Monday, February 18, 2013

NC State Can ASSIST Triangle Entrepreneurs

NC State University researchers are leading colleagues across the country and around the world to use nanotechnology to improve health by enabling correlations between personal health and personal environment. At the same time, new technology will empower patients and doctors to manage wellness and improve quality of life.

Ahead of the CED Life Science Conference 2013, occurring on February 27-28, 2013, we've asked an expert at NC State, Veena Misra, a few questions on nanotechnology and the research occurring at one of the universities in our own backyard. 

Misra is the director of The Nanosystems Engineering Research Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies. It's a long title, and is better known as ASSIST. According to Misra, the ASSIST Center will develop and employ nano-enabled energy harvesting, energy storage, nanodevices and sensors to create innovative battery-free, body-powered, and wearable health monitoring systems.

Triangle-area life science entrepreneurs are vital to the growth of the local life science industry, said Misra, and in particular, "to the success of the ASSIST program." 

We've asked her to answer a few questions about how ASSIST will work with entrepreneurs to develop the next generation of life science innovations. 

CED: What types of companies are you seeking as partners?  
What companies would be a good fit? 

Misra: The center builds upon the synergy of health and environmental research and nanotechnology, all with the goal of improving personal health and communities. Thus, we seek partnerships with companies in a broad range of technologies. For example, we will work with companies focusing on energy harvesting and storage, semiconductor chips, wireless communication, health and environmental sensors, and flexible packaging.

CED: Do you have opportunities for small startups with limited budgets?

Misra: We are very interested in smaller companies since they are often the early adopters of emerging technologies. Hence, we will provide opportunities for these small startups to work with our faculty and students. Affiliate memberships start at just $2,000 per year.  Those companies have access to all nonproprietary information, options to directly sponsor research and priority access to work with student interns.  

CED: In addition to memberships, how does ASSIST receive operational funding?

Misra: ASSIST is funded by the National Science Foundation, which has very few engineering research centers (ERCs) around the nation. NC State University is the only university with lead role for two NSF ERCs. The other is the FREEDM Center that is working on smart grid research. Both are on Centennial Campus.

CED: How will ASSIST help entrepreneurs move their products toward the marketplace? 

Misra: There is an amazing opportunity to network with university researchers and partners from across the business spectrum, including venture capitalists. ASSIST also provides innovation assistance for partners working toward and/or with key federal funding programs such as SBIR and STTR.

CED: Will you be attending the CED Life Science Conference 2013?

Misra: Yes, we will be on-site at the Raleigh Convention Center on February 27 and 28. We've registered for partnering sessions, and encourage any entrepreneur interested in ASSIST to schedule a meeting with us. In addition, NC State will also have Jaideep Rajput of the Office of Technology Transfer attending the conference and participating in the partnering meetings. 

Meet Misra and Rajput at the CED Life Science Conference 2013. Partnering sessions are now being scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. The Pre-Registration Deadline is Monday, February 25, 2013, so act now and register early (you'll save up to $100, too). 

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