Penn State Harrisburg receives $600,000 NSF grant

Penn State Harrisburg has received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to strengthen a regional college-industry research partnership.

The college’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies was presented the funding to support the efforts of the established Innovation Transfer Network (ITN), which brings together higher education institutions, economic development organizations, business, and government to provide companies with a gateway to reach faculty and accelerate commercialization.

“The NSF Partnerships for Innovation (PFI) program grant reflects Penn State Harrisburg’s shared vision with the commonwealth’s goal for developing faculty/industry partnerships as initially established through the Department of Community and Economic Development funding for the Innovation Transfer Network,” said Marian Walters, the college’s associate dean for research and graduate studies, who received the funding.

“The funding is an initial step in the college’s commitment to seek creative ways to sustain the ITN mission and also reflects Penn State Harrisburg’s interest in and commitment to developing stronger ties to other regional colleges and universities as all advance their research and educational agendas,” she said.

The NSF grant required co-principal investigators from several key partners. In addition to Penn State Harrisburg, the partnership includes Walt Chromiak of Dickinson College, Dick Fluck and Claude Yoder of Franklin & Marshall College and Steven Fonash of Penn State's University Park campus, as well as representatives from Gannett-Fleming Inc., the key industrial partner.

In addition to Penn State Harrisburg, the regional higher education partners in the ITN/PFI program are Dickinson College, Cheyney University, Elizabethtown College, Franklin & Marshall College, Harrisburg Area Community College, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Lebanon Valley College, Messiah College, Millersville University, Penn State College of Medicine, Shippensburg University, and Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

The $600,000, two-year funding commitment is the largest available from the NSF’s PFI program and stresses that partnerships must include academic institutions and private sector organizations.

“Penn State Harrisburg has played a key role in the ITN,” said Jennifer Hammaker, director of business development.

With partnering organizations including the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, Lancaster Keystone Innovation Zone and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, the ITN’s seed grant program funds faculty and business collaboration in up to $10,000 increments.

“It is a leading example of how to ignite entrepreneurial activity and interaction between faculty researchers and the business community at a relatively low cost,” she said.

“The new PFI project also has funding for seed grants providing competitive awards up to $25,000 for faculty-industry partnerships with an equivalent industry match,” Walters said.

Last Updated October 13, 2009