Four faculty-led teams pursuing the commercialization of research projects are ready for the next steps in this journey after completing the University of Maine’s MIRTA 2022 accelerator program. The teams showcased their projects at a Demo Day event earlier this month, marking the conclusion of this year’s program.
MIRTA 2022 teams, the fifth cohort to complete the program, are exploring innovations in accessibility education, aquaculture, computer-assisted breast cancer detection and marine science. (Please see below for detailed team descriptions and links to their Demo Day presentations.)
“The latest MIRTA projects show how research innovations from Maine’s public universities can have a significant impact on a range of crucial business sectors in Maine, from aquaculture and marine research to biomedicine, education and forest products,” said Veena Dinesh, director of business incubation at the University of Maine. . “I am always impressed with the entrepreneurial spirit that our researchers bring to this program and their commitment to investigating and realizing the commercial potential of their work. »
MIRTA was designed to help researchers at the University of Maine system advance laboratory discoveries toward public and commercial use, and the program has expanded to support innovations from other Maine research institutes. The accelerator is administered by the Office of Innovation and Economic Development (OIED) at the Foster Center for Innovation, with support from the Maine Technology Institute and the University of Maine System Research Reinvestment Fund. During the program, guided by program staff and external advisors, teams engage in customer discovery, market analysis, prototyping, partnership development and technology assessment to define strategies for bringing their research to market.
Additionally, each team has an advisory board of industry and technology experts who provide feedback and advice. Teams are eligible for up to $25,000 each to help develop go-to-market implementation plans. Commercialization plans vary depending on the type of invention a team brings to MIRTA, and the end result may be starting a new business or licensing an existing one.
MIRTA is part of several commercialization programs offered by the Office of Innovation and Economic Development. Researchers are encouraged to participate in the Marketing Training Series, a series of webinars offering topical insights on topics ranging from idea validation to intellectual property. UMaine I-Corps website program is the next step, helping research teams explore commercialization potential through grants available through the National Science Foundation. The MIRTA Accelerator helps I-Corps participants deepen their knowledge and bring their ideas even closer to realization.
Among the 21 teams from the five MIRTA cohorts to date, seven new startups have been formed, eight patents have been filed or granted, and the teams have collectively raised more than $2.5 million in external funding and prototype sales for support ongoing marketing. Companies that were formed after participation in MIRTA include Neurightwinner of the $25,000 David Shaw Prize at the statewide Top Gun Accelerator Program in 2019, and UNAR Laboratoriesselected to join the first cohort of the Roux Institute Startup Residency Program in 2021.
The next MIRTA cohort is expected to begin in early 2023. For more information about the program, contact Veena Dinesh at [email protected].
The MIRTA 5.0 cohort
Future fish labels
Watch the Future Fish Tags pitch
Future Fish Tags continues to market an improved dart for aquatic research. This biocompatible implant made from printed titanium foam metal improves tissue integration and animal welfare, and maximizes the retention of conventional and electronic tags used on aquatic animals.
Team: Walt GoletAssistant Professor of Marine Science, University of Maine and Gulf of Maine Research Institute; Sammi Nadeau, pelagic fisheries laboratory technician; with an external partner Brian McLaughlinFounder and CEO, Amplify Additive
Watch the Oyster Pod pitch
The Oyster Pod is a 3D printed aquaculture tank insert, made from forest products raw materials and bioplastic, designed to maximize oyster growth and improve efficiency for small Maine shellfish growers.
Team: Doug Gardnerprofessor of sustainable materials and technologies; Matthew NixonPh.D. Candidate, Aquaculture and Aquatic Resources, and Owner of Muddy River Farm Aquaponics
Watch WAVED Medical’s pitch
WAVED is a patented risk assessment technology that uses a patient’s mammographic history and clinical data to identify physical markers believed to be linked to the onset and growth of malignant tumors, leading to early detection of cancer breast.
Team: Andre KhalilProfessor of Biomedical Engineering, University of Maine; Kendra Batchelder, interdisciplinary doctorate. candidate in computational biomedicine
Watch the Wheelchair Odyssey pitch
Wheelchair Odyssey pursues the development and commercialization of immersive software to simulate wheelchair navigation in inaccessible, real-world environments. Designed for college students so they can learn about everyday obstacles wheelchair users face and learn about access requirements related to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the software aims to deepen the understanding of wheelchair use to increase accessibility and inclusion.
Team: Karen BarrettProfessor and Coordinator of the Rehabilitation Services Program, University of Maine at Farmington; J. Chad Duncan, Chair/Program Director, Orthotics and Prosthetics, Salus University; with an external partner Avery Olmsteadaccessibility specialist
Contact person: Ashley Forbes; 207.581.1429; [email protected]