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UC Riverside Awards $250,000 to Accelerate Innovation

Eurosemillas and UC Riverside’s Office of Technology Partnerships fund faculty projects to accelerate technology commercialization.

The Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP) at UC Riverside has awarded $250,000 in grants and expert business mentorship to seven (7) Proof of Concept (POC) faculty recipients to further the development and commercialization of their technologies.  Funding for these projects was provided by Eurosemillas, S.A., a Spain-based leader in the commercialization of agriculture innovations, through a gift provided to UC Riverside under the Eurosemillas Technology Acceleration Program managed by OTP. 

“Supporting technology commercialization at UCR is part of our strategy to broaden our impact as global leaders in innovation, it is a way for our company to give back. We have been collaborating with the University of California system for 30 years and know they have the processes and the team in place to maximize the opportunities for these projects and their innovators to reach the private sector for the benefit of society,” commented Juan Cano Ruano, Eurosemillas founder and president.

“The proof of concept process is an important step to help innovators transition their technologies to the marketplace. Through a combination of individualized mentorship, customer discovery and non diluted funding for technical validation, innovator teams have a better chance of securing a commercial partner or additional funding to translate their technology. Our office is the bridge between academia and industry with a focus on commercialization and economic development. We are grateful to Eurosemillas for its partnership. To date UCR has provided almost $1.7 million in Proof of Concept funding to 49 projects leading to the transfer of 9 technologies," said Rosibel Ochoa, associate vice chancellor of Technology Partnerships at UC Riverside.

Fourteen faculty led teams presented their projects to an external review panel of industry experts and investors. These projects included applications in the biotech, agtech, cleantech, med device and general consumer categories. Each faculty team was supported in the process by an assigned Entrepreneur-in-Residence from OTP.  Over the next year, the awardees will continue working with their assigned Entrepreneur in Residence evaluating the commercial and technical viability of their projects and determining the best path to market.

The seven projects awarded POC funding include:

“GENEWRITE: Genome Engineering with RNA Integrating Targetable Endonucleases,” a technology that will enable new genome editing capabilities in science and medicine by providing the ability to site-specifically insert large genes into any desired location in the genome. The GENEWRITE kit, developed by UCR assistant professor of physics and astronomy Thomas Kuhlman, has commercial applications in medicine and therapeutics, biotech, agriculture, and academic research fields.

“Chronoprint:  a Chemical Analysis Technique that will be translated into a Benchtop Instrument Suitable for Commercial Development,” will detect fraudulent formulations before they reach consumers and affordably deliver desperately needed quality validation throughout Pharma and Food supply/distribution chains. Chronoprint, developed by UCR assistant professor of bioengineering William Grover, has commercial applications in the pharmaceutical and food manufacturing fields.

“Carbon Fixation: an investigation of the Utility of Amino Acid Changes to Improve Carbon Fixation in Plants,” will turn excess atmospheric carbon into a resource that will likely increase photosynthetic output, increase growth in marginal soils, and convert atmospheric CO2 into something that can be leveraged to feed our global population. These tools developed by UCR professor of biochemistry Paul Larsen have commercial applications in agriculture to increase carbon fixation, yield, and food security.

 “Graphene Thermal Interface Materials” will deliver higher values of thermal conductivity at lower filler loading than current commercial thermal interface material, while providing independent control of electrical conductivity and a demonstrated decrease in temperature rise at a low cost. This platform technology developed by UCR distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering Alexander Balandin, has commercial applications in industries that utilize thermal interface materials such as wireless, telecom, power, vehicle control, LEDs, and computers.

“Drop-in silicon-based additives for next-generation Li-ion batteries,” address fundamental limitations in current technology through an additive that boosts battery capacity without changing current production schemes. This technology developed by UCR associate professor for mechanical engineering Lorenzo Mangolini, has commercial applications in batteries, including drones, e-bikes, e-scooters, and the electric vehicle (EV) markets.

“Anion Based Ionic Liquids for the Production of Safer Li Ion batteries,” will provide novel ionic liquid electrolytes that offer significantly improved safety and are compatible with existing battery manufacturing process that can be easily adopted by Li-ion battery manufacturers. Commercial applications for this technology, developed by UCR associate professor of chemistry Vincent Lavallo, include lithium-ion batteries that are used for EV as well as non-EV markets.

“Eco-Route: Environmentally Friendly Driving Navigation tool” determines the route that requires the least amount of fuel and results in an average of 10% fuel savings. Eco-Route, developed by UCR associate research engineer at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology (CE-CERT) Kanok Boriboonsomsin, has commercial applications in navigation, logistics, and transportation markets.

 
About Eurosemillas

Eurosemillas is a Spain-based company that offers new models of sustainable agri-food development. In 2019, Eurosemillas signed a $5 million five-year agreement with UCR that will fund grants to commercialize technology, spur the creation of local technology companies, expand collaborations and research, and increase Eurosemillas’ presence in Southern California.


About the Office of Technology Partnerships

UC Riverside’s Office of Technology Partnerships (OTP) facilitates the development and commercialization of ideas emanating from UCR and the community for the benefit of society. OTP provides faculty, students, and the community with an integrated approach to protect, validate and transfer intellectual property; support corporate collaborations and industry sponsored research; as well obtain entrepreneurial education and start-up development support.