Promoting public understanding of how academic research and technology transfer benefits society, the Better World Project archives and shares case studies that highlight technologies that impact our lives. By raising awareness, we hope to attract resources vital to the discovery and commercialization process. Sharing academic research and technology transfer partnerships that are delivering real-life solutions worldwide can inspire others to engage and support the process in their own communities.

Arsenic-free drinking water in Africa, meningitis vaccines, malaria treatments, hands-free wheelchair operation, sinkhole detection and devices to save lives of premature babies are among hundreds of discoveries that highlight the far-reaching impact of technology transfer.

The stories featured in the Better World Project showcase successful collaborations among universities, businesses and non-profit organizations. These partnerships matter because they are bringing research visions to life that are changing people’s lives every day.

Academic research and technology transfer partnerships are delivering life-changing solutions worldwide

In 2016, Sasha Pavlenko was told she may never walk again following a spinal cord injury she suffered after falling from a balcony. Ekso Bionics®, a worldwide pioneer in the field of robotic exoskeletons had just received FDA clearance to use its wearable innovation to help patients like Sasha.

In the United States, about 450,000 people are living with spinal cord injuries, with about 46 new injuries occurring each day.

Though apprehensive when physical therapists told her about the robotic brace as she lay in a hospital bed, Sasha was soon amazed to walk and see the world from an upright position once again. She practiced and regained her mobility for months with the aid of the device. Today she continues to make progress, walking with a cane and sometimes even on her own. Depending on the injury, other patients may depend on the device indefinitely for mobility.

Ekso Bionics is one example of life-changing impact through successful technology transfer. The technology was developed by engineers at Vanderbilt University’s Center for Intelligent Mechatronics with funding from the National Institutes of Health. Corporate partnerships brought about patents and licensing to finally offer new hope to patients like Sasha around the world.

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Support is needed to expand the reach and capacity of the Better World Project. To effectively communicate the impactful success stories and promising emerging discoveries, media needs to be strategically utilized. By targeting previously untapped regions, institutions and disciplines and strategically streaming stories for maximum exposure, the Better World Project will increase the potential for collaborations while creating awareness and understanding of technology transfer.

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