URI sweeps latest round of state Innovation Voucher grants

Partnerships include two engineering departments, chemistry department and student start-up

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KINGSTON, R.I, November 07, 2017 — Experts at the University of Rhode Island have been named partners in all three of the latest Innovation Vouchers awarded by the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. And in one case, the small business partnering with the University is led by URI graduate students.

The Innovation Voucher program  promotes research and development partnerships among small businesses and subject matter experts. The incentive program awards up to $50,000 to businesses with fewer than 500 employees and their knowledge partners — often hospitals, colleges or universities. The program issued its first vouchers in January 2016 and has since granted 43 awards.

R.I. Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the board of directors of the R.I. Commerce Corp. announced the latest round Oct. 30:

  • Alcinous Pharmaceuticals, LLC, $50,000 — This pharmaceuticals start-up founded by three URI College of Pharmacy doctoral students uses computer-aided drug design to build a large library of promising drug molecules that could be used to develop cancer therapies that are highly effective and well tolerated. Alcinous is partnering with Brenton DeBoef, associate professor, URI Department of Chemistry. The project goal is to prove that molecules designed using computers can be produced in a laboratory.
  • CBC, LLC, $48,106 — CBC is developing a power-generating wind turbine and has already collaborated with the URI’s College of Engineering to explore product modifications. Carl-Ernst Rousseau, chair, Department of Mechanical, Industrial and Systems Engineering and David Taggart, professor of mechanical engineering, will help CBC conduct test designing for replacement of metal components with those made of composite material and will explore the use of telemetry recording and communication technology to remotely monitor the system. Astro-Nova, a Rhode Island company, will provide the technology.
  • Modus Techwear, LLC, $50,000 — The health and wellness textile company develops wearable devices, each with a unique power profile based on the number of sensors, computing needs, storage requirements and wireless communications protocols. The company is partnering with Arijit Bose, professor, URI Department of Chemical Engineering, to explore technologies that can be used to develop a battery designed specifically for the company’s AAGILE Footwear, which measures gait and encourages physical activity.