University receives research funding boost

Jackie Mantey

In response to the Board of Regents Economic Growth Challenge / Innovation Incentive Program, Kent State has designed a plan to expand liquid crystals and bioscience and biotechnology research.

As a part of the program, the university will be expected to spend 1.5 percent of its annual funding on the chosen programs for 10 years, said Provost Paul Gaston. The state will then match the funds.

The university chose the doctoral programs based on criteria of productivity, quality and cohesion with Gov. Bob Taft’s 2002 Third Frontier Project, which was created to attract more research to Ohio, stimulating economic growth and additional capital.

Those programs include:

• Bioscience and biotechnology that closely align with Kent State’s partnership with Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine, or NEOUCOM. These programs have previously secured support to have a 3-D immersive visualization facility and a biohazard training lab, said John West, vice president for research and dean of graduate studies. They also have produced new biosensor technology that has created two start-up companies in the region.

• Liquid crystal research at the Liquid Crystal Institute. LCI faculty perform research in the field and patent marketable technology. Researchers are currently working on designing and marketing flexible displays – a technology that has the functions of a computer, but is as flexible as a piece of paper.

The key initiative in Ohio lies in the Liquid Crystal Institute and the production of flexible displays, West said at a Board of Trustees meeting.

“This is the first market in the world for flexible displays,” he said. “Northeast Ohio is the logical place for the industry to rest.”

According to the Board of Regents, the principle is that science and technology doctoral programs are critical for the future of Ohio’s economy.

“The programs, such as the two we have identified, attract research funding from outside of Ohio and stimulate discovery, which translates into consumer products and industry innovations, as well as health and other benefits to the public,” West said.

Contact Editor Jackie Mantey at [email protected].