A biomedical company and an alternative energy company have opened offices at Discovery Park, creating public-private partnerships that will lead to groundbreaking new technologies and provide a boost to the region's economy and its technology sector.
The two start-up companies — MedAutomate Diagnostics and Solar Logic — are collaborating with UNT faculty and students to bring about innovations in medicine and energy.
"We believe these two companies will be the first of many to provide opportunities for faculty and students, as well as jobs for our region," says Harold Strong, director of Discovery Park and technology transfer. "Our vision is for Discovery Park to be a major economic player in North Texas."
Located four miles north of the main campus, the nearly 290-acre research park promotes an entrepreneurial atmosphere and encourages the development and commercialization of new, cutting-edge ideas, Strong says. Discovery Park houses the College of Engineering and College of Information but the research and learning that takes place can involve other colleges, such as the College of Business. Bringing together laboratories, offices and classrooms distinguishes UNT's research park from others and maximizes the potential for creativity, collaboration and technology innovation, he says.
UNT provides the infrastructure, services and networking possibilities for developing and existing companies to locate and grow. In turn, faculty have opportunities to collaborate with companies to pursue federal grants and other funding, and students have job and internship opportunities.
Vish Prasad, vice president for research and economic development, is excited about the new start-ups.
"This is a new venture for UNT," he says. "The signing of these incubator companies to Discovery Park promotes our vision that cross-disciplinary collaborations energize research. We have the faculty expertise, advanced equipment, facilities and the students who will be our next generation of researchers. The business professionals bring the industry connections and the entrepreneurialism that can carry this research into commercial markets. Together we can potentially produce important developments in fields such as energy and medicine, with significant contributions to the state's economy."
UNT generates about $1.5 billion annually in the North Texas region, and that number will only grow as Discovery Park adds new tenants and companies prosper.
About the companies:
- What: MedAutomate is working to commercialize a device that detects human diseases at the earliest stages using a nanotechnology platform. This technology is based on a platform initially developed by researchers at Texas A&M University. Company leaders have begun plans to use the nanotechnology platform for detecting cardiac arrest, early-stage breast cancer and traumatic brain injury. The MedAutomate platform would enable physicians to diagnose patients faster and more accurately.
- UNT collaborations: The company is working with four professors from the College of Business.
- Why join Discovery Park: Founder Alice Sesay-Bodie says: "I wanted to stay in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and I thought it would be exciting to be in an academic atmosphere. Most of all, I was impressed by the leadership and staff at Discovery Park and their willingness to support small businesses."
- What: Solar Logic has created a more affordable, lightweight way to harvest solar energy and produce electricity. Companies can install the compact CSP solar system on their roofs and can see a return on their investment in six months to three years, depending on where they are located and the available energy rebates. Solar Logic plans to have the technology commercialized in the third quarter of 2011.
- UNT collaborations: Solar Logic is working with two professors from the College of Engineering and has hired five student interns this summer.
- Why join Discovery Park: Greg Bohl, the chief executive officer, and Drew Springer, a UNT accounting graduate and the chief operating officer, saw it as a good fit. "We were looking for something that could make a big change and in a field where there was a lot of growth potential," Springer says. "Discovery Park was an excellent fit for our start-up company."
Sarah Bahari with UNT News Service can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.