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USM joins Mississippi universities, Army to commercialize technologies

Fri, 07/10/2020 - 10:18am

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is participating in a partnership created to support the commercialization of advanced technologies invented at the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), headquartered in Vicksburg.

Mississippi’s research institutions—including USM, Jackson State University, Mississippi State University, and The University of Mississippi, which makes up the Mississippi Research Consortium (MRC) — recently joined ERDCWERX, a DEFENSEWERX innovation hub and government partner of the ERDC, to identify promising industry sectors and companies for potential licensure of ERDC technologies. The USM team is currently completing a market assessment for a unique biopolymer invented at ERDC.

“We are excited to partner with the other MRC research institutions in the state to assist ERDCWERX in understanding the market potential of four of ERDC’s technologies,” USM team leader and Office of Technology Development Director Dr. Brian Cuevas said. “This collaboration is an example of potential benefits of aligning the innovation capabilities across the state with a common goal of translating advanced technology into products and high-paying jobs, which is key in creating a more resilient, knowledge-based economy in Mississippi.

“Government patents often have value and applicability not only for military, but also for commercial use,” said ERDCWERX Director Paul Sumrall. “Market assessment is a type of ERDCWERX innovation project that involves evaluation of ERDC patented technologies for market potential as well as commercialization strategies.”

The current Chair of the MRC, Dr. Joseph Whittaker, said, “There are significant levels of synergy between the goals of ERDCWERX and those of the MRC institutions. Our partnership highlights not only the complementary scientific expertise and technical capabilities available within the MRC institutions, but also reflects the expertise and valuable contributions of our institutional Tech Transfer Directors. The MRC is looking forward to future expanded engagement with ERDCWERX in advancing tech transfer and commercialization capabilities throughout Mississippi and nationwide.”

As a partnership intermediary, ERDCWERX supports technology transfer, innovation, and workforce development across the ERDC enterprise and extends ERDC’s reach through government, industry, and academic collaborations.

“The ERDC has a long-standing relationship with Mississippi's research universities. Bringing ERDCWERX into this relationship will help enhance the connection with the goal of achieving greater results and increasing opportunities for collaboration and technology transfer,” said Bartley Durst, director of the Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory at the ERDC.

ERDC has over 50 patents at any given time and is authorized to license its intellectual property to private industry and other entities. A complete list of technologies invented by ERDC researchers can be accessed at

ERDCWERX encourages those who would like to learn more about market assessment and tech challenge opportunities launched in conjunction with the ERDC to join the ecosystem at