The Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), in collaboration with the School of Medicine, is pleased to announce the new UConn SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund, which is an enhanced version of a previous program administered at UConn Health.
The purpose of the UConn SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund is to support innovative proof-of-concept studies that will facilitate the translation of research discoveries into eventual product commercialization.
All UConn and UConn Health investigators are eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support one-year projects. Visit the SPARK page within the Technology Commercialization area of this website for a detailed program description.
For more information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Two UConn technology startups recently won top prizes in the Social Enterprise Trust, (reSET) annual Impact Challenge. UConn’s MOVIA Robotics was selected for a $10,000 Gold Level prize and Parrot MD for a $5000 Silver Level prize by a distinguished panel of judges that included investors and successful entrepreneurs.
MOVIA Robotics was founded by Tim Gifford a research specialist at the Departments of Psychology and Engineering who co-developed the technology with Anjana Bhat, an Assistant Professor in NEAG. Gifford licensed the technology from UConn to support the company’s innovative approach to educating children with autism and other disabilities.
Parrot MD is a student startup created by recent UConn Business School Health Care Management graduate Steven Graf and Biomedical and Electrical Engineering student Charles Fayal to commercialize a device that promotes medication compliance among illiterate and visually impaired patients. Parrot MD was also a 2015 winner of UConn’s Innovation Quest and is currently participating in the first cohort of UConn’s NFS I-Corps Site, Accelerate UConn, to further its market planning.
Congrats to these committed and successful UConn entrepreneurs!
For more information, contact: Rita Zangari at (860) 486-3010
The Office of the Vice President for Research will be closed for business on Friday, November 27, 2015 including:
- Sponsored Program Services (860-486-3622)
- Research Compliance Services (860-486-8802)
- eRA Help Desk (860-486-7944)
Please contact the appropriate office in advance, should you anticipate a need for assistance.
On behalf of the Office of the Vice President for Research, Happy Thanksgiving!
November 12, 2015
We are very pleased to announce that a new policy is now in place regarding the management and distribution of indirect cost (IDC) return from faculty grants and contracts received for non-research sponsored activities.
As many of you are aware, it has been the practice of the University to return a portion (30%) of the indirect cost return from faculty research grants and contracts to the PI/CoPI, Department Head, and Dean (10%/10%/10%) as a way of investing in the growth and success of the research enterprise. However, for many years the same practice has not been in place for non-research sponsored activities (i.e., instruction, evaluation, education, service, and outreach awards). These non-research sponsored activities are equally important to UConn’s mission and, like sponsored research, reflect the success of the faculty and enhance the reputation of the University. Although non-research sponsored activities have been charged for facilities and administration costs and managed by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the IDCs generated from these awards and contracts have not come to the OVPR. Rather they have gone to the central budget of the University to support essential core activities with no return to the PI/CoPI, Department Head, or Dean, as is the case with sponsored research awards and contracts.
We have agreed on a new plan to transition these dollars into the OVPR in a manner that will allow us to initially provide a 10% IDC return from sponsored educational, service, and outreach activities. The Deans of each school/college will determine the distribution of these dollars. It is our goal, as non-research sponsored program activities increase, to ultimately provide a 30% return to the PI/CoPI, Department Heads, and Deans (10%/10%/10%), but unfortunately that cannot happen immediately.
This change in policy concerning non-research IDC distribution is effective as of July 1, 2015 (i.e. the start of FY16). Non-research IDC generated in FY16 will be distributed to accounts in the fall of 2016 (FY17) in a distribution specified by each Dean.
Please let us know if you have any questions.
In the past three years, the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) has established two research advisory councils that have played a key role in setting goals for the future of research, scholarship, and creative achievement at the University of Connecticut. The OVPR would like to take this opportunity to make the University community aware of the councils’ accomplishments and to thank the members for their committed service.
Research Advisory Council & Research Deans Council
The Research Advisory Council (RAC) and Research Deans Council (RDC) were established in July 2013, and have already had a significant impact on the direction of UConn’s research enterprise. The RAC is composed of faculty representatives from every school and college, including those at UConn Health. The same can be said of the RDC, although membership is comprised of associate deans for research. The two distinct groups allow for frank discussion amongst peers that are representative of UConn’s research community as a whole.
