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Two ODU Researchers Each Receive $100,000 to Help Bring Projects to Market

By Amy Matzke-Fawcett

Two Old Dominion University researchers have received awards from a statewide competition focused on bringing useful and interesting research to market.

Sachin Shetty, associate professor in the Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center, and Hani Elsayed-Ali, Batten Endowed Professor and Eminent Scholar in electrical and computer engineering, were awarded $100,000 apiece for their projects through the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF).

The fund supports technology research and commercialization across the state in academia, private business and nonprofit research, according to the parent organization, the Center for Innovative Technology.

Each grant furthers research at ODU, and helps continue investigation and technical phases into the commercialization process.

A cybersecurity project, headed by Shetty, will take a cyber risk and mitigation tool, developed at the University to prevent cyber-attacks, and test it in the Sentara Healthcare system.

"Most of the time this research is conducted in a lab," Shetty said. "This gives us a chance to investigate it in real-world conditions."

It also allows students to experience how research is conducted in their field and to see its impacts, Shetty said.

The project headed by Elsayed-Ali involves developing a transparent coating for solar panels that will allow them to be lighter in color and more adaptable, while still allowing for maximum capacity. The nanoparticles developed in the process will have other commercial uses.

Along with Elsayed-Ali, the co-principal investigator on the grant is Baja Ramjee, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry.

The project will also receive matching funds from Evergreen, allowing for more work.

The CRCF Matching Funds Program limits eligible institutions to four applications, so when ODU has more than four faculty members who are interested, the ODU director of research development, Jackie Stein, conducts a limited submissions competition to select the most competitive applications.

Khaled Abul-Hassan, director of innovations commercialization at ODU, has developed a unique internal screening process for the CRCF, one that aligns directly with the requirements of the award: Once selected as an applicant, an ODU faculty member works closely with Abul-Hassan to create a strong CRCF proposal with the capacity to accelerate innovation in Virginia's technology research and commercialization.

"Support from the Office of Research can help faculty members position themselves for funding success - while the ideas come from our faculty innovators, we can help with grant strategy and the application process," Stein said.

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