Thank you to our Network Members

Supporting ITN Sponsor
View Profile

A feed could not be found at


Register to receive ITN Newsletters!

Home > Blog

What’s Happening at Harrisburg University

Posted September 27th, 2013 by admin

What’s hapening at Harrisburg University? I am Spike Moyer and I work as a faculty liaison for the Innovation Transfer Network, ITN.  We at ITN visit 16 schools in Central PA learning what faculty members are working on.  We focus on one school each month in this blog to share among our member schools. This month we are focusing upon The Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.  Two focal points are described, one is in the area of Nano-biotechnology while the other is Computer Aided Planning Software.

Nano-Biotechnology: I like to think into the future. One afternoon about a year ago, I was lying in an MRI having my knee imaged. The rhythmic hum and bumps in the room were coaxing me into a state of trance.  I began to visualize a machine that would not only analyze my knee but also help repair the tissues in one unobtrusive step.  This machine would employ 3-D printing of cells and nano-biotechnology to restructure my damaged cartilage using the regenerative ability that naturally exists in my body.  What a wild idea?

Dr. Leena Pattarkine from Harrisburg University is beginning to work in that direction.  She has received funding from PA DCED to explore additive manufacturing employing nano-biotechnology.   This pilot project is expected to be a small initial step towards a long term goal of using the knowledge for developing various prototypes.  Additive manufacturing /3-D printing works on the macro scale to build structures one layer at a time like building blocks.  Nano-fabrication takes the concept to a micro scale and may allow individual cells to be the building blocks.

Dr. Pattarkine was invited to conduct a workshop on Additive Manufacturing and Nanotechnology Applications at the 2013 MicroNanoTechnology (MNT) Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota in May.  MNT 2013 was a two and a half day conference about micro- and nanotechnologies. Sponsored and funded by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program, MNT 2013 was a collaborative effort of six national centers to disseminate information on topics such as electronics, materials, biotechnology, photonics, and manufacturing.

- See more at:

Dr. Pattarkine also coordinates the Capital Area Biotechnology Partnership (CABP). This is a 2+2+2 Workforce Leadership Grant by the Department of Community and Economic Development. The focus is how partnerships between high-schools, community colleges, and universities help facilitate a seamless transition from high school to the workforce. Dr. Pattrakine plans to use the current Additive Manufacturing Grant to create awareness amongst educators and students regarding the strong overlap between nano-biotechnology and additive manufacturing.

- See more at:

Computer Aided Planning Software: We have all heard of or used Computer Aided Design or CAD.  Imagine computer aided planning for information systems, system architecture and health systems.  Dr. Amjad Umar is a Professor and Director of the Management and eBusiness degree program and the Information Systems Engineering and Management (ISEM) at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology.   Dr. Umar is a Senior Advisor to the United Nations and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with the US Council for International Exchange of Scholars. He is also an entrepreneur and has started a company that employs computer aided design for these types of applications.  They are being used in countries across the globe like Cambodia, Africa, Nepal, The Dominican Republic and New Zeeland.

Biochemistry Funding OpportunitiesFunding for August 2013

Posted August 6th, 2013 by admin

Funding for August 2013

Bio-Chemistry:  These
funding opportunities are listed in the Pivot web page:

Research Interests of the Air Force Office of Scientific
Research BAA - Complex Material and Devices (RTD) - Natural Materials and

Upper $2,000,000USD Lower $200,000USD

Approximately $350 million is available for support of
actions award through this BAA process. Research proposals in the range of
$200,000 to $400,000 per year are encouraged. Awards may be proposed for up to
five years.

The goals of this multidisciplinary program are to study,
use, mimic, or alter how living systems accomplish their natural functions or
to take those bio-materials and systems and use them in new ways such as seen
more »bio-nanotechnology. Nature has used evolution to
build materials and sensors that outperform current sensors such as a spider’s
haircells that can detect air flow at low levels even in a noisy background.
Nature is very good at solving the problem of working in a noisy environment.
This program not only wants to mimic existing natural sensory systems, but also
add existing capabilities to these organisms for more precise control over
their material production. The research will encompass three general areas:
biomimetics, bio-materials (non-medical only), and biotic/abiotic interfaces.

