COLUMBIA — The Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII), which facilitates technology transfer from university labs to start-up companies, announced its board of directors elected Robert Hallenbeck as chair and Patrick O’Shea as vice chair. The MII board also announced the inception of two new programs that will provide funding to support the commercialization of technologies at five qualifying Maryland universities and introduced its new program manager, Jennifer Hammaker.

In addition to serving as chair of the MII board of directors, Hallenbeck is a vice president of BD Biosciences, a segment of global medical technology company BD, where he is responsible for the strategy, performance and operations of the Advanced Bioprocessing platform. MII vice chair O’Shea is the vice president and chief research officer at the University of Maryland College Park and is a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The Innovation Discovery Program and the Innovation Commercialization Program are now underway. The Innovation Discovery Program provides funding that will enable qualifying state universities to engage “Site Miners,” who will be tech commercialization experts responsible for identifying promising technologies and fostering collaborations across departments, schools and institutions to maximize the commercial potential of Maryland’s scientific discoveries.

The Innovation Commercialization Program will provide funding to support the commercialization of qualified university technologies at three distinct stages: pre-commercial translational research (Phase I), commercialization planning (Phase II) and early-stage product development (Phase III). Under the Innovation Commercialization Program, total awards of up to $215,000 will be available to projects taking place at a single qualifying university, while total awards of up to $270,000 will be available to joint applications between one or more qualifying universities. Requests for Applications to the program were released today and can be accessed at http://www.marylandtedco.org/publications/MDInnovationInitiative.cfm.

“I’m extremely pleased to join the board of directors of the Maryland Innovation Initiative in announcing its inaugural programs, which are designed to take advantage of the huge wealth of university research and entrepreneurial spirit in our State,” said Gov. Martin O’Malley. “The Maryland Innovation Initiative is poised to partner technology companies with some of the best universities in the country to translate Maryland’s unparalleled university research into marketable products and services. Under the leadership of Chairman Robert Hallenbeck, I am confident that the Maryland Innovation Initiative will give a substantial boost to our state’s economic development.”

“It is an honor to serve on the Maryland Innovation Initiative board of directors, and an even greater honor to be elected to chair an initiative that seeks to capitalize on the incredible breadth and depth of research produced in the State,” said Hallenbeck. “The Innovation Discovery Program and Innovation Commercialization Program will allow us to tap into the creativity and expertise of university researchers to produce new, high-tech Maryland companies and jobs.”

TEDCO hired Hammaker to manage the MII program. Starting Nov. 5, she will apply her extensive technology business development expertise to developing this new initiative. Before joining TEDCO, Hammaker was the associate director of business development at Penn State College of Medicine’s Office of Technology Development and the director of business development at the Innovation Transfer Network at Penn State’s Harrisburg campus. She also worked as a regional director at Ben Franklin Technology Partners in Pennsylvania.

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