21 Fund Awardee Wins Commercialization Award

Author: Blair West, Cynthia Sequin
Event Date: November 5, 2009
Recipient: Dr. Karthik Ramani
Bestower: Purdue Research Foundation
Professor Ramani will be presented the 2009 Faculty Commercialization Award for his work with VizSeek, a Purdue Research Park-based company that developed a searchable online index of two and three dimensional drawings for businesses with the help of the state’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Nov. 5, 2009) – Karthik Ramani, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and chief scientist with Imaginestics, now called VizSeek, will receive top honors at Purdue Research Foundation’s seventh annual Inventors Recognition Dinner tonight.

Ramani will be presented the 2009 Faculty Commercialization Award for his work with VizSeek, a Purdue Research Park-based company that developed a searchable online index of two and three dimensional drawings for businesses with the help of the state’s 21st Century Research and Technology Fund.

“Innovations generated by Indiana’s distinguished academic community are continually manifesting into commercial successes and providing fuel for Indiana’s high-tech economy,” said Mitch Roob, Indiana Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. “Today marks another significant milestone in the illustrious career of Dr. Ramani, an innovator the state has come to know well through his many discoveries and achievements.”

VizSeek, which received a $500,000 grant and several early-stage commercialization funding matches from the state from 2005 to 2007, has since added 12 full-time research and development associates and was recently awarded a patent for its shape search tool.

“The 21st Century Fund is visionary and is continuing to have a lasting and sustainable impact. It not only seeded the research and subsequently the technology that was commercialized, but it also has enabled us to define and tackle challenging future problems ahead of others,” said Ramani. “We were able to leapfrog many other universities and come to the forefront. The university and business teaming helped define a new market and transformative research at the same time.”

The Commercialization Award is presented annually to a tenure-track faculty member in recognition of outstanding contributions to, and success with, commercialization of Purdue research discoveries. It was established with an endowment gift from the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership Foundation.

“The process of patenting a discovery and moving it into commercialization is labor-intensive and time-consuming,” said Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and chief operating officer of the Purdue Research Foundation. “That’s one reason why the support of the state’s 21st Century Fund is key in helping Professor Ramani and other Purdue faculty in moving their discoveries and new products to the public.”

In addition to his work with VizSeek, Dr. Ramani has been involved in several other ventures receiving state and federal funding awards primarily focused on developments in advanced manufacturing, information technology and supply chain optimization.

VizSeek is one of 79 businesses awarded a 21st Century Fund grant since January 2006.  During that time, the fund has invested more than $100 million in high-tech Indiana entrepreneurial companies that collectively have the potential to create thousands of new jobs.

About VizSeek
VizSeek is the leading developer of shape-based search technology. The company’s mission is to connect the world’s industrial users through online communities of interest, providing a catalyst for identifying business opportunities. VizSeek solutions are currently used by top government agencies and industrial leaders. VizSeek, a wholly owned subsidiary of Imaginestics, LLC, is a privately held company, headquartered at the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, Indiana. More information on VizSeek and its products is available at www.vizseek.com .

About Purdue Research Foundation
The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. The foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds research, scholarships and grants; acquires property; and negotiates research contracts on behalf of Purdue. In the 1990s, the foundation was charged with helping the university in the realm of economic development. The Purdue Research Foundation oversees the Purdue Research Park, which is the largest university-affiliated business incubator in the country. In addition to the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette, the foundation has established technology parks in other locations around Indiana including Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.

About IEDC
Created by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2005 to replace the former Department of Commerce, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is governed by a 12-member board chaired by Governor Daniels. Indiana Secretary of Commerce Mitch Roob serves as the chief executive officer of the IEDC.  For more information about IEDC, visit www.iedc.in.gov .

Media Contacts:
Blair West (IEDC) – 317-232-8873 or BWest@iedc.in.gov
Cynthia Sequin (Purdue Research Foundation) – 765.588.3340 or casequin@prf.org

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