“Our goal in creating the RAC and RDC was to provide an opportunity for conversation directly with both faculty and their deans that would lead to creative ideas and initiatives in order to advance UConn’s research agenda collaboratively,” said Associate Vice President for Research Administration and Finance, Dr. Michelle Williams. “This is a place where faculty and administrators can find solutions that will benefit both research and scholarship at UConn.”
Even in their short tenure, these groups of dedicated faculty and associate deans have accomplished a great deal. For instance, the RAC and RDC were responsible for revitalizing the Research Excellence Program (REP), formerly known as the Faculty Large Grants Program, which had been largely unchanged for 27 years. A similar program, the REP-UCH, has since been established at UConn Health, due in part to feedback from the two councils.
RAC and RDC members also provided invaluable guidance to the OVPR on new initiatives such as the change in policy concerning graduate assistant tuition on grants, the FY16 fringe rate assistance program, and faculty grant writing workshops, to name a few.
“These councils aren’t just a forum for casual discussion,” said current RAC Chair, Dr. Dennis Wright. “They have a tangible impact on research and scholarship for all departments and disciplines at UConn, and that shows us that someone is listening.”
The Office of the Vice President for Research continues to listen to the constructive, creative insights provided by the RAC and RDC, and hopes to build upon the councils’ many accomplishments in coming years. Faculty are encouraged to contact members of the RAC and RDC to bring forth issues they would like discussed at future meetings.
“Getting faculty input and direction is of critical importance to advancing research and scholarship at UConn,” said Vice President for Research, Dr. Jeff Seemann. “I’m confident that working in collaboration with these diverse advisory committees will continue to yield substantive, positive results for the entire UConn community.”
Connecticut-based medical device startup, Biorasis, was recently awarded the MassChallenge’s top prize at their annual awards ceremony. The company was one of only four “Diamond Winners,” receiving a cash prize of $100,000. They were also one of two teams to receive the Sidecar Award, providing an additional $200,000 in non-dilutive funding.
The technology developed by Biorasis, the GlucowizzardTM, is an ultra-small implantable biosensor for continuous, reliable glucose monitoring. This needle-implantable device wirelessly transmits glucose levels to a watch-like unit for real-time display, which in turn communicates with personal digital accessories like a smartphone. The device measures only 0.5 x 0.5 mm and vastly improves the quality of life for patients with diabetes. It eliminates the need for surgical sensor implantation and extraction, restores active lifestyle, and enables remote care for young people and the elderly. The technology can also function effectively for 3-6 months without user intervention and saves between 50-70% in annual healthcare costs.
“We’re thrilled with our experience at MassChallenge, and are grateful to have received such a clear vote of confidence from the organization about the quality and potential impact of our technology,” said Co-Founders Faquir Jain and Fotios Papadimitrakopoulos, UConn Professors of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Chemistry/Institute of Materials Science, respectively.
The world’s biggest startup accelerator, MassChallenge accepts only 128 startups out of over 2,000 that apply each year to participate in the non-profit organization’s four-month program. During their time at the accelerator, startups receive educational programing and mentorship to advance their early-stage ventures. Since 2010, startups accelerated by MassChallenge have raised $1.1 billion in funding, generated $520 million in revenue and created 6,500 jobs.
Biorasis plans to build on this momentum.
According to Biorasis’ Chief Operation Officer, Dr. IIze Krisst, the next step for Biorasis is to develop the animal data needed to allow for clinical trials and FDA approval. “This recognition by MassChallenge provides external validation of our product concept and its value to patients,” she said.
R&D facilities for Biorasis are currently housed in the University of Connecticut Technology Incubation Program in Storrs.
I am pleased to provide you with the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) Quarterly Summary of Sponsored Program Services Activity and the Quarterly List of Sponsored Program Services Awards for the first quarter of FY16. These reports include data regarding Proposals, Awards and Expenditures for both research and non-research sponsored projects at Storrs and UConn Health. Data is presented in two ways: by the PI’s Academic Home Department and by the Managing Department or Center/Institute. This information is provided to you by the OVPR on a quarterly basis throughout the Fiscal Year. Please refer to the first pages of the reports for definitions/information regarding the data.
We continue to see encouraging growth in research activity at UConn. For instance, proposal submissions increased 24% and expenditures were up 7% in the first quarter of FY16 as compared with the same quarter last year.
Should you have any questions regarding these quarterly reports, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr. Jeff Seemann
Vice President for Research