Bringing business to research technology

By Kelly McCarthy

October 31, 2013 Updated Oct 31, 2013 at 7:07 PM EDT

Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Binghamton University and other schools are getting the opportunity to take what's done in the research labs, and turn it into a marketable business.

Congressman Richard Hanna on Thursday stopped in the Southern Tier to push for a bill he said will help scientists bring their ideas to the community.

The TRANSFER Act of 2013 will make grants available for university research departments to move their inventions and ideas into the business world.

"It allows the grantee to use a portion of their money as they see fit," said Richard Hanna, R-Barneveld, "To help entrepreneurs or themselves actually to put the rubber where the road is, to allow businesses to become businesses."

Hanna said the grants will be around $50,000 each. Binghamton University said $50,000 is enough to keep a graduate student on research for a full year.

Professors said there is a well-known gap in funding between lab research and commercializing material to hit the markets.

"If you don't fill that gap with funding you just keep things in the lab," said Bahgat Sammakia, vice president of Research at BU, "They never make it to the market place unless, as the congressman pointed out, some other country looks at our inventions and our ideas and takes them and commercializes them, and that's really not what we want to happen."

Some of the research they're working on now is creating bio-films to improve cancer treatments and creating sensors to better detect early stages of cancer.

"We've made a discovery in some of our basic research," Susan Bane, Chemistry Professor at Binghamton University, "That turns out that it looks like something that could be extremely useful in multiple different places and it's quite marketable. But we can't go into that direction with our money, because our money is for basic research."

Hanna is a co-sponsor of The TRANSFER Act and it's before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.