OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

business and the economy

New Startup Showcase is Demo Day 2.0

CORVALLIS, Ore. - Startup Showcase will be presented by entrepreneurs from the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/ RAIN Corvallis program on Thursday, Oct. 20.

The event will be a celebration of achievements and a new take on a traditional startup graduation event for the program. Individuals will present their successes and companies live on stage at the LaSells Stewart Center, Construction and Engineering Hall; and other researchers will discuss advances in their fields.

The event is free and open to the public, and attendees can choose to attend one, two, or all three sessions. Free registration is available online at http://bit.ly/2dHQSPs

The sessions will include “The Futurists” from 2:30-3:45 p.m., a panel-style event led by selected OSU researchers who will showcase OSU technologies available for commercialization. This will feature “The Future of Robotics,” by Johnathan Hurst; “Advances in Sustainable Materials and Green Chemistry,” by Doug Keszler; “Life Science Innovations,” by Joe Beckman; “Wind Turbine Wildlife Sensor,” by Robert Albertani; “Novel Drug for Type-1 Diabetes and Autoimmune Disorders,” by Siva Kolluri; and “Treatment for Hypertension,” by Patrick Iversen.

A session on “Hot Startups” from 4-4:45 p.m. will include three-minute pitches by “Accelerate” clients, followed by a short awards ceremony. Companies include Hytchr, Julvia Technologies, Coyle, Seiji’s Bridge, Theory Software, and Jitterbug.

The event will conclude with “Growth Stage” from 5:30-7 p.m. “Launch” clients and alumni will give seven-minute pitches, and companies include eChemion, Onboard Dynamics, Bee Certain, Chef Mel’s, Baker Seed Technologies, and Danio Discovery.

Media Contact: 

Anna Walsh

anna.walsh@oregonstate.edu

Source: 

Mark Lieberman, 541-368-520

mark.lieberman@oregonstate.edu

Working longer may lead to a longer life, new OSU research shows

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Working past age 65 could lead to longer life, while retiring early may be a risk factor for dying earlier, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.

The researchers found that healthy adults who retired one year past age 65 had an 11 percent lower risk of death from all causes, even when taking into account demographic, lifestyle and health issues. Adults who described themselves as unhealthy were also likely to live longer if they kept working, the findings showed, which indicates that factors beyond health may affect post-retirement mortality.

“It may not apply to everybody, but we think work brings people a lot of economic and social benefits that could impact the length of their lives,” said Chenkai Wu, the lead author of the study. He conducted the research as part of his master’s thesis at OSU, where he is now a doctoral student in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences.

The findings were published recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Co-authors include Associate Professor Robert Stawski and Assistant Professor Michelle Odden of OSU and Gwenith Fisher of Colorado State University. The research was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Aging.

The research was the basis for Wu’s master’s thesis in human development and family science; he’s now pursuing a doctorate in epidemiology.

Wu took an interest in the effects of retirement on health in part because of China’s mandatory laws, which are often debated. Retirement age is also an issue for debate elsewhere around the world, including the United States, he said.

“Most research in this area has focused on the economic impacts of delaying retirement. I thought it might be good to look at the health impacts,” Wu said. “People in the U.S. have more flexibility about when they retire compared to other countries, so it made sense to look at data from the U.S.”

Wu examined data collected from 1992 through 2010 through the Healthy Retirement Study, a long-term study of U.S. adults led by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Aging. Of the more than 12,000 initial participants in the study, Wu narrowed his focus to 2,956 people who began the study in 1992 and had retired by the end of the study period in 2010. 

Poor health is one reason people retire early and also can lead to earlier death, so researchers wanted to find a way to mitigate a potential bias in that regard.

To do so, they divided the group into unhealthy retirees, or those who indicated that health was a factor in their decision to retire – and healthy retirees, who indicated health was not a factor. About two-thirds of the group fell into the healthy category, while a third were in the unhealthy category.

