Texas Tech University

Innovation Showcase and Demo Day Put Focus on West Texas Innovation

Glenys Young

May 12, 2015

The university will bring together innovators, investors and regional economic development partners to celebrate and promote entrepreneurial opportunities.

Event will be held at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts.

Texas Tech University's Office of Research Commercialization will host the West Texas Innovation Showcase to honor local innovators while connecting them with people who can help take their innovations to market. 

“We're inviting investors, companies and economic development partners who are critical to moving university and regional inventions to the marketplace.  They've been key to supporting the university's growth in the area of innovation,” said Russell Thomasson, associate vice president for research commercialization. “All these groups are critical to the innovation ecosystem we are building in West Texas.  We hope the showcase will foster further collaboration among all groups represented.”

During the event, which starts at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday (May 13) at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, Thomasson will give an overview of the innovation successes already achieved at Texas Tech and throughout West Texas.

Robert V. Duncan, senior vice president for research at Texas Tech University, and Michael Conn, senior vice president for research and associate provost for the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, will recognize innovators from their respective universities.

Five Texas Tech faculty members have received U.S. patents since 2010:

  • Waylon House, director of MRI-PAC, petroleum engineering
  • Donald Lie, Keh-Shew Lu Regents Chair in electrical & computer engineering
  • Uzi Mann, professor, chemical engineering
  • J. Nelson Rushton, associate professor, computer science
  • Robert Shaw, associate professor, chemistry & biochemistry

At least 11 inventors have licensed technologies to for-profit companies since Sept. 1, 2013:

More than 100 university faculty members disclosed inventions during that same time period, 65 from Texas Tech and 36 from the Health Sciences Center.

The keynote address will be given by Rathindra “Babu” DasGupta, lead program director for the National Science Foundation's Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.

“Dr. DasGupta is going to talk primarily about the NSF I-Corps program, which is a commercialization program that helps inventors move their inventions from the lab to the market,” said William Lowry, associate director of the Texas Tech Accelerator, which launches startups based on technologies discovered and developed in Texas Tech research labs. “I-Corps is mainly about engaging with industry and talking to potential customers, competitors, partners, etc. His advice would benefit any innovator in the room who may be interested in applying to the program, which is rapidly growing across the country.” 

“Federal agencies like the NSF are seeking to leverage university funded research into commercial applications and products,” Thomasson added.

Accelerator Demo Day
From 2-5 p.m. Wednesday (May 13) at LHUCA's Firehouse Theatre, Accelerator venture teams will pitch their ideas for new products to an audience that includes venture capitalists, angel investors and regional economic development representatives from the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce, the city of Lubbock, Reese Technology Center and other start-up companies.

Keynote speakers will be Ben and Eric Kusin, who made a deal for their Reviver Clothing Swipes on the reality TV show “Shark Tank.”

“They're going to talk about their experiences as entrepreneurs, their work with the company they run and tell some stories from their time on ‘Shark Tank,'” Lowry said.