Andrei Fedorov, left, and Gov. Bob Taft

Andrei Fedorov, left, technical director of BGSU’s Wright Photoscience Laboratory, explains a polymerization system to Gov. Bob Taft.

Photochemical sciences receives Innovation Incentive funds

BGSU’s Center for Photochemical Sciences has received another boost from the state with additional funding from the Innovation Incentive program.

Faculty and students, along with elected officials, welcomed Gov. Bob Taft to campus Sept. 21 for his announcement of nearly $4.7 million in fiscal-year 2007 Innovation Incentive awards to 12 of Ohio’s public and private research universities. The funds will assist them in refocusing their doctoral programs to generate world-class research and stimulate economic growth.

The $156,987 announced for BGSU is part of the second round of awards, the first of which was announced in June. In that round, BGSU received $75,799.

“The Innovation Incentive program pushes Ohio’s university researchers to continue making the important discoveries that lead to new products and create good jobs,” said Taft. “This initiative, along with the state’s Third Frontier investments, provides the support necessary for Ohio to continue its international legacy of leadership in innovation.”

Dr. Douglas Neckers welcomes and thanks Gov. Bob Taft for his support of BGSU photochemical sciences.

Under the Innovation Incentive program, participating universities each year will reallocate 1.5 percent of the state funding they receive for doctoral enrollments into areas of focused research—which at BGSU is the photochemical sciences center, headed by Executive Director Dr. Douglas Neckers. By the end of the 10-year program, the universities will have reallocated at least 15 percent of their doctoral funding into these specific areas. Innovation Incentive funds are awarded to the competing universities based upon their doctoral enrollment and levels of external research funding.

The Innovation Incentive program complements the state’s $1.6 billion Third Frontier research commercialization initiative, Taft said. He noted the $2 million BGSU received in 2003 to establish a photoinstrumentation and photopolymerization laboratory to create techniques and devices that will help make photochemical materials and processes marketable.

“The goal is to align the state’s traditional research programs with its economic development potential,” he said.

Over two years, BGSU will have reallocated $347,199 in doctoral funding to focus on molecular photonics research, and has received $232,786 in Innovation Incentive funding to further the program.

In thanking the governor, Neckers, a McMaster Distinguished Research Professor, described the center as “a highly focused research and instructional center, the mission of which is to enable study of the interaction of light with matter. We are a major research force in the country, and delighted to offer our services as a research magnet for the many problems, including energy, facing Ohio and the world in 2006.”

The center has a long history of industrial collaborations, he added, and its board includes some of the leading industrial scientists in the world. The additional funding will allow the center to expand its principal faculty to include “not only research scientists from the biological sciences, chemistry and physics but also from the materials and computational sciences.”

He noted the recent hiring of Dr. Peter Lu, BGSU’s second Ohio Eminent Scholar, saying, “Professor Lu is a world leader in the exciting new research area of single-molecule spectroscopy.”

An Innovation Incentive funding program was a specific recommendation of the governor’s Commission on Higher Education and the Economy. The commission’s April 2004 report stated, “Successful innovation—the continuous process of generating and applying new ideas to the creation and upgrading of products, processes and services—is a significant ingredient of long-term economic growth. It relies on highly skilled workers who can invent new products and processes, staff essential production systems, maintain complex equipment and use new technologies in their own organizations.”

For fiscal year 2007, Ohio’s research institutions have reallocated $4.7 million in doctoral funding to qualify for another $4.7 million in Innovation Incentive funding.

The other nine public universities involved in the Innovation Incentive program are: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland State, Kent State, Miami, Ohio State, Ohio, Toledo and Wright State. The private universities involved are Case Western Reserve and Dayton.

September 25, 2006