News

November

Baharah with mouse
UAF researcher Bahareh Barati demonstrates her prototype of an imaging device for laboratory animals in her office at the Engineering, Learning and Innovation Facility. UAF photo by Jeff Richardson.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks and U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office are teaming up to host the Arctic Advanced Manufacturing Innovator or AAMI Program. You are encouraged to apply for this program.

If selected as an Arctic innovator, you will be paired with a UAF researcher and a Department of Energy National Laboratory researcher who are well aligned with your hard technology focus area and who will serve as a mentor and collaborator for your project. You will also receive commercialization and entrepreneurial support from UAF.The University of Alaska Fairbanks and U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office are teaming up to host the Arctic Advanced Manufacturing Innovator or AAMI Program. You are encouraged to apply for this program.

The AAMI program supports early-career innovators with fresh ideas and innovative approaches to address fundamental hard technology (physical devices) manufacturing challenges in Alaska. You will have a unique opportunity to move your early-stage concept to commercialization with support from mentors.

Selected Arctic innovators will receive a competitive stipend ranging from $72,000 to $110,000 per year based on academic level and experience, as well as other benefits including training and travel, health insurance, relocation costs and lab space.

Innovators with strong ties to Alaska will be given preference. Learn more about this upcoming program at https://zintellect.com/Opportunity/Details/DOE-EERE-RPP-AMO-2019-1101.

Startup weekend

Fairbanks Startup Weekend will be led by UAF students this year, and four of the event organizers attended the Columbia Missouri Startup Weekend over the weekend of October 18.

Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event where you experience the highs, lows, fun and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders and sponsors who are ready to help you get started.

The UAF students participated in the Columbia event as a way to learn more about Startup Weekend from both the organizer’s side and the participant’s side. The four students joined different competing teams and worked on many different ideas.

The UAF students made such a great impression that they received a donation from the Columbia event organizers to help kick-off the Fairbanks Startup Weekend. The Fairbanks Startup Weekend kicks off on November 15. Go to http://fbxstartup.com for more information.

Dual Hood Winner
Riley Bickford (L) and Tom Marsik (R) receive their Arctic Kicker prize during the Arctic Innovation Competition. UAF photo by JR Ancheta.

At this year’s Arctic Innovation Competition, Riley Bickford and Tom Marsik  of UAF’s Alaska Center for Energy and Power pitched the Arctic Dual Hood for Heat Recovery Ventilation invention. The project was awarded a kicker prize of $2,000 for the best Arctic-related idea. With the cash and support from ACEP, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, the U.S. Office of Naval Research and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Bristol Bay Campus, the team plans to test a prototype this winter at the CCHRC Research and Testing Facility.

The goal is to create a combined intake/exhaust unit to simplify heat and energy recovery in cold climate ventilation systems.

The project started at CCHRC and gained speed when Bickford chose the idea as his undergraduate research endeavor. He received guidance from Marsik, who holds a joint position with ACEP and CCHRC.

The innovation also won the 2018–2019 Commercialization: Best Overall IDEAs Award at UAF. The Innovative Disclosures and Entrepreneurial Activities, or IDEAs, awards recognize entrepreneurial individuals who have developed innovative approaches to research, teaching and service.

Bickford graduated from UAF in spring 2019 and continues to work on the invention as an ACEP employee. The project team now includes CCHRC’s Vanessa Stevens, Robbin Garber-Slaght and Conor Sosebee.

For more information on the dual hood innovation, contact Riley Bickford at rjbickford@alaska.edu.

Startup week

Startup Week brings entrepreneurs, local leaders and friends together for one week to build momentum around Alaska’s entrepreneurial opportunities.

This is the third annual Alaska Startup Week. From November 18 to 24, events in Fairbanks and across the state will highlight Alaska entrepreneurs as well as programs and initiatives supporting innovation and commercialization. As with last year’s Startup Week, the events coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Find out more about the upcoming events during Startup Week at https://alaska.startupweek.co/.

If you are interested in holding an event in Fairbanks or getting involved in an existing event, please contact Fairbanks co-lead Peter Webley, pwwebley@alaska.edu.

UAS drone
UAS faculty member Christian Kienholz uses a drone to study outburst floods from Suicide Basin at the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. Photo by Eran Hood.

