborators are Case and the University of Toledo.
Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy of Rootstown: $3 million to research and commercialize an instrument that uses liquid crystal technology to detect pathogens in water. Collaborators are Pathogen Systems Inc. and Kent State University.
Case Western Reserve University: $3.9 million to develop and commercialize technologies for the treatment and detection of various illnesses. Collaborators are Copernicus Therapeutics Inc. and Polgenix Inc.
Case Western Reserve University: $3 million to create the new Case Center for Surface Engineering. The project will promote commercialization of a variety of industrial products through surface engineering. Collaborators are 15 other companies and organizations.
The university also is collaborating on a Third Frontier project led by Diagnostic Hybrids Inc. of Athens, which was recommended to receive $5 million to further develop a yeast-based cloning system that would be used for viral diagnostics and treatment monitoring.
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