March 16, 2011

Saluki Concept Fund will benefit researchers

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Making the leap from the drawing board to the marketplace is sometimes the toughest hurdle for new technologies. A new program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale aims to help researchers meet that challenge.

The Saluki Concept Fund will provide up to $20,000 to SIUC researchers to help them nurture new technologies through the sometimes-difficult early stages. The funding will support short-term, concept-proving research that reveals the invention’s potential, helping clear the way for commercialization.

The Saluki Concept Fund is a cooperative effort between the SIUC Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and the University’s Technology Transfer Program. John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the SIUC graduate school, said the fund will help the University carry out its missions as a research institution, as well as support the economy.

“Research universities are often called economic engines, in part because some of the research done by the faculty and students can result in new businesses and jobs based on the innovations of that research,” Koropchak said. “However, the process of converting an innovation to a business is almost always resource-limited, making this transition very challenging and often frustrating.”

Koropchak said such an approach has succeeded at other institutions and that he believes it will yield results at SIUC, as well.

“This proof-of-concept program, that has been shown to work at prominent institutions nationwide, is intended to assist this difficult stage and increase the probability that a successful business results,” he said.

SIUC faculty and staff are eligible for the funding, which can last up to one year. To apply, inventors must be listed as an inventor on the associated invention disclosure. A review committee headed by the associate vice chancellor for research and with representatives from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Office of Economic and Regional Development and the Technology Transfer Program will make recommendations for awards based on scientific and business factors. Final decisions are made by the vice chancellor for research.

Grant-seekers can submit applications anytime during the year.

The funding will bridge the area left by a dearth of government funding, which usually does not cover early, “concept-proving” work on new inventions. But funding new technologies at that point can often make a critical difference in their ultimate development, said Jeff Myers, senior technology transfer specialist at SIUC.

“It can be common that technologies need an incremental step to become licensed or commercialized, but can’t get funding from traditional funding sources -- the National Science Foundation or the National Institutes for Health or agencies like that,” Myers said. “Programs like these fill that gap, and they’re growing in popularity.”

For more information, visit or call or contact Myers at or by calling618-453-4511.