[The executive director of the Deshpande Center talks about its purpose and the grants awarded MIT Engineering faculty.]
The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation (Deshpande Center) announced on March 3, 2003 that it issued its first round of grants for 2003. Selected from 34 pre-proposals in this round, the grants were awarded to MIT faculty in the School of Engineering and support a wide range of emerging technologies, including tiny technology, information technology, and alternative energy innovations.
Part of the School of Engineering, the Deshpande Center was established last year through a $20M gift from Jaishree Deshpande and Desh Deshpande, the co-founder and chairman of Sycamore Networks. The Center was created to serve as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting the research of MIT faculty and facilitating collaboration among entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, innovative businesses, and MIT faculty.
The Ignition grants awarded provide seed funding of up to $50,000 each and benefit those projects in the early, more conceptual stages. The grants help catapult risky ideas into research that, if proven successful, would have broad implications on technological innovation. Judged by the Deshpande Center's steering committee and an extended panel of experts, grant recipients are selected based on the novelty and potential impact of the proposed research programs. In addition to receiving research funding, grant recipients are introduced to a host of business resources on and off campus.
Professor Charles Cooney, faculty director, said, "I am thrilled with not only the number of proposals submitted by the faculty, but by the quality and potential of the proposed research."
The Deshpande Center's next grant deadline is June 9, 2003. The grants will be awarded in the fall of 2003. Additional information on the Deshpande Center's grant program, research portfolio, and other entrepreneurial resources can be found on the Website: http://web.mit.edu/deshpandecenter.
The 2003 grant recipients are:
Nanocrystal non-Volatile Memory Devices
This new innovation could lead to smaller, faster, and lower voltage memory for computers, cameras, and other electronic devices by combining organic chemistry and quantum dot technology.
Fredo Durand: Contrast
Reduction For Digital Photography and Video
This new image processing technology could be the key to taking full advantage of new high dynamic range digital cameras.
Eric Feron: Slow down
warning system for safe highways
This unique innovation would make the highways safer for drivers, even if a small fraction of vehicles had them installed.
William Freeman: Image
Analysis For Digital Cameras
This technology would enable cameras to recognize objects, making it easier to edit photographs and possibly enhance them automatically.
Jovan Popovic: Reusable
Deformations For Computer Animation
This technology would make the once very time-consuming work of animating characters much faster and easier.
Metallization on Solar Cells
This method for applying circuitry to solar cells could make them much more affordable and energy-efficient.
Yang Shao-Horn: Novel Air
Electrode Designs for Metal-Air Batteries and Fuel Cells
This new electrode technology could lead to an inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and efficient energy storage method.
Bridging Nano-Lithography with Industrial Production
This innovative approach could solve the most elusive challenge with nanotechnology: scaling the manufacturing process.