During the study period, about 12 percent of the healthy and 25.6 percent of the unhealthy retirees died. Healthy retirees who worked a year longer had an 11 percent lower risk of mortality, while unhealthy retirees who worked a year longer had a 9 percent lower mortality risk. Working a year longer had a positive impact on the study participants’ mortality rate regardless of their health status.

“The healthy group is generally more advantaged in terms of education, wealth, health behaviors and lifestyle, but taking all of those issues into account, the pattern still remained,” said Stawski, senior author of the paper. “The findings seem to indicate that people who remain active and engaged gain a benefit from that.”

Additional research is needed to better understand the links between work and health, the researchers said. As people get older their physical health and cognitive function are likely to decline, which could affect both their ability to work and their longevity.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Stawski said. “We see the relationship between work and longevity, but we don’t know everything about people’s lives, health and well-being after retirement that could be influencing their longevity.”

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Chenkai Wu, wuche@oregonstate.edu; Robert Stawski, robert.stawski@oregonstate.edu, 541-737-9052

Culture, crowding and social influence all tied to aggressive driving behavior

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A study of angry, competitive and aggressive driving suggests that these dangerous behaviors are becoming a worldwide phenomenon of almost epidemic proportions, and are a reflection of a person’s surrounding culture, both on the road and on a broader social level.

The research was done with drivers in China where competitive driving is very common. It concluded that such behavior is more pronounced in men than in women, and is partly a reaction to overcrowded road networks. The study also implies that different social conditions might ultimately translate into better drivers. 

The findings have been published in Procedia Engineering by researchers from Oregon State University, the Beijing University of Technology, and the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China. It was supported by the Beijing Municipal Education Commission.

At its worst, aggressive driving can be seen as “road rage” leading to serious or fatal accidents. In lesser forms it is viewed as “competitive” behavior that includes speeding, crowding or lane-hopping that drivers often use to gain a few minutes in an urban rush hour. In all its variations, this behavior is a problem that appears to be increasing. The American Automobile Association estimated that 56 percent of accidents involve aggressive driving. 

“China is a good place to study competitive driving because it’s very common there,” said Haizhong Wang, an assistant professor of transportation engineering in the OSU College of Engineering. “Roads are overcrowded, there’s less traffic control, and many drivers are younger or have little training or experience.”

The problems in China as it becomes increasingly crowded with drivers, however, reflect similar concerns at varying levels around the world, Wang said. Urban areas and road networks are becoming more crowded and congested. Research such as this may help to better understand the underlying human and psychological behaviors that come into play. 

In this analysis, the researchers concluded that drivers in congested situations generally believed that the chaotic traffic state was responsible for their competitive behavior, and they had no option other than to compete for space, the right-of-way, and gain advantages through speed and spacing. In simple terms, it was right and proper that they should try to keep up with or get ahead of traffic; that was the example being set for them, and they drove that way because everyone else did.

However, the study also suggested that “personality traits draw on and are influenced by aspects of one’s social environment.” The researchers said in their report that this indicates some countries and cultures may be more susceptible due to their social environment, and that improvements in that arena would also be seen in driving behavior. 

“The choice to be competitive versus cooperative always starts with culture, by the influences around us and the way other people behave,” Wang said. “And it’s clear there’s a role for education and experience, where studies have shown the value of young drivers participating in driver education programs and receiving positive guidance from their parents and peers.”

Part of the concerns in China at the moment, Wang said, may evolve from many new drivers just in the past 20 years who drive in a very challenging environment. But, as a developing nation which until recently had comparatively few automobiles, China doesn’t have generations of experience and support systems to draw upon. The result is a high level of accidents, injuries and fatalities. 

As more areas around the world see increasing traffic congestion, Wang said, part of the psychological challenge will be to retain a sense of personal responsibility, avoid mimicking dangerous behaviors of other drivers, and strive for a level of tolerance, courtesy and personal cooperation essential for safe driving.

