Grant launched to look at solving problems from pandemic

Published 6:00 am Saturday, April 24, 2021

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The University of Louisville has received $750,000 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration to launch a new program aimed at solving long-term health, economic and societal problems resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pandemic-Related Product Acceleration & Responsive Entrepreneurship Program, or PRePARE, UofL researchers will join with members of the community, on innovative ideas that can expand existing companies or start new ones to bring those ideas to market.

Potential ideas include ways to track viral spread more efficiently, expand access to virtual services, or bring employees back to work safely.

Paula Bates

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“The pandemic has caused so many changes and challenges,” said Paula Bates, professor of medicine and a lead on the grant.  “Our hope is that by pairing these bold ideas with UofL’s researchers and innovation expertise, we can make a real impact that not only hastens the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also increases resilience against future ones.”

UofL is soliciting ideas for filling unmet needs and solving problems from those in the seven-county Kentuckiana Regional Planning & Development Agency economic development district, which includes Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Trimble counties.

Community partners can be individuals, companies, or organizations. UofL students, staff, and faculty also are encouraged to submit ideas.

Those whose ideas are selected will be partnered with one or more UofL researchers, who will have up to $75,000 to fund project development at UofL.  Teams also will receive project management and entrepreneurial support from PRePARE’s program staff.

“UofL has significant earned expertise in developing and commercializing new technologies that can save and improve lives,” said Kevin Gardner, UofL’s executive vice president for research and innovation.  “PRePARE is an extension of that work to empower our communities, advance our health and engineer our future economy through innovation and entrepreneurship.”

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