Eight Purdue researchers receive $470,000 to strengthen the marketplace appeal of their work


Rahim Rahimi’s flexible biodegradable microneedle array contains calcium peroxide. The microneedles pierce the biofilm layer of a wound and deliver the medicine to oxygenate the tissue and effectively eradicate biofilm infections on the wound. Rahimi, an assistant professor of materials engineering, received $89,604 from Purdue University’s Proof of Concept Fund to develop this work. (Purdue University photo/Vincent Walter)

Trask Innovation Fund, Proof of Concept Fund finance projects to improve food packaging, antibacterial therapeutics, machine learning and battery technology

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Creating groundbreaking inventions to improve lives requires more than an idea: It needs research and development, which involves funding. Two Purdue University funds are helping researchers take those R&D steps.

Eight Purdue University researchers have received more than $470,000 from the Trask Innovation Fund and Proof of Concept Fund to make their work more attractive for commercial use. Both funds are managed by the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.

“Researchers face a gap between creating their technology and advancing it to the point that it is ready to be licensed and brought to market. Researchers need funding to bridge that ‘valley of death,’” said Brooke Beier, senior vice president of commercialization for Purdue Research Foundation. “PRF recognizes the importance of funding to translate research into products that are viable for startups and industry. These programs are two examples of helping Purdue technologies advance toward commercialization.”

The Proof of Concept Fund was established in 2021; this is its first round of funding. It invests up to $100,000 in select Purdue technologies for commercialization-directed research or related projects. Industry leaders are involved in the selection, design and oversight of the funded projects.

“This engagement of industry professionals reflects the Proof of Concept Fund’s objective to fund work that will substantially improve the probability of a startup company being investible or a license with an existing company being executed,” said Abhijit Karve, director of business development for the Office of Technology Commercialization.

Proof of Concept Fund recipients, their college, project title and total award amount are:

The Trask Innovation Fund awards up to $50,000 to support short-term projects that enhance the commercial value of Purdue’s intellectual property. Trask Innovation Fund recipients, their project and award amount are:

These and other inventions created by Purdue researchers across all academic disciplines and campuses are available for further development and licensing. Contact otcip@prf.org for more information.

The application deadline for the next round of Trask Innovation Fund awards is Sept. 23.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university’s academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office recently moved into the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2020, the office reported 148 deals finalized with 225 technologies signed, 408 disclosures received and 180 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact otcip@prf.org for more information.

About Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at http://stories.purdue.edu.

Writer: Steve Martin, sgmartin@prf.org

Source: Abhijit Karve, aakarve@prf.org