Thank you to our Network Members

Capital Region Economic Development Corporation
Supporting ITN Sponsor

A feed could not be found at http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/itnwk.rss

NEWSLETTER

Register to receive ITN Newsletters!

Home > Blog > Seed Assistance Grant

Posts Tagged ‘Seed Assistance Grant’

A win-win Seed Assistance Grant is completed at Penn State Harrisburg!

Posted June 10th, 2014 by admin

Everyone wins! This is how an ITN Seed Assistance Grant, SAG, program should work. A company and a professor communicate. They generate an idea, want to collaborate to accomplish a goal and need some funding to get started. A grant proposal is written, with the help of ITN. The funds are awarded, about two months late. The project time line is accelerated, three students are engaged and the project deliverable is completed on time. The company is happy, the students and the professor are happy. But that’s only the beginning of a fruitful collaboration.
So who wins what? To name but a few, the company wins with the project delivered on time. They are building a relationship with Penn State Harrisburg and collaborating to outsource and improve their product development. The students gain experiential learning, course credits and of course a paycheck. Penn State wins by engaging with a local company who hires graduates, provides continued funding for capstone projects and engages in curriculum development dialog. And of course the professor wins by attracting additional funding, performing research and generating publications.
How did this get started? I am Spike Moyer and I work as a faculty liaison with ITN. Dr. Ma’moun Abu-Ayyad, maa21@psu.edu, sent me an email asking about the ITN SAG. He had been communicating with a local company that wanted to begin working with Penn State Harrisburg to improve their product. I met with Dr. Abu-Ayyad to better understand what he was up to. The company builds cranes and wanted to develop their equipment control systems from manual to automated using a joy-stick type of human interface. More importantly, the company wanted to begin a relationship. They wanted to donate a bench top size crane to Penn State and begin interfacing with faculty and students.
Dr. Abu-Ayyad had a list of tasks that he wanted to include in the project. I encouraged him to think about a win-win proposal and define a project scope that would fit into the budget and timeline. Think about whom the players are, who is the “project team”? Define deliverables that all of the players want and can be accomplished with high confidence within the schedule and budget. This was the first engagement with the company and it was critical to succeed. Take baby steps, first impressions are lasting.
The budget was small and the schedule was tight. It got even tighter when the funds were released two months after the anticipated project start date. The deliverable was sufficiently defined and could not be reduced, so the resources had to be increased. Two undergraduate students and one graduate student were hired. Training had to be done quickly so the company engineer also increased his hours to work with the students. The team pulled together and the deliverable was completed on time and within budget!
The company has hired one of Dr. Abu-Ayyad’s students: a great opportunity for communication about curriculum and company training needs. The student graduated on a Friday and started working at the company the following Monday. The student is de facto ambassador who can communicate with both Penn State and the company. The undergraduate students are entering their senior year and will work on the next phase as a Capstone project. The company will work with the faculty/student team to define planning details during the Fall Semester. The work begins in Spring Semester with the help of additional company funding.