Friday December 15, 2006

UD Wins $28 million State Grant

The Ohio Third Frontier Commission has awarded a $28 million state grant to the University of Dayton and a host of partner organizations to establish the Institute for Development and Commercialization of Advanced Sensor Technology (IDCAST).

IDCAST will include a facility to house academic, industry and federal labs and will be the anchor tenant for Dayton's Tech Town development.

The purpose of IDCAST is to create jobs in Ohio by facilitating and driving partnerships between government, industry and academia that boost sensor technology research, development and commercialization taking place locally and across the state.

"IDCAST is projected to have a $238.3 million economic impact in Ohio and create 364 high-paying jobs within eight years," said Larrell Walters, director of technology partnerships at the University of Dayton Research Institute. Walters drafted the proposal to the Third Frontier Commission with Joseph Haus, chair of UD's electro-optics department; Jay Johnson, a senior research scientist and group leader of chemical and biological sensors; and Karolyn Hansen, a UD research scientist.

Additionally, the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) will receive up to $4 million in Third Frontier grants for two research commercialization projects proposed through UDRI's Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices, or CMPND. One project focuses on the commercialization of functional polyimide films (high-performance polymers) and nanocomposites, which can be used in flexible electronics; flexible, self-powered LCD displays; high-strength barrier films; and aerospace and biomedical products. The second is for next-generation structural products in energy, transportation and security industries to help Ohio develop sustainable competitive advantages in energy generation and savings, ballistics protection and fire resistance.

What may have attracted the Commission's approval for IDCAST was the proposal's plan to build on the already existing infrastructure centered on sensor technology. Ohio is home to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the University of Dayton, The Ohio State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Toledo, Miami University, and Wright State University, all of which have leadership positions in areas of sensor technology. Included in this lineup are a number of key industry players, including Dayton-based Woolpert Inc., General Dynamics, UES, Yellow Springs-based YSI Inc. and Mason-based L-3 Communications Cincinnati Electronics.

"Advanced sensor technologies will prove crucial to national defense and the global war on terror," said Joe Sciabica, director, AFRL Sensors Directorate. "IDCAST provides an essential framework for bringing together the technologies, innovations and collaborations needed to develop, integrate and deliver this capability for defense, homeland security and commercial applications."

Commercial leaders said this allows them to take improvements directly from the lab to the market and immediately impact their ability to serve their customers.

"After reviewing the areas of technology within IDCAST's framework, we see an exciting opportunity to dramatically improve the operational effectiveness of our products and services in the very near term," said Shane Imwalle, vice president of business development at Woolpert.

The IDCAST facility is anticipated to be approximately 20,000 square feet.

"The City of Dayton deserves a lot of credit for helping IDCAST get off the ground and solidifying its long term a success," Walters said. "IDCAST is about collaboration, so it is fitting that the collaborative efforts of academia, industry, federal labs and local government are at the foundation of its creation."

For more information, contact Larrell Walters at 937-229-3515 or 937-239-5717.