Above & Beyond


A well-deserved reputation for innovation

Louisiana Tech University is, once again, leading the way in measures of innovation productivity and delivering new ideas to the marketplace.

Tech ranked #2 in the nation amongst academic institutions in terms of innovation productivity as measured by number of new inventions generated per research dollar expended, according to a 2008 report released by the Association of University Technology Managers.

Louisiana Tech also ranked second nationally amongst academic institutions in terms of the rate of new spin-out or start-up companies.

Nearly 200 universities, hospitals, and research institutions took part in the survey of 2007 licensing activity. When normalizing for research expenditures, Louisiana Tech produced new inventions at a rate equivalent to 22.6 invention disclosures per $10 million in R&D expenditures and 14.1 start-ups per $100 million in R&D expenditures. Nationally, only Brigham Young University exceeded this output in each category.

"We cannot help but be amazed at the discoveries of our faculty and the breadth of their inventions," says Dr. Richard Kordal, director of Louisiana Tech's Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). "These inventions span a wide range of scientific disciplines from nanotechnology to biomedical engineering."

Eco-CarIn 2008, Tech had a total of 27 Reports of Invention (ROI) disclosed to the OIPC. This averages out to about 20 ROIs per $10 million of research and development expenditures, which is approximately five times the national average.

Six new patents were issued to Louisiana Tech in 2008, giving the university a total of 25. Of the newly issued patents, three of them have already been licensed to companies.

Louisiana Tech also filed a total of 18 new patent applications. One of these patent applications covered a new device, invented by Dr. Ville Kajaakari, that is placed in a shoe and that can harvest the power from walking motion to recharge batteries or other electronic devices.

Another application covered a method, invented by Drs. Henry Cardenas and Kelly Crittenden, for strengthening bone and/or repairing bone fractures more effectively.

Tech has signed nine new licenses/options during 2008 (5 licenses and 4 options) giving a percentage of licenses/option executed to ROIs received of 33%. In just the past five years, Louisiana Tech's license/options activity has more than quadrupled.

"Our researchers continue to produce innovative technologies that are of significant commercial interest," says Dr. Les Guice, vice president for research and development for Louisiana Tech. "Having those technologies licensed by Louisiana companies and start-ups is a major goal of ours."

In 2008, two new Louisiana-based start-up companies were formed based on technology licensed from Louisiana Tech. Both of these companies have opened offices in Tech's business incubator. With these new additions, Louisiana Tech's two business incubators are at full capacity.

The inventions at Louisiana Tech are capturing the attention of entrepreneurs, established companies and other potential partners and collaborators from around the nation.

"This is just another of a long line of examples of how Louisiana Tech has gained a strong reputation for innovation within the business community," states Kordal. "There are many programs and departments here at Tech are regarded as highly valuable assets within the community."

Education professor puts the "Tech" in Louisiana Tech

Education has come a long way from the days of the abacus and the inkwell.

Technology has now become the primary tool of the trade, and Dr. Lajeane Thomas, a professor in the College of Education, has been recognized as a trailblazer in this methodology.

eSchool News has selected Thomas as one of its "Ten Who've Made a Difference" in educational technology, calling those on the list "ed-tech movers and shakers."

The honor acknowledges the contributions of educators who have had a profound impact on educational technology in the last decade.

"Being a chair with International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) all of these years has provided me with the opportunity to touch a lot of people because of the standards that were developed," Thomas said.

Thomas shares the honor with people such as Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, One Laptop per Child Chairman Nicholas Negroponte and Linda G. Roberts, former special White House advisor on educational technology.

Thomas is passionate about technology in education because, she said, it cuts across the curriculum and creates a stronger community.

"We have the ability to reach beyond one subject area," Thomas said. "Whatever the subject area - science, social studies, math - technology is used as a port for education in those areas."

eSchool News said it chose Thomas because of her leadership in creating the nation's first set of standards which define what students should know and be able to do with technology. In 1998, the National Education Technology Standards for students were released, and the NETS for teachers and administrators were released shortly afterwards.

Last year, ITSE released an updated version of the standards for the students, and a revised version of the NETS for teachers will be released in June 2008. New NETS for administrators should follow in June 2009.


College of Business recognizes innovators, entrepreneurs in plan competition

A total of $11,000 in cash and prizes was awarded to some of Louisiana Tech's most innovative and entrepreneurial minds during the final round of the 2008 TOP DAWG Business Plan Competition.

Lady of the MistThe "Oilfield Diagnostics" team won first place and $4,000 with a plan for a new form of offshore pipe and platform inspection. Second place and $2,000 was awarded to the "Blue Green Fuels" team, who developed a plan for an alternative bio-fuel feed stock or oil that will be used to create bio-diesel. The "Brute Force" team won third place and $1,000 for an innovative product line of "automated spotting" power lifting equipment.

In addition to the cash awards, the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center provides incubator space valued at $4,500 for six months to the first, second, and third-place teams. The Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center provides facilities and support for the development and commercialization of the teams' ideas.

The $2,000 Jones Walker Entrepreneurial Spirit Award went to the "Unitext" team and their plan for an electronic notebook and textbook reader for college students.

The "Oilfield Diagnostics" team also won the $2,000 Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Best Presentation Award.

The annual TOP DAWG competition was established in 2002 and is sponsored by Louisiana Tech's College of Business, in association with the College of Engineering and Science, Center for Entrepreneurship and Information Technology (CEnIT) and the Association of Business, Engineering, and Science Entrepreneurs (ABESE).

The Center for Rural Development serves, strives for a better Louisiana

For the over 1.1 million people that live and the over 500,000 that work in rural Louisiana, Tech has your interests at heart.

Louisiana Tech University's Center for Rural Development (CRD) provides the state's community and economic leaders with a central point of contact for university-based research and outreach relevant to rural communities.

Housed in Tech's Office for Academic Affairs, the CRD responds to inquiries from the public regarding sources of technical assistance, data, grants and loans, and state and federal programs for rural development projects.

Outreach and training programs are provided to the public on issues related to rural community and economic development. Through its newsletter, Rural Louisiana, email and website communications, conference presentations, workshops, and trainings, the CRD provides resources and information essential to the future growth of Louisiana's rural regions.

The CRD encourages and assists researchers to both develop and to collaborate in projects that will benefit rural communities. In this work, the CRD's staff identifies sources of funding, assists in the development of proposals, and connects faculty and staff to rural community partners. It also provides assistance in use of technology such as digital cameras, scanners, and other resources to aid projects, and provides technical assistance to projects.

Architecture students provide designs for post-Katrina homes

Students from Louisiana Tech's School of Architecture students developed housing design prototypes for members of the New Orleans Gert Town community that was affected by Hurricane Katrina.

The students developed designs for two site-specific housing prototypes and a community house for the 170-year old Gert Town neighborhood located in mid-city New Orleans. The area is known historically for important jazz sites and is the home of Xavier University, light industry and small businesses.

Louisisna Tech"This project was a good opportunity for students to assist people in need within their state and to learn how to work with real clients to understand their needs," said Vibhavari Jani, chairwoman of the interior design program and one of two professors who directed students in this project. Kevin Singh, acting assistant professor of architecture, also worked with the project. Ten architecture and six interior design students worked on the designs.

"This is something students can't get in the classroom. In this project, there is a real sense of satisfaction from giving back to society."

Student designs were developed after consulting with residents and conducting demographic and environmental studies. The centerpiece of the student design will be what is known as a "friendship house," a concept from a model used in rehabilitating neighborhoods in Shreveport and Bossier City. This design combines public and private areas around a large central building where neighborhood leaders reside.