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Haizhong Wang, 541-737-8538 or Haizhong.wang@oregonstate.edu; Jianjun Shi, +86-13801380862, jjshi@bjut.edu.cn

Iterate program for entrepreneurs expands to Bend, Newport

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Iterate program operated by the Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator/ RAIN Corvallis is expanding this spring to Bend and Newport, providing assistance to people who wish to become entrepreneurs and start a successful business.

Based in Corvallis, the program is open to OSU staff, researchers, and students, as well as community members. It consists of two-hour evening workshops held once a week for a month, and for the first time will also be available in remote classrooms in Bend and Newport.

More information about applications and the program is available online until April 22 at advantage.oregonstate.edu/iterate, for the class that begins May 3.

Officials say the program is about defining problems and solutions - what proposed product or service a company might offer to successfully address a problem, and form the basis for a successful business venture. Participants will learn some basic concepts about entrepreneurship, customer discovery, defining markets and other information.

More than 20 teams of potential entrepreneurs participated in the last session, working to develop such business concepts as sustainable materials, changing the flavor of wine through chemistry, new types of pressure sensitive adhesives, and new metal materials for everyday electronics.

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Annisa Goss, 541-368-5205

annisa.goss@oregonstate.edu

OSU-Cascades launches hospitality management degree

BEND, Ore. – Oregon State University - Cascades is adding a new bachelor’s degree in hospitality management, filling a need for highly-skilled employees in one of Oregon’s most important industries.

OSU-Cascades will begin offering hospitality management classes in fall 2015. The multi-disciplinary degree program will prepare graduates for a wide range of hospitality careers within a corporate setting, in a hospitality operations setting, or as an entrepreneur.  Among the possible career fields are hotel management, cruise operations, conference services, restaurant ownership, and food and beverage services. It is the only degree program of its kind in Oregon.

“We are thrilled to offer a program that will attract students and faculty, and provide talented interns and graduates for the lodging and restaurant industry in the state and region, ultimately increasing its significant contribution to Oregon's economy,” said Becky Johnson, vice president of OSU-Cascades.

The branch campus’s newest degree is the first four-year hospitality degree to be offered in Oregon in more than 20 years and will cater to the state’s hospitality and tourism industry, the second-largest industry in Oregon.

OSU-Cascades is an ideal location for a hospitality management program. Tourism and hospitality businesses are among the largest employers in Central Oregon and the industry is currently experiencing a surge in growth.

The hospitality management program will be led by Executive-in-Residence Todd Montgomery and will be offered through the OSU College of Business. The multi-disciplinary program will include classes in management, human resources, food and beverage operations, technology within the hospitality sector, and service delivery.

Students will also complete a business minor with courses in marketing and accounting, and be required to participate in internships and other work experience programs. The program is expected to draw interest from high school students, community college transfer students and culinary institute graduates.

“Our goal is to prepare our students for key positions in the hospitality industry in Central Oregon, throughout the state and beyond,” Montgomery said. “We want to give them the skills and tools they need to be leaders and innovators in the hospitality field.”

Budget cuts forced the closure of a similar hospitality degree program at OSU in the early 1990s; students then sought programs and careers outside of the state. Industry leaders in Oregon have been advocating for the program’s return and support from the state and local hospitality and tourism industry helped make the new degree possible. In 2012, the branch campus received gifts totaling $320,000 to develop the new program.

Media Contact: 

Christine Coffin, 541-322-3152

Source: 

Todd Montgomery, 541-322-2086

Study: State, federal role in electric utilities’ labor issues should be reexamined

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Power outages have never been more costly. Electricity is critical to communication, transportation, commerce and national security systems, and wide-spread or prolonged outages have the potential to threaten public safety and cause millions, even billions, of dollars in damages.

“It doesn’t seem that dire until a storm hits, or somebody makes a mistake, and then you are risking a blackout,” said Inara Scott, an assistant professor in the College of Business at Oregon State University.

