University partnership promotes mutual tech growth

Rick Pongonis

A partnership between Kent State and Cleveland State University will allow both institutions to create innovative technology to test and eventually put on the market.

“It allows us to take university owned intellectual property, specifically patents, and test the technology (and) build prototypes to find out if they are going to work,” said Stephen Roberts, director of technology research and commercialization at Kent State.

This partnership started when Ohio Third Frontier Commission awarded Kent State and Cleveland State a grant to develop an $800,000 joint technology commercialization and start-up fund that will aid in bringing new products to the market.

“The (Ohio) Third Frontier (Commission) fund obtained proposals from research institution for technology validation and start-up funds,” Roberts said.

This program is called the TeCK Fund and will accept applications from faculty members investigating opportunities to commercialize research and link university researchers to potential business partners.

Roberts said the reason Kent State chose to partner with Cleveland State because they are a good pair that complement one another.

“While we have the science of liquid crystal, we don’t have the engineering expertise to help bring some of these ideas to market,” Roberts said. “I thought that Cleveland State’s engineering program was a really nice complement to what we have.”

This partnership is intended to help each university determine whether its idea has potential.

“If an inventor at Kent State or Cleveland State has an idea for a novel invention, we patent it and then the question is whether it will work and if there is a market for the product,” Roberts said.

Roberts feels that this partnership with Cleveland State makes technology development easier and more efficient as a joint effort.

“I felt that we were stronger together than either one of us would have been by ourselves,” he said.

Rick Pongonis is the university tech reporter, contact him at [email protected]