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DRI, Jordanian teams jointly seek to commercialize research

John Seelmeyer

Researchers in Reno and their colleagues in the Jordanian capital of Amman are looking for ways that they might jointly find commercial applications for their discoveries.

The project brings together researchers from Nevada’s Desert Research Institute and Jordan’s Energy Water Environment Clean Technology Center Research Institute.

Within coming weeks, they expect begin identifying one or two products that they could jointly bring to market.

Both institutes know something about desert climates Reno gets about 7.5 inches of precipitation annually, Amman receives 12 inches and researchers from both institutes have done much work on water conservation technologies.

But like DRI, the Jordanian institute also is studying a wide range of promising technologies ranging from clean energy production to environmental monitoring.

And like the staff of DRI, the Jordanian researchers are eager to find commercial applications for their work.

The joint effort is drawing close attention from the experts responsible for developing new jobs and new companies in northern Nevada.

“Joint collaboration and commercialization efforts between the Nevada System of Higher Education, specifically the University of Nevada, Reno, the Desert Research Institute and foreign universities is integral for this community as we strive to create quality jobs for our region,” says Tom Matter, business development manager for the Economic Development Authority of Western Nevada. “These types of partnerships can potentially expedite the commercialization of technology from our universities into local companies that will be exporting products and expertise into international markets.”

Alan Gertler, the director of DRI’s Clean Technologies and Renewable Energy Center, spearheaded the combination. He’s active in the international scientific community and learned about the work at the Energy Water Environment Clean Technology Center Research Institute.

The institute is a cluster within the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan.

Like DRI, the environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education, which receives only a portion of its financial support directly from the government, the Jordanian institute relies on research grants for the bulk of its funding.

Development of commercial products from the research promises to generate new streams of licensing and royalties revenues for both institutes at the same time that it creates new jobs in the private sector.

DRI recently designated the Center for Unique Business Enterprises the CUBE in downtown Reno as its incubator for new companies that commercialize technologies developed in its laboratories.

The Jordanian institute, meanwhile, works with three incubators that seek to commercialize its research findings.

A delegation of nine researchers visited the CUBE last month to learn more about how American incubators assist young companies and to take a first-hand look at some of the research under way at DRI and the CUBE.

“As a next step, the CUBE is developing a list of potential joint development and commercial opportunities,” said Lynne Keller, executive director of the CUBE.

From there, the international team will select one or two for a focused commercialization effort.