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September 22, 2013 | Tom Ballard

UTRF holds celebration, announces new business plan competition

Last Friday was a day of celebration, recognitions and announcements when the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) held its annual “Innovation Awards” luncheon, celebrating faculty achievements through patents awarded and technologies licensed.

In addition, two long-time UT, Knoxville researchers – Doug Birdwell and Tsewei Wang, both of the College of Engineering, won the annual “B. Otto and Kathleen Wheeley Award for Excellence in Technology Transfer.”

Sixty-five UT researchers were recognized for receiving a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, developing a technology that was licensed to an outside company, or, in a few cases, both.

Dave Washburn, UTRF President, noted that Birdwell and Wang needed large SUVs to take home their awards. A total of 14 patents have been issued on their technologies during that period.

Washburn also announced a new business plan competition – Tennessee Venture Challenge – that UTRF, UTK’s Anderson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ACEI), Tech 20/20 and Launch Tennessee will sponsor next spring. It will be open to start-ups that have licensed technology through UTRF. Details will be announced later.

“In the last three years, we’ve had 15 new start-ups,” Washburn noted.

The newest competition joins two others that ACEI coordinates – the twice-a-year “Vol Court” and the “Boyd Venture Fund.”

For more details on the Friday event and a list of the winners, read the UTRF release (Innovation-Awards-Knoxville-2013).