FY 2019 Commercialization Gap Fund awardees

The Office of Commercialization has chosen eight research projects with high commercialization potential to receive awards of up to $50,000 through the Commercialization Gap Fund for 2019. The funding was awarded to faculty from diverse fields including agriculture, engineering, human health and veterinary medicine.

The Washington State University Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF) was re-established in 2014 with a generous donation from the Washington Research Foundation to support projects over a two-year period. This gift was matched by internal funding supported by the WSU Offices of the President, Provost, and the Vice President for Research. The goal of the program is to support projects that have a high chance of being commercialized but are not likely to get there without gap funding.

These awards are intended to be the final funding step to advance innovations from the lab to the marketplace. The OC works closely with the awardees and provides support throughout the year to ensure the projects are reaching milestones and moving toward a commercially viable product. Since the CGF’s re-establishment in 2014, a total of over $2 million has funded 48 projects. These projects include technologies with nine issued patents, 12 provisional patents filed, two trademarks filed, and one copyright filed. Additionally, 20 of the technologies have signed licensing deals with outside companies and 11 start-up companies have been formed. The gap funding support resulted in $5.2 million follow-on funding for these technologies.

The awardees and their project titles for FY 2019 are:

  • Roberta O’Connor, “Tartrolon E: a marine natural product with broad anti-parasitic activity”
  • Yuehe Lin, “Low Cost and High Performance Transition-Metal-Based Electrocatalysts for Water Splitting”
  • Subhanshu Gupta, “SpICa: Wideband Spatial Interference Cancellation Techniques for Next-Generation Communication Systems”
  • Somayeh Nassiri, “3-in-1 wireless sensor for durable and strong concrete”
  • Xiao Zhang, “Plant based dispersion for fruit tree frost protection”
  • David Drake, “Drywall Waste Blocks: A Recycled Composite Material Using Gypsum Wallboard and Other Waste Materials and Related Methods”
  • Deuk Heo, “Mutil-Octave Frequency Tunable 5G mm-Wave Transceiver Sub-Blocks Enabled by Novel Mode- Switching Reactive Elements”
  • Robert Keegan, “Development and testing of manikin enhancements for integration with the Stage III Simulation Environment.”

The OC accepts gap fund proposals every year, beginning with a letter of intent and pre-proposal submission process, which are reviewed by an internal committee. Top proposals are then invited to submit full proposals in front of an external committee. Individual awards of up to $50,000 are given. Funds are available to clarify market needs, refine a value proposition, and decrease technical risk through prototyping.