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New CSU Ventures program funds research in Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

March 13, 2014
Kortny Rolston

New hospital gowns designed for better comfort and function. A computer-based tool that measures preschoolers' motivation to learn. Developing a school-based violence and bullying prevention curriculum. Those are just a few of the projects CSU Ventures, the technology commercialization agent for Colorado State University, is funding through its new Creative Works Awards program.

CSU Ventures launched the new program this year to support innovative research projects in the social sciences, humanities and the arts – areas that often fall outside of the traditional focus of most technology transfer offices.

“Innovation isn’t limited to just engineering or chemistry, it occurs in many fields and disciplines,” said Rodman Tompkins, director of licensing and business development for CSU Ventures. “We wanted to support projects with the potential to have a social impact,that are validated by experimentation.”

CSU Ventures awarded more than $40,000 to six different projects through the Creative Works Awards program. Campus Corps  will use its $5,000 Creative Works grant to create training materials. Campus Corps is a service learning course in the College of Health and Human Sciences where CSU students serve as mentors to their at-risk peers.

Four of the grants went to professors in the College of Health and Human Sciences

“Our core mission is to promote health. I am so pleased that the innovative work our faculty is doing will be available to a broader constituency through commercialization enhancements made possible through this funding,” said Jeff McCubbin, dean of the college.

Selected projects

CSU Ventures awarded:

  • $13,044 to Juyeon Park, a design and merchandising professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences, to develop a new line of hospital gowns to replace the “one-size-fits-all” version that was introduced in the 1920s and is still used today.
     
  • $5,500 to Joseph Patrick Cannon and Brian Fugate, marketing and business management professors in the College of Business, to test ACTIV82LEARN, a web-based software application that provides online-instructors a platform to deliver course materials through active-learning methods.
     
  • $5,950 to George Morgan, education professor, and Karen Barrett, human development and family studies professor, both in the College of Health and Human Sciences, to test a computer-based tool that measures preschoolers’ motivation to learn and whether they are ready for school.
     
  • $5,000 to Toni Schindler Zimmerman, Shelley Haddock, and Jen Krafchick, human development and family studies professors in the College of Health and Human Sciences, to expand the CSU Campus Corps model to other universities. Campus Corps is a service learning course where CSU students serve as mentors to their at-risk peers. The project will formalize training and create training materials for the program.
     
  • $6,300 to Antero Garcia, an English professor in the College of Liberal Arts, to develop the Educator’s Design Toolkit, a packaged collection of games and guides for educators so they can create and implement games to aid learning.
     
  • $5,000 to Nathaniel Riggs, a human development and family studies professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences, to further develop the evaluation of Connected Minds, a school-based violence and bullying prevention curriculum.

The projects were selected after a rigorous internal and external review.

Goal of Creative Works

The goal of the Creative Works program is to help fill the gap between the fundamental research funded mostly by federal grants and the market place.  This type of proof-of-concept fund, which requires a relatively small investment, can be important and have a big impact, said Todd Headley, president of CSU Ventures.

“The financial support we are providing will help these researchers advance their product or program to the point they can be deployed to a wider audience,” he said. “That is part of our mission as a land grant institution – to disseminate knowledge gained from research and transfer it to the marketplace for the benefit of the public.”