“You have to consider the magnitude of the potential harm to the public. Without power, you can’t pump gas. Cell phones may not work. Water systems are threatened. These are big problems.”

That’s why it may be time to re-examine the role of public utility commissions and the effect of the National Labor Relations Act in labor disputes regarding electric utilities, Scott suggests in a new study.

Public utility commissions have more authority than some existing court decisions suggest, but they tend to take a conservative approach and there is a strong presumption that they can’t get involved, Scott said. Modifying the NLRA to more clearly define the states’ powers might be needed to change that mindset, she said. The changes would affect both sides – labor and management – equally, she said.

“The current law does not reflect the times,” Scott said. “The courts need to look at these cases differently, because the role of electricity in our lives has changed.”

Many public utility commissions have concluded, based largely on court decisions under the NLRA, that they’re prohibited from intervening in labor disputes even when public safety is threatened, Scott said. PUCs are the state agencies that regulate public utilities.

That interpretation of the federal law does not reflect the critical role electricity plays in people’s lives and livelihoods today, said Scott, whose study of the issue was published this week in the “Energy Law Journal.”

“If workers strike or are locked out of their jobs during a labor dispute, a utility might operate just fine, or there could be a major problem,” said Scott, an attorney who spent 10 years practicing energy and regulatory law before joining the OSU faculty.

“The problems caused by an electrical outage are not easy to predict and the consequences can be severe,” said Scott, whose research focuses on the transformation of utility systems, clean energy, energy efficiency and utility regulation.

Scott began studying the National Labor Relations Act and the role of public utility commissions in labor disputes involving electric utilities after following a 2012 labor dispute involving Consolidated Edison of New York.

Con Edison management locked out more than 8,000 employees after labor negotiations broke down. Union members warned the move would leave the utility with inadequate safety monitoring, deferred maintenance and threats of unsafe conditions.

But the state’s public utility commission, the only regulatory agency with authority to oversee the safety and operation of Con Edison’s system, announced that it lacked jurisdiction to end the lockout or get involved in the negotiations.

As the lockout wore on and severe summer weather threatened the power grid, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo urged the New York Public Service Commission to get more involved.

The dispute was ultimately settled but the case underscored the high stakes of labor disputes involving electric utilities, as well as the potential danger to public safety and the need for clarification of the authority of state public utility commissions, Scott said.

Scott’s study was supported by OSU.

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Inara Scott, 541-737-4102, Inara.Scott@bus.oregonstate.edu

Walmart and The Walmart Foundation award OSU grant to help boost U.S. manufacturing

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has been chosen for one of the first seven grants from the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund created by Walmart and The Walmart Foundation to help accelerate manufacturing in the United States.

The $590,000 grant will support the development of innovations in plastics injection molding – one of the most common manufacturing processes for making consumer products – in which melted plastic resins are injected into a shaped cavity made by two metallic molds.

“Current practices for fabricating these molds are labor-intensive and costly, and much of the mold material is wasted as metal chips,” said Sundar V. Atre, OSU associate professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering. “We estimate that mold-making costs can be reduced by 40 to 50 percent.”

“That will give U.S. manufacturing an edge,” Atre added.

The Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund, in collaboration with the Conference of Mayors, will provide a total of $10 million in grants over the next five years. The first $4 million in grants were announced Thursday (Aug. 14) at the 2014 U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver.

“Researchers at many of America’s best universities are hard at work on tough manufacturing challenges,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of The Walmart Foundation. “We are excited to support the development of innovative solutions, which we hope will unlock new opportunity for manufacturing in this country.” 

Mayor Julie Manning of Corvallis noted that her city has earned a national reputation for innovation, ranking fourth last year in a report of patents per capita.

“A manufacturing renaissance is taking place in our region,” she said. “This project builds on the steps taken in recent years to more closely align the economic development strategy of Corvallis and Benton County with the growing success of Oregon State University and other local employers in fostering innovation and job creation.”

