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$500,000 NSF Grant Supports Rutgers’ Innovation

Continuing to pave the way in innovation, Rutgers is launching a new program to bridge the gap between the lab and marketplace.

Materials Science and Engineering Professor Dunbar Birnie recently received a $500,000 grant to support Rutgers' inventions for the next five years through the NSF I-Corps program. According to the NSF, the I-Corps program works to bring research projects to the marketplace, thereby fostering a national ecosystem of innovation.

“Our program is aimed very broadly to help Rutgers students and faculty take their innovations and help them move toward commercialization,” said Birnie, whose research interests revolve around solar technology.

Birnie is working in collaboration with the Rutgers Office of Research Commercialization, Rutgers Business School, and Rutgers Entrepreneurship Coalition to nurture Rutgers’ inventions through a Rutgers’ NSF I-Corps Site. 

The NSF has established dozens of I-Corps Sites across the country to provide the infrastructure and resources groups need to prepare their work for commercialization.

“The real impact—we hope—will be in new technologies, new jobs, and where Rutgers will be known as the place where these new technologies arose.”

Rutgers funds over $600 million in research per year, which generates over 150 patents and more than $15 million in licensing income annually. Project leaders hope that the program will help to successfully transition research outcomes to the commercialization stage.

Birnie said that since the program is just getting underway, there are no specific innovations to report yet.

“We are targeting inventive Rutgers students and faculty far and wide,” he said.

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