Herman Frasch Foundation Grant for Research in
Agricultural Chemistry

Upper $250,000USD Lower $50,000USD

Grants will be made in an amount of $50,000 per year or
$250,000 for the five-year period.  The
Herman Frasch Foundation is a trust created under the will of Elizabeth Blee
Frasch, administered by the United States Trust Company of New York as trustee.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) advises the trustee on
more » the Frasch program. The purpose of the
foundation is to award the Herman Frasch Foundation Grants for Research in
Agricultural Chemistry to nonprofit incorporated institutions to support
research in the field of agricultural chemistry that will be of practical
benefit to the agricultural development of the United States. The term
”agricultural chemistry” is interpreted broadly by the ACS Committee on
Frasch Foundation Grants. Supported research is primarily chemical or
biochemical in nature. Because such research is often interdisciplinary, a
joint effort by two scientists with expertise in different complementary fields
may achieve the desired results; joint projects have been endorsed by the
Frasch Committee. Projects that focus on nutrition, agronomy, genetics, or
entomology are not usually favored. Proposals must provide opportunities for
training students at the graduate, undergraduate, or postdoctoral levels.

Collaborations for Macromolecular Interactions in Cells

Upper $1,000,000USD

NIGMS intends to commit $1,800,000 in FY 2014. The maximum
award budget is $250,000/year direct costs. The maximum award project period is
4 years

The purpose of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)
is to establish inter-disciplinary collaborative projects to advance studies of
macromolecular interactions and their relationship to function in cells. These
more » collaborations are designed to integrate
additional research strategies into NIGMS’ research base of laboratories
specializing in macromolecular function in living systems. Grantees may use
this funding opportunity to - complement each other’s capabilities (for
example, in biochemistry, genetics, chemistry, or pharmacology), where the
innovation is in the biology rather than in the technology; - apply proven
technologies that are technically challenging, expensive, or not yet widely
used in cell biology and allied fields (for example, mass spectrometry,
high-throughput screening); - develop, pilot, evaluate, and/or apply emerging
technologies (for example, super resolution light microscopy); and - carry out
feasibility studies or upstream research and development of new technological
concepts that are unproven, but potentially useful for study of macromolecular
interactions. This FOA invites unconventional research strategies, including
exploratory, descriptive, and statistical approaches, and encourages discovery
and hypothesis generation as research objectives. CFDA 93.859

What’s happening at Messiah College!!

Posted July 26th, 2013 by admin

What’s happening at Messiah College!!

I am Ralph Moyer, a.k.a. Spike Moyer. As a Faculty Liaison with the Innovation Transfer Network, ITN, I travel in our Central PA region and learn about faculty interests. I gain a unique, 10,000 foot view of the academic community. How do I share this with our membership schools and businesses? The idea I have is to write about the major programs at each school and then publish it on our ITN web page. I will advertise using both email and LinkedIn so that our members will know a new post has been generated.

Where do I begin… let us begin with Messiah College in Mechanicsburg. There are some great research and student projects underway at Messiah College that I wanted to share with all of you.

A unique focus of research at Messiah is the Collaboratory for Strategic Partnerships and Applied -Research. The Collaboratory is a center for applied research and project-based learning. Areas of engagement include science, engineering, health, IT, business and education. Their projects enable students to engage classroom fundamentals in an authentic client-provider environment. Please visit the web site: There are several very well done videos that describe the mission of the Collaboratory. Follow the Collaboratory on Twitter: Like the Collaboratory on Facebook:

The Collaboratory is a place where students from many academic areas work toward a common goal. One project I want to tell you about is the IWMS or Intelligent Water Management System. A challenge was presented from field work observations. Did you know that 36% of hand pumps in Sub-Saharan Africa do not deliver water to their communities? In addition, more Africans have access to cell phone coverage than a reliable source of clean water. A program has been initiated that engages 30 students from a wide range of academic specialties. The solution is to use cell phones to collect data from sensors that monitor the well and pumps. Data is automatically sent from the cell phone to a central location. A web based system will show all of the well locations and their operational status and will be used to guide field repairs. There may be commercial applications for this system. A video describing the project can be viewed by going to this link

Messiah College held the Tenth Annual Symposium of the School of Science Engineering and Health on May 3, 2013. Borrowing from the Symposium Coordinator, Larry Mylin, “This symposium continues a strong tradition of annual events designed to showcase student and faculty innovation, creativity and productivity..”
The symposium is presented in the form of a conference with simultaneous sessions presented. I wish I had been able to see all of the sessions from the many departments including, Engineering, Information Sciences, Mathematics, Physics, Biology, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Exercise Science, International Service and Evidence-Based Nursing Care. I’ll make sure to bring my clone next year!
Like Messiah College on Facebook:

Biotechnology Funding Opportunities

Posted July 9th, 2013 by admin

Funding Sources
Blog: Biotechnology

Are you a Biotechnology researcher with a great idea looking
for a funding opportunity? Three funding programs related to Biotechnology are
listed. One is a DOD effort that supports biotechnology concepts in the areas of
detection and decontamination.  Another
is and NSF program that focuses upon energy for sustainability.  This specifically targets electrify and
transportation fuel production.  The
third is also an NSF program.  It supports
fundamental research that advances understanding of cellular and bio-molecular

The pivot web page:
was searched to find these funding sources.  
A search will locate funding opportunities sponsored by the US
Government as well as many private funds and foundations. 

Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, ECBC, Broad
Agency Announcement.  US ARMY DOD

ECBC’s BAA supports the
acquisition of unique and innovative concepts for basic and applied research
and development efforts not related to the development of specific systems or
hardware. ECBC competitively solicits
more » project offers in Biotechnology. The ECBC is
exploring biotechnology concepts in the areas of detection and decontamination
of CB agents, environmental biodegradation and bioremediation, and novel biotic
materials.  Two links are provided.



Energy for Sustainability: NSF

This program supports fundamental research and education
that will enable innovative processes for the sustainable production of
electricity and transportation fuels.  Processes for sustainable energy
production must be environmentally benign, reduce greenhouse gas production, and
utilize renewable resources.


Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass Engineering

The Biotechnology, Biochemical, and Biomass
 (BBBE) program supports fundamental engineering research
that advances the understanding of cellular and bio molecular processes (in
in vitro, and/or ex vivo) and eventually
leads to the development of enabling technology and/or applications in support
of the biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, and bioenergy industries, or with
applications in health or the environment.  Quantitative assessments of
bioprocesses are considered vital to successful research projects in the BBBE

Fundamental to many research projects in this area is the
understanding of how biomolecules and cells interact in their environment, and
how those molecular level interactions lead to changes in structure, function,
phenotype, and/or behavior.  The program encourages proposals that address
emerging research areas and technologies that effectively integrate knowledge
and practices from different disciplines, and effectively incorporate ongoing
research into educational activities.


Funding sources blog:Mobile applications

Posted June 4th, 2013 by admin

Grant Funding Opportunities Blog

What’s new in the arena of Funding opportunities?   Each month, this blog will provide a sample
of new grant opportunities specific to disciplines of interest to our
members.  Grant seekers are encouraged to
explore individually.  The amount of
funding opportunities is huge. 

There are two web pages that are being explored to help
locate funding opportunities.  The web
locations are  The first lists government agency funding
sources, while the pivot site provides foundation and private funding, in
addition to many government sources. 
Seekers will find numerous opportunities, too many to list in this blog.

This month, the focus is Mobile Application Grant
funding.  Three grants are listed.  Each contains a description and a URL.  One is offered by the Knight Foundation and
the others are DOD and US Dept. of Education. 
While only three are listed, a search will lead to many more
opportunities.  Grants range from $1000 to
several million. 

Stay tuned, topics areas will change from month to month
depending upon what the searches provide. Happy searching… to those who pursue
the web pages.  You will not be
disappointed with the amount of funding that is available.

Mobile application

Knight News Challenge/Knight Foundation

The Knight News Challenge is year three of a contest
awarding as much as $5 million a year for innovative ideas that develop
platforms, tools and services to inform and transform community news,
conversations, and
more » information distribution and visualization.
Knight Foundation plans to invest at least $25 million over five years in the
search for bold community news and social media experiments. For the Mobile
competition, the Challenge is looking for tools and approaches that use mobile
to inform people and communities. This might include new mobile applications,
tools to help journalists or others leverage mobile, platforms to empower
mobile users, and so on. The foundation is interested in a broad range of

Mobile Training Technologies (Topic 2.1.23)

One of the current
trends in workforce training and education is the transition from eLearning to
mLearning. MLearning refers to mobile learning content to support the growing
mobile and remote workforce independent of
more » location in time or space. Mlearning is the
intersection of mobile computing and eLearning: accessible resources wherever
you are, strong search capabilities, rich interaction, powerful support for
effective learning, and performance-based assessment. Basically it can be
thought of as eLearning through mobile computational devices: Palms, Windows CE
machines, even your digital cell phone. Many entities (including the advanced
distributed learning labs) are researching the technological aspects and
challenges associated with mLearning. However, the pedagogical research on what
types of learning and what strategies are best suited to this unique delivery
methodology is limited. Research is needed to determine optimal methods for
presenting knowledge to learners to maximize the effectiveness of learning and
encoding content consistent with cognitive processing requirements.