Over the course of the three-year project, Atre and his co-principal investigator, Oregon State mechanical engineering assistant professor Rajiv Malhotra, will work with three industrial partners – Metal Technology, Inc., in neighboring Albany, Ore., plus Arburg and North American Höganäs – to develop and test their manufacturing innovations. Part of the work will take place at the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute, collaboratively managed by OSU and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

The team will work with the OSU Advantage Accelerator to develop a commercialization plan. This program helps move promising ideas out of the laboratory and into the marketplace, strengthening the economy.

Atre’s and Malhotra’s project is a prime example of the university’s leading-edge research that creates a better future for Oregon and the nation, said Robert B. Stone, head of OSU’s School of Mechanical, Industrial, and Manufacturing Engineering.

“Making U.S. manufacturing more competitive globally is something all of us can relate to,” Stone said. “When we shop, we know the ‘Made in the USA’ label signifies jobs and stronger communities. This support from Walmart, The Walmart Foundation and the Conference of Mayors represents a vote of confidence in our track record at Oregon State of doing research with real-world impact, as we work in partnership with industry.”

In 2010 alone the U.S. plastics industry produced an estimated 16 billion pounds of injection-molded products for applications in packaging, electronics, housewares and biomedical areas.

The grant to Oregon State is part of The Campaign for OSU, which has raised more than $1.06 billion to support university priorities, including more than $140 million in private faculty research grants. The university community will celebrate the campaign’s impact Oct. 31 during Homecoming.

 

Media Contact: 

Michelle Williams, 541-737-6126

Source: 

Sundar V. Atre, 541-908-1483; Rajiv Malhotra, 541-737-5621

History of hops and brewing chronicled on new OSU archive

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon is at the epicenter of a thriving craft-brew industry, and Oregon State University is helping shape the movement – from creating new barley varieties, to offering courses for home brewers, to its growing fermentation science program, which has a Pilot Plant Brewhouse where student brewers create new beers.

Now, the university is going a step further as it actively preserves the rich history of hops and craft brewing.

Recognizing the need to document the intertwined story of hop production and the craft brewing movement in Oregon, the Special Collections & Archives Research Center at OSU Libraries & Press established the Oregon Hops & Brewing Archives in summer 2013. This month, the official launch of the online archives will be celebrated in appropriate style with “Tap into History” on March 28 at the McMenamins Mission Theater in Portland.

The archive’s goal is to collect and provide access to records related to hops production and the craft brewing industries in Oregon. The first archive in the United States dedicated to hops and beer, it will bring together a wealth of materials in hardcopy and digital formats enabling people to study and appreciate these movements. The work melds the social and economic aspects of brewing in Oregon with the hard science behind the beer research being done at OSU.

The university already has strong collections related to the history of hops, barley, and fermentation research at OSU, but scholars are gathering resources from beyond the campus as well.

“There are valuable items in historical societies, in the boxes of marketing materials in a brewer’s garage, in the computer records of operations at hop farms, on beer blogs, in social media communities, and in the stories that haven’t been recorded,” said Tiah Edmunson-Morton, archivist for the collection.

“While we are interested in adding new items to build the archive, we also want to be a portal to collections through the state, partnering with people in heritage and history communities, state agencies, hops farmers, craft brewers, home brewers, and the general community to think collectively about how to preserve and provide access to this history.”

The free "Tap into History" event at the Mission Theater, which begins at 7 p.m., includes a panel on brewing history in Oregon. Among the topics:

  • Edmunson-Morton will talk about the project and its impact.
  • Peter Kopp, an agricultural historian, will talk about his use of archival materials and the relevance for researchers.
  • John Foyston, an Oregonian writer since 1987 and noted beer columnist, will talk about his work documenting the Oregon beer scene.
  • Irene Firmat, CEO and co-founder of Full Sail Brewing Company, will talk about her work as a female brewing pioneer.
  • Daniel Sharp, a Ph.D. student in the OSU College of Agriculture's Fermentation Science program, will talk about his research and the program.

