Office of Research announces 2018 Commercialization Gap Fund awards

Office of Commercialization bannerPULLMAN, Wash. – Seven research projects with high commercialization potential have been chosen to receive awards of up to $50,000 through the Commercialization Gap Fund for 2018. The funding was awarded to faculty from diverse fields including clean technology, human health, agriculture and engineering.

The Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF) is a program run by the Office of Research (OR) through its commercialization unit, the Office of Commercialization (OC) in partnership with the Washington Research Foundation. The goal of the program is to support projects that have a high chance of being commercialized but are not likely to get there without gap funding.

Commercialization graphicThese awards are intended to be the final funding step to advance innovations from the lab to the marketplace. The OC works closely with the awardees and provides support throughout the year to ensure the projects are reaching milestones and moving toward a commercially viable product.

The awardees and their projects titles are:

  1. James A. Brozik and Dr. ChulHee Kang: Development and Commercialization of Ultra-stable Luminescence Up-conversion and Time Modulation RECAL Probes and RECAL-READERs for Background Free Detection and Imaging of Complex Biological and Environmental Samples
  2. Kevin T. Gray: A New Way to Improve Cancer Treatment Through Targeted Drugs
  3. Arda Gozen: IntelliBra: A “Smart Bra” that Quantifies Changes in Breast Volume and Temperature for Assessing Milk Production, Infant Milk Consumption, and Breast Health
  4. John H. Harkness: PIPSQUEAK Image Analysis Through Artificial Intelligence
  5. Robert D. Keegan: Low Cost, High Fidelity Simulation Training System
  6. Waled Suliman: A Novel Bio-based Material for Confronting Honey Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)
  7. Vikram Yadama: Development of Small-Scale Molding Technology to Produce High-Value Decorative Natural Fiber Composite Panels.

John Harkness, an awardee who received funding for the second year in a row said, “Because of the CGF, we were able to validate our invention, and apply for a U.S. patent. This allowed us to license the technology to the start-up company and for the company to present our technology to potential investors and customers and begin commercialization efforts. The CGF support was therefore essential to getting our start-up company off the ground. Furthermore, the award planted seeds that will generate our next ideas and technologies — this is what will make our ideas with commercialization potential successful in the long term.”

In place since 2014, the program has been highly successful in helping inventors license their products and start new ventures. The OC accepts gap fund proposals every year, beginning with a pre-proposal process and working with viable applicants to craft successful final proposals. Individual awards of up to $50,000 are given. To learn more about the program please see the CGF website.

See the following links to read more about the 2017 winners and the 2016 winners.

Supporting a culture of entrepreneurship

The CGF is one of several resources OR offers to support researchers’ efforts to translate their work into products and services that benefit the public. OR also launched the Entrepreneurial Faculty Ambassadors, a peer-to-peer mentoring network that matches seasoned faculty entrepreneurs with those still learning the process.

The WSU I-Corps Site grant is another resource that focuses on increasing student and faculty participation in entrepreneurial endeavors.



  • Sita Pappu, Assistant Vice President,  WSU Office of Commercialization, 509-335-1120,
  • Kousalya Dhamodharan, Program Specialist WSU Office of Commercialization, 509-335-5526,