EDGE Policy Board approves projects totaling more than
$7.3 million to stimulate economic growth
OKLAHOMA CITY- The Economic Development Generating Excellence (EDGE) initiative consists of a $150 million endowment dedicated to supporting applied research and technology commercialization that will lead to more technology-based, high-paying jobs in Oklahoma. The EDGE Policy Board recently approved five projects totaling more than $7.3 million. This annual endeavor is designed specifically to stimulate Oklahoma’s economy.
Paul Risser, executive director of the EDGE Policy Board, said this second year of funding is important for expanding Oklahoma’s technology-based economy.
“This action, coupled with other economic development efforts in the state, tells the world that Oklahoma recognizes that technology and innovation drive business development and growth, and that the state is willing to make these key investments,” Risser said.
Earnings from the $150 million EDGE Fund endowment, approved by the state legislature in 2006, are used to fund the projects. The areas of investment included agriculture, aerospace, biotechnology, energy, information technology and telecommunications, nanotechnology, sensors and weather science.
“Oklahoma only creates new wealth for its citizens if there is a net inflow of dollars from outside the state,” said Risser. “Dollars flow into Oklahoma as researchers create technologies that are sought by out-of-state buyers or as businesses use the latest technologies to produce and market Oklahoma’s valuable goods and services. All these processes are driven by innovative technologies, and innovative technologies are produced by applied research.”
Selection of these five winning proposals followed an extensive evaluation process. Sixty-five pre-proposals were evaluated by the policy board and its nationwide advisory committee. Thirteen proposals were reviewed by technical experts and the advisory committee who provided the policy board with their review and recommendations.
The five projects approved for funding are:
Oklahoma Flight Innovation, Research and Testing-Unmanned Aerial Systems ($1,500,000, two years)
Led by the University Multispectral Laboratories in Ponca City and Oklahoma State University, the project will create a testing facility at Fort Sill in Lawton that allows flight and ground of unmanned aerial systems within restricted airspace. Companies and other organizations will contract to use the facility. The consortium includes several private companies and the NASA Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium.
Utilizing Oklahoma Resources to Develop Novel Therapeutics for Chron’s Disease ($1,755,850, two years)
Led by Selexys Pharmaceuticals, Corporation in Oklahoma City with several partners (Cytovance Biologics, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research), the project will develop a treatment of Crohn’s Disease. The therapeutic under development is a fully human monoclonal antibody for the treatment of Crohn’s Disease. The molecular basis for the treatment was discovered by Drs. Rodger McEver and Richard Cummings at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and licensed exclusively to Selexys.
Boosting Oklahoma Oil Production Using Next Generation Surfactant Technology (2,000,000, three years)
Led by the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, with Mid Con Energy of Tulsa, the project will use chemical flooding technology from laboratories at the University of Oklahoma, based on self-assembling, nano-structured surfactant membranes at the oil/water interface, to extract additional oil from poorly producing oil wells. This technology has the potential within 5 to 10 years to increase oil production from Oklahoma’s current rate of approximately 60 million barrels a year to perhaps 100 million barrels per year. The partners will create Chemical Flooding Technologies Consultants (CFT) to identify promising fields, develop and test chemical flood designs, and implement chemical flooding technology in Oklahoma.
Health Information Exchange Platform ($500,000, one year)
Led by the University of Oklahoma School of Community Medicine in Tulsa, with Benefit Informatics, Inc, a Tulsa technology company. Others involved include several companies (SMRTNET,IBM, DocVia, MedUnison), the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the Greater Tulsa Health Access Network. The goal of the project is to create a software system called the Health Information Exchange Platform (HEIP) that will connect the numerous health information exchanges with multiple healthcare applications. This connection will enable insurance companies, doctors, nurses, hospitals, and other health care providers to easily share information.
Nano-Engineered Infrared Sensors ($1,574,198, three years)
Led by Amethyst Research in Ardmore, the project will create nano-engineered infrared sensors for devices such as night vision goggles, using a proprietary, silicon based technology. This technology will enable the production of devices that are far cheaper and operate more efficiently than current technology. The project involves research and testing at Amethyst Research in Ardmore, the OSU campus in Tulsa and the University Multispectral Laboratories (UML) is in Ponca City. In addition, the Oklahoma Sensor Alliance will be organized including researchers at OSU, OU, Tulsa University and others.
The Economic Developing Generating Excellence (EDGE) program was created by Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry. In 2006, the state Legislature invested $150,000 in the EDGE endowment. The mission of the EDGE Policy Board is to bolster Oklahoma’s long-term economic growth by investing the earnings from the EDGE endowment in the state’s knowledge infrastructure. Technology-based research and development, commercialization of technology and entrepreneurial business successes attract capital, create more high-paying jobs, expand and diversify the state’s economy, and provide greater prosperity for Oklahomans now and in the future. Each year, the earnings from the endowment are invested in technology-based economic development in Oklahoma.