President's Commercialization Awards
About the Award
The President's Commercialization Award was inaugurated in 2015 to recognize outstanding contributions to the commercialization of innovative work conducted by Texas Tech University faculty. Recipients are tenured or tenure-track faculty whose work toward the award has been carried out entirely at Texas Tech University, and they may receive this award only once. Awardees receive $5,000 cash, a framed certificate, and the distinction of seeing their research find success not only in the marketplace but among their fellow researchers and academicians.
2017 Awardee: John Schroeder
Dr. JOHN SCHROEDER, Professor of Atmospheric Science in the
Department of Geosciences; and Member of the Hurricane Research
Team at the National Wind Institute
John Schroeder received the 2017 President's Excellence in Commercialization Award. More information about Schroeder and his work will be available soon.
2016 Awardee: Seshadri Ramkumar
Dr. SESHADRI RAMKUMAR, Professor of Technical Textiles and of
Countermeasures to Chemical and Biological Threats, Department of
Environmental Toxicology/The Institute of Environmental & Human Health;
and Director of TTU's Nonwovens & Advanced Materials Lab
Seshadri Ramkumar Received the 2016 President's Excellence in Commercilaization Award for his revolutionary contributions to nonwoven materials.
"I am humbled by this honor as it recognizes translational efforts," Ramkumar said. "Texas Tech has to be applauded for creating many programs to support 'mind-to-market research' and helping young students to be entrepreneurs. The next phase of research is all about technology transfer, and Texas Tech is rightfully investing in this effort by involving itself in programs such as 3 Day Startup, the National Science Foundation's I-Corps, 1 Million Cups and more."
Ramkumar created FiberTect®, a nonwoven decontamination wipe capable of cleaning chemical threat agents. FiberTect® was used to help mop up the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. His continuing research focuses on developing value-added materials using nonwovens and nanotechnology.
2015 Awardee: Brian Still
Brian Still, Associate Professor of Technical Communication in the Department
of English; and (now former) Director of TTU's Usability Research Lab
Brian Still received the 2015 President's Excellence in Commercialization Award for developing and bringing to market a mobile eye-tracking technology. Eye tracking detects where a user looks first, what things most attract the user's attention, and which visual pathway the user takes when looking at an advertisement, for example, or a web site. Results say a lot about a user's cognitive expectations and the success or failure of a product to meet those expectations.
When the Usability Research Lab started receiving requests for eye-tracking tests, Still found that existing eye-tracking equipment cost $40,000 or more—a prohibitive amount—so he and his team made their own. After months of experimentation, Still's team constructed a prototype eye tracker relatively inexpensively.
After founding the company Grinbath in 2011 with Usability Research Lab assistant Nathan Jahnke, Still licensed EyeGuide Tracker, a low cost eye-tracking system, and EyeGuide Assist, a low cost product that allowed users with limited or no hand functionality to control a computer mouse with their eyes.
Those led to the development of the EyeGuide Mobile Platform in 2012 (the world's only mobile eye tracking and control system at the time) and EyeGuide Focus, which allows trainers and other healthcare practitioners to detect in less than a minute, right on the sidelines, the early signs of concussion in athletes.