MIRTA 3.0 teams complete two-day boot camp

Four faculty-led innovation teams are in the third cohort of the Maine Innovation, Research and Technology Accelerator (MIRTA). The teams recently completed an immersive two-day boot camp designed to introduce them to all aspects of the commercialization process. The teams are:

  • Salty Spoon, a smart spoon that can enhance flavor, led by Nimesha Ranasinghe, UMaine assistant professor of spatial informatics, with graduate students Chamath Amarasinghe and Meetha James
  • RegenBlu, harnessing the natural bioactive compounds extracted from wild blueberries to promote wound healing and tissue regeneration while decreasing inflammation, led by Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, UMaine professor of clinical nutrition, with graduate student Natalie VandenAkker
  • The Coparent Co-op, a mobile app-based intervention program to help parents successfully resolve areas of conflict and build a productive coparental relationship, led by Daniel Puhlman, UMaine assistant professor of family studies, with undergraduate Emma Richardson
  • Gorham Lamp, a novel microscope and benchtop light that combines multiple lighting techniques (brightfield, darkfield, transmitted illumination, etc.) in a single cost-saving and space-saving device, led by Joseph Staples, assistant professor of environmental science at the University of Southern Maine, with graduate student Jeremy Zuckero and undergraduate Marcus McCue

This is the third cohort of inventors to be part of MIRTA, which was made possible by the University of Maine System Research Reinvestment Fund. The fund is a pool of competitive internal grants allocated to advance research projects along the path from discovery to becoming commercial products with public benefit. All projects are tied to Maine businesses or industries critical to the future of the state.

The teams work 20 hours a week for 16 weeks doing the market research, intellectual property analysis and business model development to bring their invention to market. Guiding them throughout the process are business incubation staff from UMaine’s Office of Innovation and Economic Development.

In addition, each team has an advisory committee of industry and technology experts who provide feedback and advice. The teams are eligible for up to $25,000 each to help develop commercialization implementation plans.

Commercialization plans vary depending on the type of invention a team brings to MIRTA, and the end result could be starting a new company or licensing to an existing one.

From the nine teams in the first two MIRTA cohorts, four new startups have been formed and a fifth is in progress. Four projects have expanded industry collaborations. The teams have collectively raised more than $500,000 in external funding to support ongoing commercialization.

Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745