UW–Madison innovators awarded PRIME funds

Discovery to Product (D2P) has awarded funds to five campus teams through their Piloting Research Innovation & Market Exploration (PRIME) grant program. The PRIME funding will allow the teams to undertake research to overcome critical market risk milestones, validate potential customer acceptance, and generate private and public funding. This is the second year of the PRIME grant program. Teams funded in the first year of the program have raised over $15 million in additional funding for the translation and commercialization of their technologies since being awarded PRIME funding.

“I’m pleased we can offer this grant assistance in addition to D2P’s SEED and Draper-TIF grants,” says D2P interim director Abram Becker. “These PRIME grants will support teams across campus as they work to advance their projects’ commercialization journeys toward broader impact to advance the economy of the state of Wisconsin and beyond.”

Awardee Joshua D. Roth, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation, says: “I’m grateful for this funding to support the continued development and validation of our ligament tensiometer.” Josh’s Ligometers team has participated in D2P’s Innovation to Market and Igniter cohorts and both the regional National Science Foundation (NSF) Medical Jumpstart I-Corps program and the national NSF I-Corps Program.

The UW–Madison projects selected for funding by the PRIME program for FY2024 are:

Lianyi Chen (associate professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering) will work to build and test an efficient powder spreadability testing system designed to qualify powders used in 3D printing. He will also evaluate the viability of commercialization of the test units and associated services.

Jonathan Eckhardt (professor, Management & Human Resources, Wisconsin School of Business; Discovery Fellow, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery) and team will work to develop a software platform to help universities improve the prevalence and quality of student entrepreneurship.

Joshua D. Roth (assistant professor, Department of Orthopedics & Rehabilitation) will further develop an orthopedic medical device for measuring ligament tension during knee replacement surgery to enable more personalized, direct and accurate measurements.

Darryl Thelen (professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering) will develop an affordable, wearable sensor that can directly monitor muscle tendon loading to improve athletic performance assessment, evaluate injury, and track functional recovery during rehabilitation.

Giulio Tononi (professor, Department of Psychiatry) will enhance the usability of their consciousness measurement device to enable better-informed clinical decisions about life-sustaining therapy in behaviorally unresponsive patients.

Learn more about the PRIME grant: https://d2p.wisc.edu/funding/prime/

About Discovery to Product (D2P)
Discovery to Product (D2P) is the front door to UW–Madison’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, coordinating the Innovate Network to connect faculty, staff, and students with the right resources at the right time. D2P provides mentorship, education, funding, and guidance to support UW–Madison’s growing community of entrepreneurs and inventors. For more information, visit d2p.wisc.edu and innovate.wisc.edu.