Assistive and Accessible Mobile Applications - Call for

Through a grant from
the US Department of Education, the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center
for Wireless Technologies (Wireless RERC) seeks to enhance the use and
usability of wireless technologies for people of
more » all ages and abilities. Included in this
effort is the RERC’s mobile applications development project, the “App
Factory.” The Wireless RERC invites experienced developers to submit
proposals for financial support to develop assistive and/or accessibility apps
for mobile platforms (e.g., Android, Blackberry 10, iOS, Windows Phone).
Developers may also request partial funding for apps that already enjoy partial
support from other sources, or for adaptation of existing apps to additional
platforms. No funding is available for hardware development. Proposals will be
evaluated based on the following selection criteria: 1) The app addresses an
important accessibility or assistive technology need. 2) The app is unlikely to
be developed in the commercial marketplace. 3) The app is technically feasible
and the technical capacity required for development is readily demonstrable by
the developer. 4) The projected lifetime of the app justifies the investment.
5) The app complements and does not duplicate other apps in the marketplace or
under development.

PERC’s Climate Change & Sustainable Energy Conference

Posted December 3rd, 2012 by admin

A Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) Climate Change & Sustainable Energy working team, in response to input from a number of PERC campuses,  has developed an agenda for this year’s Annual Meeting sure to provide usable information for those Member and Affiliate Schools working on making progress on the climate change and sustainable energy. The Conference Packet is available for downloading here.

The annual meeting was held on the Susquehanna University Campus.  This consortium of about 70 Pennsylvania schools is an active group of faculty and staff who network together to promote sustainability efforts on our campuses.  It is a grass roots, bottom-up effort. Their aim is to foster awareness through education and hands-on experiences as they work to involve students and administrations in sustainability programs.

Three panel discussions highlighted the event along with industry contributors.  The focus was to assess measuring progress in sustainability efforts.  This first panel described how Green-house-gas emissions are measured at various schools.   The second discussed and compared results from recent measurements. The third focused upon how progress on campuses is communicated internally and externally.

Not all of the Pennsylvania schools are working at the same level of commitment.  5 out of the 70 schools are doing well and meeting their goals.  While working toward sustainability is voluntary, the positive result of the sustainability progress has huge impacts on energy costs and student enrichment.

A week-long conference called EnergyPath 2013 is planned.  PERC has 35 scholarships to provide to individuals and groups.  There are hands on focus sessions for Hydroelectric, Solar PV, Wind, Efficiency and sustainability. The value of these scholarships offset the membership fees.  Check out the PERC web page for more information.

New Crew on Board

Posted August 23rd, 2012 by admin

We’ve got a new pair of team members on board to help make the connections between faculty, students and the business community looking to commercialize. Finding the right talent to be able to understand the variety of technologies and services that faculty and students are developing - especially across multiple institutions - can be pretty daunting. In our six years of experience, this role is particularly tough because of the need for a varied technical background and at the same time, an engaging personality - plus a strong dose of attention to project management. We’re fortunate to have found a good match with Ralph Moyer, our new faculty liaison in South Central Pa. Ralph, or as you’ll learn when you meet him, “Spike,” brings a project management skill set from his days at Bell Labs to the task. His work as a liaison between high tech companies looking for specific technology from the lab translates directly to his daily work at ITN. Our other addition to the team is Mike Zigner. Mike will be focused mainly in the Berks County and surrounding areas as he leverages his many contacts in business and academia from his days in Continuing Education at Penn State Berks. His role will combine both faculty relations and business connections in Berks which is a great match for Mike’s background. Their official bios will be up shortly along with an embarrassing grade school picture when we find it. If you need to reach any of us, you can always email the team at

“Does Your Start-Up Idea Pass the Bar Exam?”

Posted May 2nd, 2012 by admin

One tweet from a “VC and Dad” in California, (thanks @bryce) and 11 days later we were featuring the video of the Instagram founders’ “Start-up Myths” at the Weiss Center for the Arts, at Dickinson College. Student leaders from the campus-based Idea Fund, as well as faculty from Dickinson, Harrisburg U and Shippensburg helped @itnwk and the @BFTechCelerator turn this impulsive thought into a different kind of education, and an evening of networking with students.

The theme for the evening was, “Does Your Start-Up Idea Pass the Bar Exam?” (If you don’t get it, watch the video.) It was an inexpensive, simple way to team up with students and share real insights into starting up a company. The fact that Facebook just announced the acquisition of Instagram for a billion dollars painted an inspiring picture.  Students, who as part of the Idea Fund, are reviewing, creating, and pitching ideas to be considered for funding, had a glimpse of what could be. We added to the sizzle of movie night by raiding the popcorn isles at the supermarket and creating custom-made containers with the question, “Are Start-Up Ideas Popping into Your Head?”