The event concludes with screenings from "Hopstories," a collection of short videos showcasing breweries in Oregon, and OPB's Beervana, a documentary about the history of beer and the rise of craft brewing in Oregon. The McMenamins Mission Theater is located at 1624 N.W. Glisan St., Portland.

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/brewingarchives

 

 

 

 

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Tiah Edmunson-Morton, 541-737-7387

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Grafting hop varieties

Phillips named director for OSU Office of Research Development

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Mary Phillips has been named director for the Office of Research Development, a new unit within the Research Office, effective Dec. 1.

Phillips is associate director for the Office for Commercialization and Corporate Development, where she oversees the management of intellectual property and licensing of OSU inventions. In her new role, Phillips will work with faculty and academic units to identify and pursue major funding opportunities, including federal, non-profit and corporate sources.

The creation of the Office for Research Development is a proactive step by the Research Office that addresses the challenge and goals articulated in the OSU research agenda by providing strategic institutional support for successful proposal development, Phillips said.

"What excites me about this position is the role I will play in developing new approaches that will enable our faculty to be highly competitive in securing grant funding in these times of dwindling federal funding and sequestration," Phillips noted. "This in itself is a grand challenge."

Vice President for Research Rick Spinrad said there is a lot of untapped potential for building OSU’s capacity and reputation.

“By establishing an Office of Research Development, we have created the structure to engage in strategic positioning of our research enterprise, long before specific solicitations for research are issued,” Spinrad said. “As part of OSU’s research agenda we are striving to diversify our sponsorship base.  We’ve done this very successfully with our industry engagement (40 percent increase in two years), now we have the staff and organization to start doing the same with other sponsors, notably federal agencies.”

Spinrad anticipates that OSU will dramatically increase the number of federal agencies supporting its research, and that OSU will take a much more forward-leaning posture in driving the research interests of traditional sponsors. 

“In addition, Mary’s role will allow us to be much more effective in strengthening our proposal efforts - for example by being more strategic in how we address ‘broader impacts,’” Spinrad said. “This is particularly important as general decreases in federal funding for research make for an even more competitive environment.”

Phillips will be supported by an advisory group that will consist of senior faculty representing each of the divisions within the university.

Prior to joining OSU in 2006, Phillips began her career in university technology transfer in 2001 at Oregon Health and Science University. She has a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of London’s Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine and gained postdoctoral experience in the areas of laser spectroscopy and molecular biology at the University of Oregon. 

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Mary Phillips

541-737-4437

OSU program to spur start-ups moves into downtown Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State University Advantage Accelerator has a new home in downtown Corvallis.

The Accelerator, created to spur the creation of new companies from Oregon State University-based research, will be located at 200 S.W. 4th St., less than a block from Corvallis City Hall. Mark Lieberman, co-director of the OSU Advantage Accelerator and chief startup officer, said his team will move into the building in October.

“The Accelerator facility will be a hub for creative and innovative thinking for technology start-ups,” he said. “We will offer essential networking events, as well as educational and leadership opportunities, including CEO roundtables, presentations and one-on-one meetings with successful entrepreneurs, investors, and venture capitalists.”

Lieberman, co-director John Turner, and program administrator Betty Nickerson, will have offices in the downtown facility. Turner said space for eight student interns, plus an entrepreneur-in-residence, will also be provided.

“We’re excited to be in the heart of downtown Corvallis. The Accelerator is focused on creating new companies and new jobs, and we see the city of Corvallis as an important partner in this goal," Turner said. "This gives us a place where we can all be together of course, and also gives us a public face so we can meet with researchers and companies from the community."

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is one component of the Oregon State University Advantage, an educational, research and commercialization initiative begun earlier this year. OSU’s Accelerator recently announced its first 13 clients.

The OSU Advantage Accelerator is a component of the South Willamette Valley Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network, or RAIN, which was made possible by recent legislative approval and funding.

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Mark Lieberman, 541-737-9016