U of H’s Bose Focused on Bringing Innovation to Market
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a high-performance supercomputing center because this is an era where you’re going to be dealing with terabytes and terabytes of data, whether they are human genomic data or they’re business transactions or they are oil field data that are coming in.
How do you take that humungous information and mine those data in a way that people like you and me can understand? That’s in the process of being built. It might take $30 to $35 million to put that together but we can do that.
X: How much commercialization does U of H have? In which sectors?
B: We are identifying our top 10 technologies out of all the patents we have. We are doing well in health sciences and in the energy area. This year we’ll be getting over $15 million in royalty income and that will come from both pharmaceutical products and also from a variety of energy technology. My projection is that in next five years, we might be able to get $50 million year, from $15 million to $50 million. Compare this to when I arrived here two years ago; it was $8 million a year. We have had an almost 100 percent increase in two years.
For any technology that our faculty develops, the university is creating a fund to further develop that technology so that outside entities will be attracted to that technology. So it’s not just having patents but being able to show the folks that the patents indeed do work and these are the applications. We can do prototypes for engineering devices or we can do preclinical work for drugs. I’m thinking about $10 million or so that we’ll be investing, for investing and for bringing in outside partners: “OK, since you are serious about spending your own money, why don’t we add to your money?”
Also, in our Center for Entrepreneurship program, we train 200 undergraduate students here. We’re reaching out to them and giving them the earliest technologies and saying, give us a business plan. It’s a partnership between my office and the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Bauer College. That’s going to give me a lot more needed help.
X: What are the notable centers for innovation at U of H?
B: We have Energy Research Park, ERP. This is a 700,000 square-foot facility with 20 buildings. Some of these buildings we are finishing up to create incubators for different businesses. If I tell them [young startups using U of H technology] I can also give them office space, access to our labs, they could do further development that’s going to be very attractive to us. We just leased a space to a company for solar cells; this is our own technology, which has been licensed to some investors in Ireland. They’re putting their manufacturing plant in the ERP.
One of the exciting technologies that I’m working on is superconducting technology developed by SuperPower, a subsidiary of Furakawa Electric Company of Japan. This is a $60 billion technology, licensed to them that we are developing together. They moved from New York and they are working with our faculty, our graduate students, and postdocs side-by-side to really do mass production of superconducting wire and cables.
High-temperature superconducting materials were discovered here at U of H back in 1986 by physics professor Paul Chu. We have the Texas Center for Superconductivity. The university and the state of Texas have spent a significant amount of money to take that technology from the laboratory to the marketplace. So now we have a technology; we can produce superconducting cable. This is a nine-layer technology and it is 300 times more efficient than copper wire. There is very little resistance to take electricity from point A to point B; you don’t lose any power transmitting.
We want to have a demonstration project in that we can have our own power grid and wire up our own buildings and show the rest of the world that this superconducting technology indeed works. You have to put it underground and it still requires cooling, but … Next Page »