NAU announces venture to put research into action

NAU Research Open House

Learn more about NAU Ventures at a Research Open House from 2 to 5 p.m. in the Applied Research and Development building on Friday, Sept. 12.

Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the open house also will provide information about seeking and obtaining funding for research, conducting research within regulations and guidelines, intramural funding sources for students and faculty, and resources for showcasing research to the public.

Visit the Research Center Open House online.

Northern Arizona University is launching a new initiative aimed at stimulating the local economy while speeding up the transfer of research findings into real-world applications.

The initiative, NAU Ventures, is a collaboration between the university and the Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies to increase the patents, licensing opportunities and potential company spin-offs from NAU’s $60 million in annual sponsored research projects.

“NAU Ventures will help Northern Arizona University in its vital role in promoting the state’s economic development through companies and products arising out of innovative faculty research,” said NAU President John Haeger.

Housed in NAU’s Applied Research and Development building, NAU Ventures will oversee the university’s technology transfer program, which works with the corporate sector to transfer discoveries into business endeavors.

NAU Ventures will help the university fulfill its goal to double its research expenditures by 2020, according to Laura Huenneke, NAU vice president for Research. “The awareness that we have local support for commercialization will be encouraging and supportive to faculty who are looking for opportunities to pursue commercial ventures within their academic careers,” Huenneke said

She added that the partnership will increase public awareness of NAU’s level of innovation and creative research as well as its ability to attract financial support from private industries and corporations.

“NAU Ventures will definitely assist us in increasing our research portfolio,” Huenneke said. “The next several years will be exciting and productive as we transfer more innovations from our laboratories and research centers to address compelling health, environment and other challenges.”

The Northern Arizona Center for Emerging Technologies is designed to help technology startup businesses succeed.

NACET also will operate the city of Flagstaff’s new technology incubator facility under development at McMillan Mesa. The 10,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility, scheduled to open in October, is designed to support the startup of life science, software and environmental technology business as part of the city’s larger Flagstaff Innovation Park also under development.

“Our ultimate goal is to create much-needed high-quality job opportunities,” said Tom Rainey, president of NACET, who will operate NAU Ventures for the university on a contract basis. “We understand the power of matching great ideas with the right resources. We not only link client companies to specialty labs and equipment, intellectual property and capital resources, we also create synergies through an extensive network of faculty, staff, interns and alumni from local academic institutions.”

Stacey Button, director of the City of Flagstaff’s new Economic Vitality Division noted, “The city of Flagstaff, NAU and NACET are working in tandem to nurture ‘home grown’ businesses for sustainable economic development throughout the region.”

Al Poskanzer, a technology transfer professional with more than 30 years of industry experience, will manage the initiative. Poskanzer previously directed the licensing offices at Arizona State University and most recently served as director of technology at Boeing. He received the 1999 Arizona Governor’s Strategic Partnership for Economic Development award for his contributions in creating and implementing the Intellectual Property Policy of the Arizona Board of Regents.