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MIT's Deshpande Center announces fall 2006 research grants

The Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at MIT announced yesterday it is awarding $488,000 in grants to six MIT research teams currently working on discoveries that may revolutionize energy storage, medicine delivery, drug development and high throughput wireless networks.

For the past four years, The Deshpande Center has funded 56 projects with more than $6.5 million in grants, acting as a catalyst for innovation and entrepreneurship by supporting leading-edge MIT research and increasing the impact of MIT technologies in the marketplace. More than nine projects have spun out of the center as independent startups, having collectively raised more than $40 million in outside financing from top tier venture capitalists.

The fall 2006 grant recipients are:

Alexander Slocum, Omid Farokhzad and Jeff Karp: Device for sensing tissues and tissue compartments
A new device to assist in sensing tissue as catheter needles are inserted during common medical procedures.

Donald Sadoway: High-amperage energy storage device
A new technology to store high-amperage energy for industrial settings.

Carol Livermore: Portable power sources
A new method for creating efficient long-lasting portable power sources that could change the battery market.

Yet-Ming Chiang: Continuous drug delivery
A new device to provide medicine through a portable delivery device to assist individuals with chronic diseases.

Dina Katabi: High-throughput dense wireless networks
A new network design to create high- throughput for wireless networks to increase network availability in urban settings.

Sangeeta Bhatia: Human liver models for faster, safer drug development
This miniature human liver tissue could lead to safer, faster and more cost-effective drug development by measuring toxicity at an early stage in the development process.

"The projects we are funding this fall are indicative of the innovative ideas MIT researchers have begun: projects aimed at improving the way of life worldwide. The goal of the center is to assist in bringing these ideas out of the labs and into real-world applications," said Leon Sandler, executive director of the Deshpande Center. "In the past four years, the center successfully bridged the gap between concept to actual entrepreneurial innovation for a number of new technologies in medicine, technology and other areas."

Each spring and fall, the Deshpande Center awards $50,000 Ignition Grants, which fund proof-of-concept explorations, and Innovation Grants ranging from $50,000 to $250,000 to help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the Deshpande Center's network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academic and legal experts helps recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of a business plan or licensing strategy.

MIT professors interested in securing a Deshpande Center Ignition or Innovation Grant should submit a pre-proposal by Oct. 16 for the spring 2007 funding round. For more information on how to submit a pre-proposal see

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 18, 2006 (download PDF).

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