Iowa State University

Lisa Kuuttila, CATD, (515) 294-2067
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- The ability of a university enterprise to take basic research -- anything from computer software to animal vaccines -- and help develop it into marketable technologies will be the focus of a Washington, D.C., presentation by Iowa State University's Center for Advanced Technology Development.

CATD is being called to Washington to provide insight into successful technology transfer. The center, which provides applied research and market direction to ISU inventions to prepare them for commercialization, will take part in a day- long open house at the invitation of the House Science Committee. The briefing will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., May 21, in room 2325 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The Science Committee is exploring successful technology transfer strategies and how to apply them to federal agencies with scientific bases, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy. The event will include displays and a presentation to explain CATD's approach, and highlight its successes to Congressional members, federal agency administrators and other interested parties. A brief program with comments on technology transfer, hosted by Congressman Jim Lightfoot of Iowa's 3rd district, will begin at 11 a.m.

"We are delighted that the Center for Advanced Technology Development is being given the chance to show what they do," said Iowa State President Martin Jischke. "It's not surprising that there would be interest by government agencies in the CATD approach to technology transfer because it has worked so well over the past several years."

CATD, formed in 1987, has been a leader in technology transfer at ISU. The center takes promising research conducted at ISU and the Ames Laboratory (a Department of Energy facility at ISU) and funds additional work to make it more appealing to industry. The goal is to bring a technology far enough along so that the gap between research and commercial product is as little as possible.

"CATD has been highly successful at identifying basic university research with commercialization potential and turning it into market-ready technology," said Joel Snow, director of ISU's Institute for Physical Research and Technology.

"Our model for technology transfer is getting significant attention," said Lisa Kuuttila, director of technology commercialization at CATD. "It shows our system works."

Currently, CATD is engaged in 48 projects. In the nine years it has existed, CATD has played a role in the commercialization of 70 ISU technologies. These technologies have been licensed to 60 companies in 15 states.

The technologies include:

-- a human body software system for computer animation, which is being offered by Engineering Animation Inc., Ames, a fast- growing startup company;

-- powder technology for making heat dissipation devices that will help make possible the miniaturization of the next generation of computers;

-- optical fibers that offer superior performance during laser surgery;

-- biodegradable plastics made of soybeans; and a

-- nondestructive testing device that provides high-quality images of airplane skins to detect corrosion and bonding failures.

The Center for Advanced Technology Development is a member of the Institute for Physical Research and Technology, a federation of research, technology development and technology transfer entities at Iowa State University.

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Lisa Kuuttila will be traveling on Monday, May 20. She can be reached at her Washington, D.C., hotel at 202/479- 4000