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KNOXVILLE — Several University of Tennessee researchers will be connecting with potential investors and entrepreneurs at the Tennessee Innovation Conference and Venture Showcase, sponsored by the Tennessee Technology Development Corporation (TTDC), May 10 – 11 in Nashville.

The event aims to serve as a catalyst for transformational economic development impact by facilitating dialogue between scientists and venture capitalists and other risk capital investors. Researchers will receive useful data such as strategy input and feedback, references to potential partners or investors, market opportunities, and awareness of potential competitors so that they can make better decisions during their technology development that may positively affect commercial success. The investors will see what is next in the world of innovation.

The UT researchers are among more than 40 scientists and inventors who will present their early-stage innovations to panels of venture capitalists and intellectual property experts.

“When the innovations emerging here at the University of Tennessee make their way to the market, they can have a greater impact on society,” said Joy Fisher, director of marketing and business development at the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) and statewide organizer of the innovation conference at the event. “By interacting with potential investors and industry experts, our scientists can learn what is needed to commercialize their inventions, which can have the potential to help transform Tennessee’s economy.”

The following UT Knoxville researchers were recommended to participate in the conference by UTRF based on topics suggested by TTDC along with the willingness of the researchers to participate:

  • Juan Luis Jurat-Fuentes, from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA), who is researching a new environmentally-friendly pesticide that targets currently uncontrollable pests.
  • Shane Foister, from UT Knoxville, who is researching methane oxidation catalysts.
  • Ramki Kalyanaraman, from UT Knoxville, who is researching thin film silicon-based photovoltaics.
  • Jimmy Mays, from UT Knoxville, who is researching high performance and lower cost fuel cell membranes.
  • Jayne Wu, from UT Knoxville, who is researching a diagnostic lab-on-a-chip.
  • Qixin Zhong, from UTIA, who is researching heat-stable proteins for beverage ingredients.

Researchers that participated last year found this event extremely valuable. In fact, $150,000 in additional grant funding was ultimately secured for two researchers last year as a result of participating in this event.

UTRF helps turn the ideas and discoveries that emerge from the University of Tennessee into products and services that benefit society. In addition to supporting the growth of research at UT and commercialization of the resulting inventions, UTRF champions entrepreneurship and drives state and regional technology-based economic development. UTRF serves all seven of the UT campuses and institutes across the state.

TTDC is an independent, non-profit corporation that designs, implements and manages technology-based economic development programs in service to Tennessee. TTDC serves as the state’s trusted advisor on strategic initiatives related to venture capital formation, research and development activity and high-potential entrepreneurship.

To learn more about the TTDC-sponsored conference, visit http://www.tntechnology.org/events/ttdc-innovation-conference/2/.

C O N T A C T :

Joy Fisher (865-974-0524, jfishe26@utk.edu)