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Working at CSU

Researcher wins grants with help from CSU Ventures

June 10, 2014
Kortny Rolston

Though he's worked at Colorado State University less than a year, Arun Kota could be a poster child for how CSU Ventures can aid researchers. The mechanical engineering professor has won two grants - both of which required Colorado-based industrial partners - with the help of CSU Ventures, the technology transfer and commercialization agent for the University.

The grants were funded through the state of Colorado’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Programs, which were created in 2013 to spur growth in high-tech industries and promote public-private partnerships.

Kota, who develops coatings for a variety of products, is teaming with Symbios Technologies, a Fort Collins-based company to develop a filter that better separates butanol -  a biofuel made from fermentation broth - from water.

CSU Ventures helped me find a way to work with Symbios and get the project funded,” he said.

Kota is working with another Colorado-based company, Oliver Manufacturing, through his second AI-funded grant – a relationship that CSU Ventures also helped foster.

The La Junta-based company sells drying equipment and systems and also dries and processes products – including seeds – for customers.

Many of the seeds are dressed with different colors to deter birds from eating them as they are planted in the field.

These dressings cause the seeds to stick to the drying equipment, complicating the drying process.

“We will provide them a non-stick coating that keeps the seeds from adhering to the drying equipment,” Kota said.

"Invaluable" help

Kota first met with CSU Ventures last fall and has since used the organization to find industrial partners and identify potential funding sources.

He said the help has been invaluable.

“It really benefits someone like me who is new to Colorado and CSU,” he said.

CSU Ventures, which was spun off in 2007, is an independent organization dedicated to commercializing research conducted at the University.

And while most researchers realize that CSU Ventures can assist them if they want to start their own company or protect intellectual property, many don’t realize the organization can also help them find new funding sources or industry partners, said Jeremy Nelson, a director of licensing and business development.

“These are areas in which we can help,” he said. “It’s what we are here to do. Dr. Kota’s successes are evidence of that."