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1st Source offers grants for research

Casey Kenny | Wednesday, November 10, 2010

In order to offer an incentive to bring university-based research to the marketplace, 1st Source Bank is sponsoring an annual award of up to $20,000 for Notre Dame and Indiana University School of Medicine South Bend (IUSM-SB) researchers who have successfully commercialized new technologies.

The award was established last year with a $1-million gift from 1st Source Bank and will be presented each year to a Notre Dame or IUSM-SB faculty member. The first award will be presented in the spring at an awards banquet, said chair of the selection committee Robert Bernhard, vice president for research at Notre Dame.

The selection committee will review nominations and select the winner.

“We are expecting a large pool of nominees whose research can yield great products or services,” Bernhard said. “We are looking for researchers with innovative research ideas who have disclosed it to the University, filed for a patent and are looking to take it to the next level.”

According to Bernhard, the award offers researchers the opportunity to explore ways in which their work can contribute to society.

Bernhard said Press Ganey — a health care performance improvement company headquartered in South Bend — resulted from the research in the 1980s of two Notre Dame professors who saw an opportunity to improve an industry area that desperately needed development.

“The two professors who started Press Ganey successfully commercialized their research and, as a result, the local and national community was greatly impacted,” Bernhard said.

Christopher Murphy, president and CEO of 1st Source Corporation, emphasized the significance of this kind of research and its potential impact.

“Innovation and entrepreneurship are critical for the growth of the community,” Murphy said. “Research without engagement in the marketplace is useless, and therefore it is important for research institutions to be players in the marketplace.”

The type of research to be awarded is expansive and covers everything from the sciences and engineering to the social sciences, according to Murphy.

“This award is a win-win-win for everyone,” Murphy said. “It is a win for the researchers, the University, the users of the commercialized research and the community in which the research can create jobs and improve lives.”

The 1st Source gift will also fund an annual symposium on the commercialization of technology and will bring commercialization experts to Notre Dame.