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Liu, Sciammarella win 2013 Venture Grants

May 6, 2013
Lichuan Liu and Federico Sciammarella

Lichuan Liu and Federico Sciammarella

The NIU Foundation Venture Grants Committee has announced Lichuan Liu and Federico Sciammarella as recipients of the 2013 Venture Grants.

In partnership with NIU’s Technology Transfer Office and the Northern Illinois Research Foundation, the NIU Foundation Grants Committee has chosen the proposals that most closely exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit, vision and potential for marketability reflected in the newly revamped Venture Grants program.

Each proposal will receive a Venture Grant totaling $20,000.

This year, the program invited students, faculty and community members with expertise in communications, business and law to partner with and mentor the competing teams. Over the past three months, the teams attended training seminars and crafted business plans and product pitches. In collaboration with the TTO and NIRF, four teams were invited to present their product pitches to the Grants Committee.

Logo of the NIU FoundationThe winning teams will have one year to spend the money and move the projects closer to fruition.

Liu, of the Department of Electrical Engineering, will use the grant to assist in the commercialization of a wireless communication noise control system for infant incubators. The device will reduce external noise in the incubator (caused by life-sustaining equipment) and allow for two-way communication between infant and parent.

Sciammarella, of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, will use the grant to pursue partners in industry to adopt a computer-controlled laser technology process that he and colleagues developed to improve the machining of ceramic parts used in energy, transportation and metal-forming applications.