Working with academia and in economic development, we forget that spontaneous thought and an injection of fun can prove to be more rewarding - and memorable - than any long, drawn-out planning activity. Not every event lends itself to an 11 day strike period, but it’s good to be reminded that sometimes the spur-of-the-moment ideas are the best ones.

Faculty Entrepreneurs Share Ingredients for Business Success

Posted January 12th, 2012 by admin

A strong dose of reality was just around the corner for the room full of faculty at the Entrepreneurs Festival at New York University (NYU).  The session was geared toward academics waiting to hear the truth about what it takes to become a successful “faculty entrepreneur,” one bent on combining research and business. The foursome at the front of the room had been on the start-up treadmill for some time and were asked to share the hardest elements of the process, which included fundraising, and their advice for the optimistic crew before them. (The session title of “Having It All” probably helped set some high expectations in the group.)

Below are highlights of the faculty feedback, all valid points for professors looking to take the plunge and move ahead in the unpredictable waters of business and commercialization.

What is the hardest thing about becoming a faculty entrepreneur?

1. When I took my idea to industry, they were “interested” but not “excited.” I had to form the start-up on my own to prove my concept. (A physicist)

2. Convincing people to give you money. You think everyone shares your passion but they don’t. You have to “dumb down” the story so others understand. It is *hard* to publish and raise venture capital. (In the medical field.)

3. Closing my investment took a long time and I found engineers hard to work with in big research firms.

What’s your advice for faculty looking to start a company and remain in a university/college setting?

1. Figure out how you are going to make money. This is not an academic goal, but it is a business goal. It’s a big shift!

2. Learn how to communicate with investors. You have to be able to take the science and turn it into business. Practice! Network with investors.

3. Get ready to ride the roller coaster it’s up and down all the time.

4. Make sure you are doing something real, solving a problem. Stay focused on the company goal, not on engineering how the product works.

5. Faculty are accustomed to criticism in an academic research environment, however, when your business is criticized it’s a lot harder and you are more inclined to take it personally.

6. Find a real problem to solve, get feedback and understand the impact of your work.

At the end of the session, one entrepreneur shared the need for a “melting pot” a place where people, ideas and connections can come together. Here at ITN we are one ingredient of the melting pot, a place for faculty and business to collaborate and create their secret sauce. There are several other key ingredients we work with (Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Venture Investment Forum, Innovation Cafe, and the TechCelerator), all of whom are willing to stir the pot and get innovation cooking in this region. Join us!

Energy Keynote Sparks Interest

Posted December 6th, 2011 by admin

How do you make existing buildings more energy efficient?  Put researchers, engineers and practitioners in the same spot at the same time and force them to collaborate to transform the building industry.  This bold initiative is led by Dr. James Freihaut, Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering at The Pennsylvania State University, who currently serves as Director of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Mid-Atlantic Clean Energy Applications Center and has been recently named Director of Operations and Technology of the DOE Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy Efficient Buildings at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Dr. Freihaut shared insight and career opportunities in the field of energy to faculty, students from several local universities and business professionals at an event hosted by Innovation Transfer Network at Penn State Berks.

“A 50% reduction in buildings’ energy usage would be equivalent to taking every passenger vehicle and small truck in the United States off the road.” Freihaut commented that we need to approach buying buildings the same way we buy cars.  “Before purchasing a new vehicle, people know the make, model, miles per gallon, and maintenance issues.  We need to apply those same questions to purchasing a building.  What is the heating system? How much energy does it use in a year? What type of maintenance does it need to operate efficiently? “

Solving the complex problem of making existing buildings more energy efficient isn’t rocket science.  According to Freihaut, who incidentally worked in the space industry, “It’s a helluva lot harder.”

Freihaut stated that career opportunities in energy included IT, data integration, engineering, and software development. He emphasized the greatest need is for design controls and creating the requisite algorithms.

Students from Penn State Berks reported on a collaborative project to build a solar-powered electric car charging station with business partner Jim Kurtz, Reading Electric Renewables. The next step is to install the solar panels.  The project, funded by a Seed Assistance Grant from the Greater Reading Keystone Innovation Zone, is a direct result of the effort to duplicate and expand ITN’s model in Berks County.

This event was sponsored by The Quandel Group and included a display of new energy-efficient controls manufactured by Lutron.

This blog was posted by Jennifer Leinbach, ITN Business Development Officer