University of Alaska Southeast faculty Christian Kienholz, Eran Hood and Jason Amundson were recently awarded a grant from the Earth Science Instrumentation Program at the National Science Foundation to purchase two mapping-grade drones.

The drones will be used for a variety of environmental applications, including studying glacier outburst floods and glacier ice loss, quantifying snow accumulation in avalanche terrain, and looking at landscape evolution in glacier river valleys. UAS students will use the drones in a spring 2020 class entitled Using Drones for Environmental Monitoring taught by Hood and fellow UAS faculty member Sanjay Pyare.

Students will learn how to conduct drone campaigns as well as how to use structure-from-motion photogrammetry to model surface topography from photos captured during drone campaigns. The class will also prepare students for the drone pilot exam administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. Future plans include establishing a drone lab at UAS to enhance student and faculty opportunities to study environmental change in southeast Alaska.

Matthew Sturm
Matthew Sturm, a snow expert and geophysicist with the UAF Geophysical Institute, was inducted into the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame in 2019. Photo courtesy of M. Sturm.

The Alaska State Committee for Research invites interested persons to nominate outstanding science, engineering and technology innovators to be inducted into the SCoR Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame. Nominees selected by SCoR will be members of the 2020 class and will be inducted at the Innovation Summit in Juneau on February 26 and 27, 2020. Nominations must be submitted no later than November 15, 2019.

SCoR created the Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame in 2014 to celebrate and honor outstanding individuals who put Alaska on the map as leaders in innovation and to contribute to Alaska’s growing culture of innovation.

The SCoR Alaska Innovators Hall of Fame selection subcommittee will review nomination documents and publicly available information about nominees to develop a list of recommended inductees. This list will then be submitted to the full SCoR committee for consideration and selection. The University of Alaska vice president for academic and student affairs will notify all nominees of their selection status.

hAKathon
Screenshot taken of the Fairbanks contingent from the hAKathon’s live feed.

UAF Hackathon Club and the Alaska Developer Alliance hosted the first statewide hAKathon on October 11, 2019.

The event had locations in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau. This year there were nearly 50 participants in Fairbanks and almost 100 across Alaska in 15 teams.  

The participants worked on a variety of innovative projects, ranging from an automated drone that could identify and put out forest fires to an inexpensive indoor door opener, which won the Startup Idea Pitch award.

Every team won an award, including a pair of Servo-driven glasses that would protect you from seeing scary things during the month of October, which won the Most Straight-up Hilarious and Conversation Starter prize.

Madara Mason
Madara Mason will be a University Innovation Fellow through Stanford’s d.school. Photo by Lindsay Saunders.
UAF eCampus’ Madara Mason was recently accepted and received a scholarship to participate in the 2019 University Innovation Fellows program through Stanford's d.school.

The UIF program empowers students around the world to become agents of change in higher education. Fellows create opportunities that help their peers unlock their creative potential and develop the design-centered mindset required to take on complex challenges in today’s world.

The fellowship begins with a six-week online training program, followed by an in-person workshop at the Silicon Valley meetup.  At the meetup, fellows connect with one another to build on their online training. They also receive year-round mentoring and represent their university program at national conferences and events.

Next summer, Mason will attend the in-person workshop, bringing back what she learns to the teaching faculty at UAF in a series of workshops.

AIC Todd Krieg
AIC winner Todd Krieg as awarded $10,000 for his fish wheel salmon selector. Photo by JR Ancheta.
The competition, now in its 11th year, invites innovators to propose new, feasible and potentially profitable ideas for solving real-life problems and challenges.The UAF School of Management awarded $30,000 in cash prizes after the 2019 Arctic Innovation Competition's Final Four presentations on Saturday, October 19.

The top prize of $10,000 in the main division, for ages 18 and up, was awarded to Todd Krieg for fish wheel salmon selector. The selector improves on the classic fish wheel by safely returning coho and chinook salmon to the river to continue spawning while allowing other, more abundant species to be harvested. Other winners included a marine mammal attractant dispensing method to guide them away from oil spills, and a high school virtual hall pass.

Visit http://arcticinno.com/ for full details.