FAMU beats Harvard in prestigious National Science Foundation competition

Atlanta —A Florida A & M University research team won first place in the prestigious National Science Foundation Innovation Corps Atlanta completion. The NSF I-Corps program underwrites research designed to encourage entrepreneurship and the commercialization of the technological discoveries.

Getting scientists out of the laboratory and enabling them to market their innovations and resulting intellectual property are a top priority of Timothy E. Moore, Ph.D., Vice President for Research. “Florida A&M University’s research enterprise effectively touches every aspect of our lives – regardless of where it originates in our University.

The FAMU team, led by Professor Y. “Ping” Hsieh, (Ph.D), housed in the FAMU Center for Water and Air Quality within the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, competed against 20 teams from the eastern US, including Harvard University, to take the top spot. The project was entitled “Multi-Element Scanning Thermal Analysis” (MESTA).

The MESTA technology is designed to analyze and characterize the thermochemical properties of a wide variety of compounds. One potential application includes the examination of high energetic materials like petroleum, biofuels, coal and shale oil to rapidly assess the quality of the resulting oil products derived from the starting source. MESTA is intended to replace more expensive and the limited availability of currently used technologies like NMR.

All of the competing teams are immersed in all aspects of entrepreneurship, including the successful launch of discoveries through valid technology transfer pathways. Startups founded by the I-Corp teams are usually the vehicle for commercialization. Those successful projects are prepared for business formation, and the NSF works with the private sector to identify potential resources and partnerships.

“FAMU is exceptionally fortunate to have researchers such as Dr. Hsieh, who is dedicated to improving the human condition through their research,” according to Moore.

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