Success Story

  • A signature program of the Invent Penn State initiative, the Fund for Innovation aims to de-risk and accelerate the development of Penn State’s commercially promising research for the purposes of licensing or venture formation.

Invent Penn State’s Fund for Innovation Awards $75,000 in Jump Start Funding to New Venture Developed in Eberly College of Science

Since the 2015 launch of the Invent Penn State initiative the Fund for Innovation has partnered with Penn State’s academic colleges to back dozens of emerging Penn State technologies, providing mentorship, guidance and proof of concept funding along their path to potential commercialization. During that time 11 promising new ventures, born of the program, have been awarded an additional $75,000 in Jump Start funding from the Fund for Innovation.

NanoSpec Instruments, doing business as Magnitude Instruments, is the latest new venture to receive the Jump Start award. Led by associate professor of chemistry Dr. John Asbury in the Eberly College of Science, NanoSpec Instruments builds transient spectrometers with Penn State developed technology that benefits scientists and researchers in chemistry, physics, biology, and materials science.

Nanospec’s patent pending technologies aim to disrupt the current market for transient spectroscopy instrumentation by having higher performance, faster sample scan times, smaller overall footprint and less complexity than existing technologies. In addition, the technology broadens the scope of transient spectroscopy instrumentation while reducing the cost to purchase by 80 percent compared to existing technology.

The Fund for Innovation jointly administers awards in partnership with commercialization grant programs in the academic colleges, including the Eberly College of Science Lab Bench to Commercialization Program, the College of Agricultural Sciences RAIN Grant Program, and the College of Engineering ENGINE Grant Program. The College of Health and Human Development, the College of Education, and the College of Information Science and Technology have also participated. Inventors from all colleges are welcome to participate, and their innovations may receive grants at various stages of commercialization.

Along the way, the Invent Penn State team assists inventors in finding numerous resources, including accelerator programs like Happy Valley LaunchBox and the TechCelerator, Penn State Small Business Development Center resources, potential longer-term funding sources like Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and affordable operating space, like the incubator at Innovation Park.

Prior to receiving the $75,000 Fund for Innovation Jump Start award, during its technology development, NanoSpec received $50,000 from the Lab Bench to Commercialization program in Eberly and $25,000 from the Fund for Innovation for a total of $150,000 in funding.

The Fund for Innovation is one of many examples of the University’s commitment to becoming a world-class source of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Penn State faculty members interested in submitting a proposal to participate in the Fund for Innovation should contact the associate dean for research in their college.