By Lauren Salig
The Singh Center for Nanotechnology is currently accepting applications for the fourth annual Innovation Seed Grant, a competition held as part of its mission to promote innovation in the Mid-Atlantic through access to its state-of-the-art nanotechnology tools and equipment.
The Seed Grant competition encourages students, individuals, and small companies, regardless of if they are associated with Penn or not, to pitch their nanotechnology ideas. This year’s grant recipients will receive up to $3,000 in laboratory time and equipment use at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology.
Since the grant’s inception in 2016, Mark Allen, the scientific director of the Singh Center, has emphasized that the program is intended to bolster a positive integration of nanotechnology into society. The grant does so by giving individuals and startups with bright ideas the resources to get off the ground.
Last year the Seed Grant provided a total of $17,500 to nine winning projects which proposed impactful ways to use nanotechnology. Some winners came from inside the Penn community, like Brandon Kao, Rui Jing Jiang, and Adarsh Battu’s VisiPlate project. The Wharton and Penn Engineering students’ idea for treating glaucoma with a specialized ocular implant got its start by receiving the 2017 Y-Prize and was later honored with the $100,000 President’s Innovation Prize in 2018.
However, not all Innovation Seed Grant recipients were associated with Penn. Theresa Dankovich used the grant to work on a nanomaterial that would help create affordable water filters for her New York-based company, Folia Water. Sumedh Surwade and Kalpana Madgula utilized the Singh Center’s resources to grow their company, SAS Nanotechnologies, by developing technology that prevents metal corrosion.
Applicants for this year’s competition are required to describe their novel nanotechnology idea in a four-page proposal that addresses the motivation behind their concept, their intended use of the Singh Center equipment, and the challenges they expect to face. Proposals are judged on their feasibility, chance of success, and potential social impact, among other factors. Full details on the application process can be found on the Singh Center website.
The deadline to submit Seed Grant applications is Friday, March 1, 2019.