Washington State University announced the launch of a collaborative program with Amazon titled Amazon Catalyst on October 23, 2017.
Amazon will provide up to $300,000 to WSU to launch the initiative, providing funding and mentorship to support bold, globally impactful and disruptive projects proposed by members of the university community. The Amazon Catalyst program will support the expansion of the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the WSU system.
In the Spring of 2018, the Amazon Catalyst program awarded $177,735 in grants to 10 Washington State University teams comprised of students, faculty and staff across disciplines and locations.
The collaborative program between Amazon and WSU launched early in 2018 to fund projects deemed globally impactful and disruptive. Funded projects range from low-cost and environmentally-friendly material for road maintenance; to technology to help protect bees from pesticide exposure, preventing bee death and colony collapse; to soil microbes used as bio-pesticides to protect crops from devastating pests; to a new building material made from gypsum wallboard scrap, and many more innovative ideas.
The 2018 grant recipients and their winning projects are:
LOW-COST, ENVIRONMENTALLY-CONSCIOUS MATERIALS FOR ROAD MAINTENANCE
- Recycled restaurant cooking oil waste and reclaimed asphalt are combined into a low-cost, recycled road paving material.
- Kun Zhang, clinical assistant professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
BIO-PESTICIDES PROTECTING CROPS FROM DEVASTATING PESTS
- An environmentally safer way to protect crop yield and quantity using bio-pesticides to fight underground crop pests.
- Lei Zhang, research associate, Department of Plant Pathology.
REDUCING BEE MORTALITY AND COLONY COLLAPSE THROUGH PESTICIDE FIGHTERS
- A combination of microparticles mixed with bee feed that protects bees from the harmful effects of encountering pesticides during pollination.
- Waled Suliman, postdoctoral student, School of Biological Systems Engineering.
NEW WOUND DRESSING FOR ADVANCED WOUND MANAGEMENT
- An electrochemical scaffold wound dressing that treats infections and stimulates healing by continuously generating antimicrobial agents in wounds.
- Abdelrhman Mohamed, Ph.D. graduate student, Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering.
THE FIRST HYBRID HYDROGEN FUEL CELL ELECTRIC VEHICLE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
- Retrofitting of an existing battery-electric Zenn car to enable recharging with a modular, on-board, hydrogen fuel-cell system.
- Jacob Leachman, associate professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
MEDICAL CONDITION-SPECIFIC AIR QUALITY FORECASTS AND WARNINGS
- The Cardiopulmonary Events from Smoke Estimator (CENSE) will evaluate smoke particulate pollution information and convert it into air quality forecasts for medical condition specific warnings, and deliver these warning to caregivers and patients in high-risk populations.
- Joseph Vaughan, associate research professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
DRYWALL WASTE BLOCK: A NEW BUILDING MATERIAL
- The Drywall Waste Block converts low-value gypsum wallboard scrap waste into a high performance building material that is inexpensive to produce, easy to build with and provides energy-efficient and affordable homes for people in need.
- Taiji Miyasaka, professor of architecture, School of Design and Construction.
KULÉ© TECH: SMART-THERMOMETERS FOR SAFER MILK
- Creating and deploying smart-thermometers among the pastoral Maasai in Tanzania to increase milk pasteurization knowledge and habits through the use of culturally-targeted solution that limits the transmission of antimicrobial resistance among the tribes, making milk safer and people healthier.
- Mark Caudell, postdoctoral research associate, Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.
- An accurate and efficient way to retrieve information and dispatch it effectively in an emergency situation.
- Shusanta Bhattarai, undergraduate computer science student, Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture.
- An app for epinepherine users that helps people with severe allergies and reactions to track their EpiPens, manage their medication supply and notify caretakers of a reaction emergency.
- David Kurz, undergraduate entrepreneurship student, Carson College of Business.
Learn more about grant recipients and keep up on project updates at https://catalyst.amazon.com/wsu.
Washington State University and hometown airline, Alaska Airlines, partnered in 2015 to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education for high school youth through the Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow Competition.
Created by WSU in 2008 and now housed in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, Imagine Tomorrow challenges 9th-12th grade students to develop enterprising solutions for renewable energy. Student teams from across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana select one of three topics and research that create and provide solutions:
- The Itron Food, Energy and Water Challenge
- The Boeing Aerospace and Transportation Challenge
- The McKinstry Built Environment Challenge
Building on Alaska Airlines’ three-year title sponsorship of the WSU Imagine Tomorrow competition, the company has committed three million airline miles (one million annually) to WSU faculty, Extension employees, graduate and undergraduate students with travel funding needs. To qualify for the miles, applicants must be traveling to, or bringing someone to campus, for a reason related to the categories highlighted in the Alaska Airlines Imagine Tomorrow Competition. For more information about the 2018 Alaska Airlines Award Application click here.
In conjunction with the Imagine Tomorrow Competition sponsorship, Alaska Airlines and WSU will collaborate on an Alaska Airlines Day on the WSU Pullman campus. This will be an exclusive recruitment day for Alaska Airlines as well as an opportunity for executive leadership to discuss mutual challenges and opportunities. This event will take place in the 2018 Spring Semester.
Further partnerships include in 2016 when Alaska Airlines made history flying the first commercial flight using the world’s first renewable, alternative jet fuel made from forest residuals, the limbs and branches that remain after the harvesting of managed forests. The alternative jet fuel was produced through the efforts of the Washington State University-led Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA).
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories
Washington State University’s power engineering program will establish the Edmund O. Schweitzer III Chair in Power Apparatus and Systems in the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, thanks to gifts totaling $1.5 million from Edmund and Beatriz Schweitzer, and the employee owners of Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.
The new endowed chair will support WSU’s teaching and research in the fundamentals of power engineering, including electromagnetics, controls, communication theory, high voltage materials and practice, work that is near and dear to the Schweitzers and the employees of SEL.
Thanks in part to the support and advocacy of the Schweitzers and SEL, Voiland College’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science has experienced dramatic growth. Annual research expenditures in the school have more than doubled in the past six years, to $7.6 million annually, with about $4 million of that increase in power engineering research. Enrollment in the school has also doubled to more than 1,000 undergraduates and nearly 200 graduates each year.
During the past two years, SEL has hired more than 10 percent of the school’s graduates, more than any other employer. To date, the Schweitzers and SEL have collectively contributed more than $3.6 million to support students, teaching and research across the university.