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USI and GAGE Partnerships help Crane mine new patents

In November, the University of Southern Indiana facilitated a first-of-its-kind Innovation Mining event which brought together inventors and technology transfer, academic, and industry expertise to identify potential disclosures – documented concepts which could be used toward applying for a patent.


Participants in the event, sponsored by Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center’s (NSWC) Office of Chief Technology, included the USI College of Business and Department of Engineering, Growth Alliance of Greater Evansville (GAGE), Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation, and TechLink and TEDCO, two national partnership intermediaries. Dr. Sue Ellspermann, director of USI’s Center for Applied Research, and Gene Recker, manager of education and entrepreneurial support for USI at Innovation Pointe, facilitated the session.


With 70 percent of over 2,600 employees focused on scientific and technical issues and over 40 patents with commercial applications, NSWC Crane supports the military and the Indiana economy. NSWC Crane has hundreds of projects that are successfully creating and improving technologies for the military and many are available for licensing to local industry. 


Duane Embree, NSWC Crane Technical Director, said, “NSWC Crane is putting a structured, disciplined process for innovation in place. This Innovation Mining event is a key component of that process.”


Six projects were reviewed during the event and 19 disclosures were identified. This exceeded the goal of 10 to 15 disclosures and represents almost a year of activity at Crane.


USI and NSWC Crane have an Educational Partnership Agreement in place that gives faculty and students access to highly specialized experts, equipment, and facilities at NSWC Crane, to complete projects and participate in research activities. Dr. Les Nunn, assistant professor of business law, is teaching entrepreneurism by forming a corporation with his class of 51 students to commercialize a NSWC Crane technology. Students will remain owners of the business after graduating, and future students will become owners as they move through the start-up process. Nunn said, “This is the first time that our students will start and operate a business. We are thrilled with our partnership with Crane. The educational opportunities are unlimited.”


GAGE and NSWC Crane have entered into a Partner Intermediary Agreement (PIA) that allows GAGE to support the commercialization process of Crane’s patents throughout the region. GAGE will work with companies to match these novel new technologies with existing companies and entrepreneurs to expand high tech industries and high wage job opportunities for Indiana and the region.


Joe Wallace, president of GAGE, said, “The potential for commercialization from both existing and in-process intellectual property is sufficiently large to transform local industries into more profitable and sustainable businesses that can compete globally with high value-added products and services.”


Future sessions are planned for the spring.



USI-Partnership with Wesselman Nature Society at Howell Wetlands

The University of Southern Indiana and Wesselman Nature Society have formed a partnership to collaborate on projects and programs at Howell Wetlands.


"Part of USI's mission is to join with regional partners and contribute to the quality of life in southwestern Indiana," said Dr. Linda Bennett, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. "This partnership with the Wesselman Nature Society reflects that mission and offers a wonderful learning laboratory for faculty and students."


Howell Wetlands is one of several areas managed by Wesselman Nature Society, whose mission is to preserve the natural resources in the Evansville area, provide environmental education experiences, and to promote the enjoyment of these treasures. Howell Wetlands is a 35-acre restored wetland located less than five miles from USI's campus.


Dr. Scott A. Gordon, dean of the Pott College of Science and Engineering, said, "With only five urban wetlands in the state of Indiana, the Howell Wetlands area is a unique living-learning laboratory and an educational gem. The development of the USI/Howell Wetlands partnership, the proximity of this site to USI, and the rich wetlands habitat will result in enriched scientific learning experiences for generations of students."


Under its new executive director, Kim Meadors, Wesselman Nature Society is evaluating its master plan and will focus on broadening the exposure and access to the community's natural treasures. USI will help Wesselman Nature Society in this endeavor through the engagement of faculty, staff, and students. In addition to providing technical expertise from the Pott College of Science and Engineering, other colleges and areas of expertise will be able to assist as requested.


For more information about the partnership, USI or Wesselman Nature Society, contact Elissa Bakke, USI Center for Applied Research at 812/454-8946, or Lauren Preske, Wesselman Nature Society/Howell Wetlands at 812/479-0771.



USI Signs Educational Partnership Agreement With NSWC Crane

Crane EPA press release - November 4, 2007

Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC Crane) and the University of Southern Indiana have formed an educational partnership enhancing USI faculty research and student learning opportunities while enhancing research and commercialization of technology residing at Crane.  The education partnership covers USI’s Pott College of Science and Engineering and College of Business.  This process will be facilitated by USI’s Center for Applied Research and Crane’s Office of Technology Transfer.


“This is an important partnership for the University,” said USI President H. Ray Hoops “The partnership with NSWC Crane has great potential for USI to advance the time line for expanding our applied research capabilities and outreach to regional business and industry.”  


Scott Gordon, Pott College of Science and Engineering Dean shared, "This partnership opens new doors to collaboration and technology transfer among scientists and engineers at USI and NSWC Crane.  The focus both institutions have on applied research will not only benefit the region, but open doors to new learning opportunities for students in southwest Indiana. This is a win/win for all parties involved". 


NSWC Crane, located in Martin County is the 3rd largest Navy installation in the country employing over 1500 scientists, engineers, and technicians. NSWC Crane provides comprehensive support for complex military systems spanning development, deployment and sustainment in three mission areas: Electronic Warfare/Information Operations, Special Missions, and Strategic Missions. “NSWC Crane leverages our unique technical capabilities and those of our industry partners to provide rapid response, technical solutions to meet the mission needs of the Warfighter,” stated CAPT Mark Welsh, Commander, NSWC Crane.


USI is a comprehensive higher education institution of approximately 10,000 students located in Evansville, Indiana focused on serving both the higher education and economic development needs of southwest Indiana.  USI’s ABET accredited engineering program offers electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering concentrations.


For more information about the education partnership agreement, please contact Elissa Bakke at 812-454-8946 or



Innovation Pointe

The University of Southern Indiana is the university partner of downtown Evansville’s new certified technology park, Innovation Pointe.  Opening in late 2006, Innovation Pointe will house a mixed use incubator focused on helping new high tech firms develop.  The University of Southern Indiana will provide training and education, student interns, faculty mentors, a downtown MBA, and more to help these new companies grow.


Innovation Pointe, to be located in a completely renovated Centrum Building on Evansville’s Main Street, will provide Class A office space, high tech conferencing and training facilities, lab and prototyping facilities, and small scale manufacturing. As importantly, Innovation Pointe will provide on-site assistance throughout the commercialization process: from concept to product or service delivery.


Innovation Pointe is a merger of the Evansville Technology Council and Small Business Center, Inc., the current incubator, providing comprehensive business services and assistance to start-up companies.  In addition, it will be the home to various economic development entities in the region.  Innovation Pointe will play a significant regional economic development role by serving as the host site to welcome and meet with companies considering relocation to southwestern Indiana.


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