Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Big Impact: Conference in Oklahoma City to Explore Nanotechnology

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Big Impact: Conference in Oklahoma City to Explore Nanotechnology

Article excerpt

Nanotechnology has found itself under a magnifying glass this month in Oklahoma.

Nanotechnology, which uses materials at the tiniest of scales - one nanometer is about 40,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair - continues gaining a stronghold in Oklahoma. On Jan. 14, the annual NanoFocus conference will feature many of the nearly 60 local companies that have used nanotechnology to better their products, along with a national leader in the field. A few weeks later, on Jan. 26, statements of intent are due for companies that want to nab some of the hundreds of thousands in state money available to help them incorporate nanotechnology into their work.

"Oklahoma is viewed as one of the leaders in applications of nanotechnology," said Jim Mason, executive director of the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Initiative. "Many states are still focused on doing research into nanotechnology. We're one of the few states that are focused heavily on applying nanotechnology discoveries to create products."

This year marks the fifth round of funding for the Oklahoma Nanotechnology Applications Project, or ONAP. The program is administered through OCAST, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Over the life of the program, OCAST has awarded $2,441,556 in state money, said Steve Paris, OCAST staff member. The grants must be matched dollar for dollar, and companies also use them to attract money from other federal and business sources. Paris said the ratio is $15.72 for every dollar the state contributes.

After statements of intents are due this month, full proposals must be turned in by March. Awards for ONAP go up to $500,000, depending on the project and its length of time.

Mason said ONAP grants differ from other OCAST programs in that the money goes directly to the company, not a researcher.

"The company then contracts with whatever researchers they want to - whoever has the technology they need," Mason said. "Most other grants go to the researcher, who often partners with a company because the company comes up the cash for the match. ONAP is unique because it's the company we're trying to get jump-started. …

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