ENGINE grants support innovation and entrepreneurship


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Five projects have been selected for funding through the Penn State College of Engineering’s ENGineering for Innovation & ENtrepreneurship (ENGINE) grant program.

Now in its third year, the program provides financial support to faculty to help transition their early stage research results through a proof-of-concept phase, with the ultimate objective of forming a start-up company or licensing the technology to an established business.

“It is exciting to see our faculty rise to the challenge of commercializing their innovative research ideas,” said Chris Rahn, associate dean for innovation in the College of Engineering. “President Barron wants to improve pairings of entrepreneurs with investors in his Invent Penn State initiative. ENGINE grants do just that by providing entrepreneurial faculty with the funds and guidance from commercialization experts needed to bridge the gap between the laboratory and the marketplace.”

Proposals were reviewed and selected by entrepreneurial alumni from the College of Engineering; Penn State experts in technology transfer, commercialization and industry relations; and previous ENGINE grant recipients.

The following faculty are beginning their ENGINE grant research projects:

  • Hosam Fathy, Bryant Early Career Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, for his proposal, “A Self-Balancing Photovoltaic Energy Storage System”;
  • Daniel Hayes, associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Dino Ravnic, staff physician at Penn State Hershey, for their project, “Bone Foam-Hybrid Composite Bone Augments and Grafts”;
  • Ibrahim Ozbolat, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics, and Ravnic, for their proposal, “Development of the First 3D Bioprinted Pancreas-on-a-chip Model for Drug Screening”;
  • Tim Simpson, Paul Morrow Professor in Engineering Design and Manufacturing, for his project, “Quantifying the Benefits of Dissolvable Metal Supports for Additive Manufacturing”; and
  • Yong Wang, professor of biomedical engineering, for his proposal, “Signal Amplification for In Situ Protein Analysis.”

“This is the first year that we awarded ENGINE grants to support College of Engineering faculty who are collaborating with researchers across the University,” said Rahn. “It’s exciting that we are enabling the integration of these researchers’ expertise and experiences, in order to facilitate devising innovative solutions to societal challenges.”

The college’s ENGINE grants program is supplemented by the Penn State Research Foundation Fund for Innovation, which matches one dollar for every two dollars provided by the college, up to a maximum of $75,000 total investment per project.


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Stefanie Tomlinson