April 09, 2009

New blog promotes energy research

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE -- A new blog hosted by Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Technology Transfer Program promises to be a nexus of information on energy research across the University campus and around the world.

The blog, “SIU Energy Technology,” can be found at http://siuenergytech.blogspot.com/. It will promote energy research at SIU’s campuses, publish articles by researchers, carry links to outside information and act as a general clearinghouse for energy research information, said Amy McMorrow.

Launched Feb. 25 after weeks of planning, the blog will serve as connection between researchers and the area, said McMorrow, a technology transfer specialist who manages the blog.

“Basically we want to be an information hub for energy-related research and development activities at SIUC,” she said. “We’ll provide news and articles, submitted articles and links -- basically anything that relates to this issue.”

Jeff Myers, senior technology transfer specialist in the Office of Research Development and Administration, said the idea will help tie the University’s various efforts together and will help it become more intertwined with social and business networking efforts on the Internet.

“Weblogs are an ideal format for this kind of interaction and exchange of ideas,” Myers said. “It will allow more minds to participate, and it will let more people see what the University is doing in terms of applied research.”

SIUC has many pockets of researchers working on energy-related projects, from the colleges of science, engineering and agricultural sciences, to the Coal Extraction and Utilization Research Center, and many others. The blog will help link those people and create synergies and awareness, officials said.

"The energy tech weblog is an important addition to SIUC's energy activities,” said John S. Mead, director of the Coal Research Center. “We are going to be able to better communicate around campus in teaching and research. It is going to fit in well with the activities of campus research centers."

The blog is aimed at “anyone with a stake in the community, in community and University development efforts, who looks at the world and what’s happening and thinks about how our community will sustain itself,” McMorrow said. “We’re talking about jobs and growth and opportunity.”

With a background in marketing and Web design, McMorrow said one goal of the blog is to promote Southern Illinois as a leader in new energy concepts and sustainability. Southern Illinois has deep roots in the energy sector, with its coal mines and SIUC, and remains a leading candidate for future endeavors.

“It takes a lot to do technology transfer, and that’s our long-term goal to benefit the region,” she said. “This blog will help bring everybody together and keep everyone updated.”

McMorrow said several campus researchers already have committed to supplying articles on their work to the blog. She also is reaching out to University alumni who work in the energy field, inviting them to participate.

In addition to articles and links, the blog supplies information on tech transfer resources, patents and intellectual property related to SIUC energy research. An energy company interested in a particular emerging technology could use the resource to investigate setting up shop in the area or link up with key SIUC researchers, she said.

“Considering the focus on energy nationally at the moment, we thought this was the right time to bring these efforts together,” she said. “When you combine that with the strength of efforts here, it seemed like a no-brainer.

“The call is out. We definitely want participation,” she said.