Following the presentations, the subgroup met in closed session to deliberate on the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal, after which the subgroup provided its assessments and recommendations to the full committee. The full committee reviewed and concurred with the conclusions and recommendations presented in this report. This report conveys the committee’s assessment of the merits of these top five proposals in keeping with the committee’s charge to assist the state of Ohio in making the Wright Centers program awards.
Of the three proposals seeking both capital and operating funds, the subgroup determined that the proposal for the Wright Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND) (WCI 05-01) clearly best met the objectives of the Ohio Department of Development. The other two proposals in this category were judged to be acceptable but of lesser merit. Of these, the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (WCI 05-10) proposal was judged to have marginally greater merit than the Ohio ICE Center for Advanced Controls and Measurement Systems (WCI 05-04). If another competition is organized in future years, the committee believes that these latter two proposals would be strong contenders provided the noted improvements were made to each.
Concerning the two proposals seeking operating funds only, the subgroup concluded that both had considerable merit and recommends that both be funded as a means of leveraging the important capital funds that were awarded to each in earlier competitions. These proposals are for the Wright Center of Innovation for Advanced Data Management and Analysis (WCI 05-12) and the Wright Fuel Cell Group (WCI 05-03).
The committee offers the following evaluations of the three proposals that competed for both capital and operating funds.
The proposal effectively establishes that the polymer industry is large and important to Ohio, that it is under pressure because current products are sometimes low on the value scale, that there are significant market opportunities in innovative polymer materials, and that participating Ohio universities have nationally recognized programs in materials, polymers, and nanotechnology. The authors suggest that formation and funding of the CMPND, a consortium of six universities, fifty companies, and several trade associations and national laboratories, would create an industry-driven entity that would tap both current and potential technology capabilities of the represented universities in the realization of products and jobs with high economic impact in the state of Ohio. To carry out its mission, the center requested $20 million in capital funds and $3 million in operating funds.
The center utilizes a combined technology-push and market-pull approach that would pursue both near- and longer-term opportunities (the latter with potentially higher pay-offs). Specifically, the center’s work will focus on the areas of nanocomposites, polymer-based biomedical devices, and polymer photonics. The nanocomposite area demonstrated both industry drive and potential near-term impact.
The management team effectively addressed concerns originally raised by the review panel about the polymer-based biomedical device area. An additional position was added to the