Dr. Mark Stradiotto spends his working days trying to make chemicals shake hands, in a manner of speaking. Recently, however, the newly-tenured Associate Professor of Chemistry was the one doing the handshaking as he was congratulated by the Dalhousie community for receiving the 2006 Dalhousie Innovation Award.
The Dalhousie Innovation Award is intended to encourage and advance innovative research with strong commercial potential. The award is sponsored by Dalhousie University, the Office of Economic Development for Nova Scotia, the IWK Health Centre and the Capital District Health Authority. The winner was selected by InNOVAcorp and the Industry Liaison and Innovation office at Dalhousie University and is valued at $50,000.
ÒIÕm honoured to receive this award and grateful to the various agencies that enable me to carry out the research it funds,” said Stradiotto at a reception honouring his accomplishment. The award is added to a CV that includes the 2005 Dalhousie University Killam Research Prize, research grants from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and the Dalhousie Undergraduate Chemistry Society Teaching Award.
The Stradiotto Research Group Ð which includes several graduate students Ð focuses their research on catalysts, substances that accelerate the rate or ease of a chemical reaction without themselves being changed. Catalysts are extremely important in everyday chemistry and are involved in 80-90 per cent of industrial chemical processes. Comparing a catalytic reaction to a handshake with two hands interlocking perfectly to fit, Stradiotto explained how his research uses metals to make Òhanded” catalysts to best fit certain chemical reactions.
Helping to commercialize StradiottoÕs research is the Industry Liaison and Innovation office, which works to facilitate collaborations between companies and university researchers. Stradiotto said that his experience with the office has been Òvery educational, and itÕs made me a better researcher through the work IÕve done with them.”
StradiottoÕs technology has also been selected by the Faculty of ManagementÕs MBA students for entry into local, national and international business plan competitions. The students will work with the Norman Newman Centre for Entrepreneurship to help develop winning business strategies for technology commercialization and the design and development of new start-up businesses.
As representatives from all these corners of Dalhousie congratulated Stradiotto, President Tom Traves noted the collaboration that this work and the Innovation Award represents: ÒThis is an excellent example of working across the campus and the wider community to leverage all of our various strengths.”
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