UW News

November 17, 2005

Helping promising technologies get real: UW bioengineering helps speed new technology from the lab to clinical practice

The UW’s Department of Bioengineering has received a $2.9 million national award aimed at smoothing the path to bringing promising technologies from the laboratory into clinical practice.

The department, one of nine award winners nationwide, will receive $580,000 a year for the next five years through a Wallace H. Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership Award in Biomedical Engineering. The funding will be directed toward promising projects and increased collaboration between bioengineers and those who work in a clinical setting.

At the end of five years, an endowment is available for programs that have shown outstanding performance in meeting the goals of the program.

Bioengineering Chair Yongmin Kim said UW bioengineering has a long tradition of technology entrepreneurship and working with counterparts in the clinical arena to develop technologies that can help patients. The award will significantly bolster that thrust.

“This will allow us to double or triple the amount of effort we’ve been spending in the past to try to move research results from the lab to the clinic,” Kim said. “Previously, our faculty had to spend their own effort, in many cases without any funding, to try to bridge this gap. Now we have a formal funding mechanism.”

Through the award, the foundation will establish a partnership with the UW to identify and develop promising research, increase collaboration between bioengineers and clinicians, and encourage the movement of promising technologies toward commercialization and clinical use.

“Specific projects for award funding will be chosen annually by an oversight committee, starting in March 2006,” Kim said.