MTRAC Advanced Transportation Hub Funding Awards

U-M MTRAC Advanced Transportation Hub Announces 2021-2022 Funding Awards for High-Tech Mobility Projects

By Courtney Overbey

ANN ARBOR, Mich., August 30, 2021 — The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Advanced Transportation Hub at the University of Michigan announced 2021-2022 awards totaling over $600,000 for diverse high-tech, early-stage mobility projects led by researchers at Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech and the University of Michigan. These projects target future advanced transportation technology needs, offering new high-tech solutions to increase the efficiency, safety and sustainability of moving people and goods.

Awarded researchers worked through a six-month multistage selection process, including presenting their final proposals and pitch to an oversight committee composed of transportation industry experts, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. The researchers will receive grant funding, mentorship support from the committee members, support to identify follow-on funding, as well as mentors with deep technical and industry knowledge to assist project progress through milestones critical to commercialization.

2021 awarded projects include:

  • Scaling on-site production and separation of green hydrogen through solar technology for commercial viability
  • Optimizing power processing in heterogeneous energy storage systems from retired electric vehicle batteries for second use
  • Development of Sustainable Lignin-Based Polyurethane Flexible Foams for Automotive, Furniture, and Packaging Applications.
  • Commercialization of hardware agnostic ADAS perception software that enables safe vehicle operation in snow-covered road conditions.
  • Development of Wire Arc Additive 3-D Printing of Conformally Cooled Die Cast Production Tools
  • Commercializing dendrite suppressing battery separator technology development at competitive cost to industry standards

“The 2021-2022 projects selected reflect a broad spectrum of transformative technologies impacting the mobility sector including electrification, connectivity, and manufacturing,” said Anne Partington, Director of MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation at the University of Michigan. “We are grateful for partnerships between the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), partnering institutions and industry. Through the collective effort to achieve key milestones, these technologies can make significant progress on the commercialization path to provide transformative high-tech solutions for the mobility industry.”

The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation is positioned to catalyze high potential early-stage technology development. MTRAC is a statewide program that funds projects which commercialize university research into products or services that support the future of transportation technology into scalable solutions to support industry needs.

The one-year program accelerates the transition of university research ideas to real-world products and applications in the transportation space by providing up to $100K in funding and access to industry mentors and development partners. During this time, follow on funding is also explored. The program reinforces the State of Michigan’s Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF), the MEDC and U-M’s commitment to use entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic growth in the State and beyond.

The MTRAC Advanced Transportation program is supported by funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner academic institutions. Through June, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation has funded 52 projects to completion, developed 22 startup companies, and secured more than $79 million in follow-on funding. “The U-M Advanced Transportation MTRAC Innovation Hub continues to successfully drive high potential early-stage advanced technology commercialization projects critical to the transportation industry,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at the MEDC.

To learn more about current or past MTRAC Advanced Transportation projects, or how your organization can get involved, please visit us at MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation or contact Anne Partington, program director.

Additional information on partner MTRAC programs:

Co-funded through the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) which is administered by the MEDC as well as cost share through the universities, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation is part of a network of statewide innovation hubs that includes the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences at the University of Michigan, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University, the Advanced Applied Materials Innovation Hub at Michigan Technological University and the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University. Each hub is strategically located at a university strong in the sector, further increasing the quality and quantity of resources available.

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.