iCeMS Associate Professor Easan Sivaniah’s project, to develop new energy-saving membranes, utilizing collective osmotic shock (COS) technology, was recently selected by the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, and Technology (MEXT) as part of a START Program to launch new business ventures.
Sivaniah’s project will be carried out in collaboration with the University of Tokyo Edge Capital (UTEC) to scale up the COS-membrane manufacturing process, improve its mechanical and chemical properties, fouling resistance and durability. “We aim to commercialize these low-fouling membranes to meet urgent market needs,” said Sivaniah.
The objective of the START Program is to launch a promising business venture within three years by teaming up private, government and university sectors, for international development and commercialization of novel technology. In other words, the START Program aims to fund innovative technology seed research, originating in universities, for commercialization.
Generally, funding support for the START Program ranges from one to three years, however it can be extended up to five years based depending on the complexity of the field of research and the company’s performance. The annual funding for each project is 30 million Japanese yen, and approximately 10-20 projects are funded each year.
Since the launch of the START Program in 2012 only three Kyoto University projects have been selected.