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January 25, 2007

Tech center awards research grants

The Washington Technology Center has awarded Research and Technology Development grants totaling $457,301 to seven Washington researchers working in partnership with local companies. Four of the researchers are UW faculty.

“Research institutions in Washington are engines of economic growth and these grants bridge the gap between good research and competitive products,” says Governor Christine Gregoire. “Congratulations to these innovative companies and researchers.”

Grant winners from the UW are William Schief, senior fellow in biochemistry; Juris Vagners, professor emeritus of aeronautics and astronautics; John Kramlich, professor of mechanical engineering; and Eric J. Seibel, research associate professor in mechanical engineering and assistant director for technology development in the Human Interface Technology Laboratory.

Washington state allocates more than $1.2 million annually to the Washington Technology Center grants program. State funding enables collaboration between companies and University researchers on technology projects that show strong potential for commercializing products and creating jobs. Since 1996, the state has funded 304 Research and Technology Development projects.

This round of grants is expected to generate more than 300 full-time technology jobs in Washington over the next five years. Washington Technology Center estimates that through its work with entrepreneurs, over 7,000 new technology jobs have been created in Washington state, many of these from grant award recipients. New project funding is awarded twice annually.

The UW projects vary widely:


  • Carbon Nanoprobes, a startup company developing high-resolution probes for atomic force microscopy, has teamed with Schief to develop a scanning probe tip useful in drug discovery.
  • Greenwood Technologies, a Bellevue company that manufactures a clean-burning, wood-fired furnace for energy-efficient home heating, has teamed with Kramlich to develop a low-emission combustion system for a wood-burning hydronic furnace. The goal of the collaboration is to modify the Greenwood Model 100 hydronic furnace design to meet or surpass Washington state’s clean air wood burning standards.
  • Northwind Marine, a watercraft manufacturer, is teamed with Vagners to develop an automated, realtime navigation and communications system for Unmanned Surface Vessels, small boats used to monitor and protect maritime industries.
  • VisionGate, a Gig Harbor headquartered company working in the field of cancer diagnostics, is collaborating with Seibel to co-develop a 3D cell nucleus diffraction analysis instrument for pharmaceutical drug discovery and cell biology research.

The Washington Technology Center’s Research and Technology Development grants have proved effective in helping Washington companies and researchers transition novel technologies from “good ideas” into commercially-viable ventures. Annual follow-up surveys show that assisted companies have been successful in leveraging these grants into more than $400 million in additional funding.

More information about the Research and Technology Development grants program may be found at www.watechcenter.org