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Innovation Strategy program awards $4 million to four research and teaching initiatives

From staff reports | Feb 25, 2016

Ohio University’s Innovation Strategy program has awarded $4 million to four faculty and staff teams for new research and teaching initiatives focused on the shale industry, osteoporosis diagnosis, immersive media and instructional innovation.

The institution launched the Innovation Strategy in 2014, with a Request for Proposals issued the following year, to advance innovation in research, scholarship, creative activity, teaching and institutional operations at Ohio University. Up to $5 million has been allocated for major awards and planning or seed grants that can help teams develop their concepts further for future internal or external funding.

The proposals for the major funding awards were subject to a rigorous internal and external review process.

“The four teams selected for major funding awards this winter advanced truly innovative approaches to grappling with problems in healthcare, energy production and policy, advanced communication modalities and student learning,” said Joseph Shields, vice president for research and creative activity and dean of the Graduate College. “They successfully harnessed interdisciplinary expertise from across the institution to develop novel strategies for their research and education initiatives.”

In each case, the awards are for multiple years of funding, dispersed in installments and contingent on the teams meeting intermediary milestones.

The four teams to receive major Innovation Strategy awards are:

“Innovative Strategies for Diagnosis of Osteoporosis and Prevention of Fractures"

Description: The team has identified two new technologies that may prevent bone fractures by improving the diagnosis of osteoporosis. The faculty and staff plan to develop a new medical device and novel medical software and commercialize the innovations for clinical use. Current methods for diagnosis of osteoporosis may lead physicians to prescribe preventive care for many patients who do not need it, and also may not identify patients who could benefit from interventions.

Award: $875,000

Team: Brian Clark (PI) and Laura Rush, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine; Robert Silva, Technology Transfer Office; Anne Loucks and Lyn Bowman, College of Arts and Sciences; Jianchao Zhu, Jundong Liu and John Cotton, Russ College of Engineering and Technology; Gary Chleboun and Betty Sindelar, College of Health Sciences and Professions; and Michele Migliuolo and Lee Groeschel, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

“Immersive Media Initiative”

Description: This initiative will develop an innovative student education and workforce training program by providing technology, facilities, curriculum and active learning opportunities that encourage students to become leaders in the future immersive media job markets that use virtual and augmented reality. The initiative’s proposed state-of-the-art production facility and development of multi-disciplinary projects across the university will offer students real-world experiences in immersive media research and creative work.

Award: $878,000

Team: John Bowditch (PI), Lynn Harter, Brian Plow, Eric Williams, Josh Antonuccio, Tyler Ayres, Rebecca Schmehl and Thomas Hodson, Scripps College of Communication; Jennifer Simon, Innovation Center; Christopher France, College of Arts and Sciences; David Moore, Patton College of Education; Michael Braasch, Russ College of Engineering and Technology; Deborah Henderson, Sherleena Buchman, Cathy Baker and James Thomas, College of Health Sciences and Professions; Todd Fredricks, Nancy Stevens and Samuel Leitkam, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine; and Petra Williams, Northern Arizona University.

“Preventing a Bust: Innovations for Sustainable & Enhanced Economic Outcomes from Shale”

Description: This initiative proposes to increase regional economic development and wealth, enhance energy security and mitigate the societal and pollution-related impacts of the pending shale industry “bust.” Team members will integrate their expertise in economic and public policy, fluid and solid mechanics, air and gas monitoring and modeling, electrochemistry and thermal and corrosion sciences to mitigate the impact of resource extraction industries on Appalachia.

Award: $1.3 million

Team: David Bayless (PI), Kevin Crist, Srdjan Nesic, Marc Singer and Toufiq Reza, Russ College of Engineering and Technology; Daniel Karney, College of Arts and Sciences; Scott Miller, Elissa Welch and Michael Zimmer, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs;  Jack Lewnard, Chesapeake Utilities Corporation; and Boujun Bai, Missouri University of Science and Technology.

“Academic Innovation Accelerator”

Description: The accelerator will empower faculty to pursue appropriately designed and evaluated pilot projects in academic innovation that will enhance both the quality and reach of an Ohio University education. The project is modeled after accelerators that serve entrepreneurs by providing services, expert advice and financial support for ideas during their early-stage development. The accelerator will provide these resources for promising academic innovations that include a pathway to sustainability.

Award: $924,000

Team: Bradley Cohen (PI), Provost’s Office; Linda Rice, College of Arts and Sciences; Raymond Frost, College of Business; Angela Hosek, Scripps College of Communication; David Moore, Patton College of Education; Gregory Kremer, Russ College of Engineering and Technology, William Condee, College of Fine Arts; Sally Marinellie, College of Health Sciences and Professions; and Derek Kauneckis, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs.

The Innovation Strategy program originally received 60 letters of intent and 49 pre-proposals for funding. During fall 2015, the university selected 12 of those pre-proposal teams as eligible to apply for major awards at the level of a million dollars or more each. Eleven teams chose to submit proposals.

The seven teams that were not selected have been invited to submit requests for seed funding grants of up to $50,000 each.

During the pre-proposal funding review cycle, the university also identified applicants eligible for planning grants to pursue pilot studies or additional activities to advance their concepts. In January, it awarded five faculty and staff teams grants of up to $20,000 each.

Both the planning grants and seed grants are designed to allow select teams to develop their initiatives further and to make the teams competitive for future rounds of major Innovation Strategy funding or other internal or external award programs.

For more information about the Innovation Strategy, visit www.ohio.edu/research/innovationstrategy.cfm.