USTAR Announces 20 UTAG Awardees from Five Utah Universities

USTAR LogoThe Utah Science Technology and Research initiative has awarded 20 researchers grants in the first round of its University Technology Acceleration Grant program. 

Awarded researchers span the state’s targeted technology sectors from energy and clean technology to life sciences, automation and robotics, big data, and advanced materials. USTAR anticipates awarding a total of $3.5 million in fiscal year 2017.  Technology development projects from the Brigham Young University, University of Utah, Utah State University, Utah Valley University and Weber State University were all chosen for the first round of UTAG grants.

UTAG is a competitive research grant program, available to individual researchers or ad-hoc teams employed by Utah colleges or universities, to advance the maturity of or de-risk technology that has been developed in university labs.  It funds critical steps in the process of taking a technology from an idea to market.

“USTAR received more than 75 applications for UTAG, greater than our initial budget for this round of funding” said Ivy Estabrooke, executive director of USTAR. “What’s unique with the UTAG grants, is that actual technology is being funded. Technologies ranging from techniques to maximize oil retrieval from oil fields to cell sheets that can repair hearts.”

Awardees for this round include: 

Young-Min Lee, Utah State University; Randy Lewis, Utah State University; Tianbiao Liu; Utah State University; Marc Maguire, Utah State University; Teru Okanu, Utah State University; Jon Takemoto, Utah State University; Stephen Whitmore, Utah State University; Chris Winstead, Utah State University; Jixun Zhan, Utah State University; John Sohl, Weber State University; Danny Chou, University of Utah; Shawn Owen, University of Utah; Amit Patel, University of Utah; Raj Rajamani, University of Utah; Alistair Ward, University of Utah; Clayton Williams, University of Utah; Steven Castle, Brigham Young University; John Hedengren, Brigham Young University; Brian Mazzeo, Brigham Young University and Timothy Doyle, Utah Valley University.

UTAG supports research and development of specific technologies that have significant commercial potential, but need additional development before they can be spun out from the university setting. This funding addresses an innovation ecosystem gap between federal research dollars and angel investment, the “valley of death.”

USTAR will open a call for proposals for the second round of the program in late January. For more information and forthcoming details, visit