Grant helps fund students' entrepreneurial ideas

Commercialization and research grants awarded

Six student projects designed to assist bakers, brewers, Boy Scouts, and more have received Commercialization and Research Grant (CRG) funding from the Purdue Polytechnic Institute Statewide. Student teams are sharing $11,000 to advance their new technologies.

The CRG program awards funding each semester to Purdue Polytechnic students across the state who are engaged in entrepreneurial projects. With the funding, coordinators hope to create an innovation and commercialization experience with a faculty mentor that will enrich students’ research and and learn-by-doing experiences. This marks the fifth semester of CRG funding.

"The CRG awards reinforce the Purdue Polytechnic's commitment to transforming today's university learning environment. We are replicating the real world of innovation and commercialization where student entrepreneurs develop new products or services and compete for investment dollars," said Andy Schaffer, associate dean for Purdue Polytechnic Statewide. "As a result, our students gain knowledge and experience that are more closely aligned with the needs of business, communities and customers, which more effectively prepares them for careers in industry or running their own companies."

Funded projects are:

  • Smart proofing box for bakers to more accurately monitor and control the humidity and temperature of dough by George Reimers at Purdue Polytechnic South Bend; Karl Perusich, faculty mentor
  • Centrifugal mash tun for extracting wort and drying grain for Brewers by William Weikel at Purdue Polytechnic South Bend; Sarah Leach, faculty mentor.
  • Sustainable solar water heater DIY kit for the Boy Scouts by Adam Kickbush and Aaron Sprunger at Purdue Polytechnic South Bend; John Piller, faculty mentor.
  • Inventory automation system for food banks to increase food distribution by Nikki Bowdell, Lacie Barnett and John Shull at Purdue Polytechnic Anderson; Lori Barnett, faculty mentor.
  • EVN Heat a system to improve safety, transportation, cooking, consistency and clean-up of outdoor cooking by Kody Reichmuth and Anthony Andres at Purdue Polytechnic New Albany; Rustin Webster, faculty mentor
  • Material declaration program that provides immediate environmental information on electronic components and products by Mitchell Meyer and Kyle Richardson at Purdue Polytechnic New Albany; Rustin Webster, faculty mentor.

Students can use CRG funding to advance their technologies by securing patents, licenses or trademarks, as well as create a framework for a new company. With guidance from their faculty mentors, students are responsible for the design, budgeting, and execution of their projects. The student teams will present their projects and results at the Purdue Polytechnic Spring Convocation on the West Lafayette campus.

"One of the benchmarks we look for to funded a project is its potential to have a significant positive impact on a community, business, or area of innovation and be tied to their course of study," said Matt McKillip, director of Purdue Polytechnic Statewide research and innovation, who provides entrepreneurial guidance to the teams. "Each semester the quantity and quality of innovative proposals is increasing, and this semester I believe at least two of the projects have the potential to become Indiana start-ups."

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