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Granholm Announces First Annual University Commercialization Award Winners

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Michael Shore
(517) 335-4590

University Entrepreneurs Honored for Making High-Tech Research Saleable

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced the first annual Governor's University Award for Commercialization Excellence (U-ACE) has been awarded to Dr. Farnam Jahanian of the University of Michigan and Glen Barna of Michigan Tech University. The U-ACE, which grants a $25,000 prize to each winner, was created to recognize and celebrate the successful commercialization of technology stemming from the research and entrepreneurial efforts of researchers at Michigan's public universities.

"Our world-class university researchers are critical to planting the seeds of the latest technologies here and growing Michigan's economy," Granholm said. "Successful commercialization of cutting-edge research will turn the ideas of tomorrow into the jobs we need today."

The awards were given to lead researchers in each of two categories. Category I participants include universities that have annual research expenditures under $100 million as defined by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System developed by the National Center for Education Statistics. Category II participants are those with average annual research expenditures that exceed $100 million.

Barna, the Category I winner, was a graduate student at Michigan Tech University when his innovative research led to the creation of IR Telemetrics Inc., the worldwide technology leader in wireless data transfer from reciprocating and rotating components. The high-tech firm has $1 million in annual sales and expects to create 30 jobs over the next five years.

Category II designee Jahanian is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Michigan. His research led to the creation of Arbor Networks, an innovative software company that protects computer networks against virus attacks and other threats. The company has created 50 jobs in Michigan and anticipates creating another 75 to 100 Michigan jobs over the next five years. Arbor Networks reports $25 million in annual sales.

"The U-ACE recognizes the outstanding achievements of Michigan's own," Michigan Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Don Jakeway said. "The winners represent the state's continuing legacy of entrepreneurial excellence."

More than 20 applicants were reviewed by a selection committee of university, government and private industry professionals. Key criteria included the economic impact of the research and its stage of commercialization.

The awards are the result of recommendations put forth at the University Summit on Economic Development and Collaboration held in 2003. Convened by Governor Granholm, the summit brought together the presidents of Michigan's 15 public universities, leaders of private technology companies and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to focus on invigorating university-led growth in technology transfer and commercialization.

Michael Boulus, Executive Director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan, offered praise for the U-ACE program.

"This new awards program has served both to highlight how Michigan's economy is capitalizing on the research being conducted at our universities and to further encourage our university scientists to work with the business community in transferring their technologies to the Michigan marketplace," he said.

The awards are financially underwritten by the MEDC and the University of Michigan.

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.