Texas Tech departments awarded $253,000 to startups and scholars.

After two years as a virtual event, Texas Tech University‘s 2022 Discoveries to Impact Conference (DTI) was back with a bang.

The annual conference featured participants showcasing research, engagement, innovation and startups through competitions, presentations, keynote speakers and panel discussions. Students, faculty and the West Texas community joined in celebrating the cross-department conference winners who took home $253,000 combined to support their innovations and startups. And for the first time in three years, DTI was held in person with an outstanding turnout of more than 1,075 attendees.

“This year’s Discoveries to Impact Conference closing session was a truly special event, uniting Texas Tech and the Lubbock community,” said Joseph Heppert, the university’s vice president of research and innovation. “We are so proud of all who participated in the conference events. 

“While the culmination of Friday’s event was handing out checks to support the activities of business and social innovators, I want to emphasize that all the participants in the week-long conference were winners. Texas Tech is intensely proud of the students who participated in the research poster sessions, and the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholars from Texas Tech and our partner colleges and universities who were recognized in Wednesday’s banquet. Our gratitude goes out to all the community stakeholders and Texas Tech offices who helped make DTI possible by providing sponsorships for the wonderful conference program.”

Engaged Scholarship Symposium

University Outreach and Engagement hosted the fourth annual Engaged Scholarship Symposium on Monday (March 28). Faculty and students who engaged with K-12 schools, nonprofit organizations, city governments, children, parents, health care professionals and more presented their sustainable solutions to many diverse issues.

University Outreach and Engagement awarded $9,500 to winners of the President’s Excellence in Engaged Scholarship Awards and the President’s Emerging Engaged Scholarship Award and recognized the President’s Exemplary Program.  

“This year’s event highlighted the diverse set of communities that our faculty, staff and students engage with to help find sustainable solutions to a broad spectrum of societal issues – ranging from education to mental health, social justice, technology, the environment, cultural heritage and much more,” said Birgit Green, assistant vice provost of University Outreach and Engagement. “Through their discoveries and community partnerships, they are making a difference in the lives of humans not just in our region, but around the world. It’s so impressive to see the impact of their work across so many sectors and populations.”

Nancy Trevino, director of the Texas Tech Mental Health Initiative (TTMHI), spoke at the first keynote luncheon of the week. The extensive partnerships and collaborations across the West Texas community in support of the TTMHI was the focus of Trevino’s “Mental Health Matters” address.

Undergraduate Research Conference

The 14th annual Undergraduate Research Conference (URC), hosted by the Center for Transformative Undergraduate Experiences (TrUE), featured more than 360 undergraduate student presenters and performers showcasing their undergraduate research and creative activities.

The oral and poster presentations featured research and creative activity representing the humanities, performing arts, biological and chemical sciences, social sciences and physical sciences. TrUE proudly awarded 31 student presenters a total of $17,500 in Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) Outstanding Presenter Awards. It also recognized 29 students as Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers and 25 professors as Outstanding Faculty Mentors.

“I would specifically like to thank the more than 250 Texas Tech University and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center faculty, staff and graduate students who came out and served our students as reviewers last week,” said TrUE Director Levi Johnson. “They made the URC a fabulous success by giving of their time and talents to these incredible undergraduates, and I’m excited to see our conference continue to grow with their support!”

The Center for the Integration of STEM Education & Research (CISER) continued its rich history with the URC by hosting the 28th annual CISER Research Banquet. The event featured CISER alumni and honorary scholars with members of the entire Texas Tech research community. The evening also included awards and recognitions from the CISER Scholar Service Organization.

Innovative Research Demo Day

The inaugural Innovative Research Demo Day featured research projects in medical design and entrepreneurship from students in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Spearheaded by their professor, Paul Egan, the nine teams presented their innovative solutions to a number of topics including heart surgery, drug safety, drone search and rescue, and more.

One team stood out to students, faculty and community members that perused the students’ demonstrations; the High-Fidelity Porcine Heart Simulator team received the People’s Choice Award for the Best Innovative Research Demo and a check for $500 sponsored by the Innovation Hub at Research Park.

Marcus Bullock, the founder and CEO of Flikshop, shared his journey of perseverance through his dynamic keynote address on Thursday (March 31). Bullock spoke to his experience in prison and how he continues to pay a lifeline forward by connecting prisoners to their loved ones through postcards. The entrepreneur then joined the Innovation Hub’s Kimberly Gramm in awarding the People’s Choice Award for the Social Innovation Challenge to the Innovative Guidance, Entrepreneurship & Outreach Center.

Texas Tech Accelerator Competition

On Friday (April 1), 16 business and nonprofit startup teams gathered at the Innovation Hub at Research Park to compete in the final round of the Texas Tech Accelerator Competition and first ever Social Innovation Challenge.

With the support of the Innovation Hub’s 42 mentors and volunteers who helped score business plans, the sixth annual Texas Tech Accelerator Competition awarded nine startups a combined total of $225,000. The nine teams accepted into the year-long Texas Tech Accelerator Program have access to funding support, $25,000 grants, co-working space and mentors.

The awardees were announced at the DTI Closing Party on Friday evening. In addition to the nine awardees, the crowd recognized the passion of 3 CulinaryMed Docs. The culinary medicine startup received the People’s Choice Award for the Texas Tech Accelerator. The Innovative Guidance, Entrepreneurship & Outreach Center won the Social Innovation Challenge.

“This year was second to none,” said Gramm, associate vice president of innovation and entrepreneurship. “Discoveries to Impact is the region’s showcase for research, innovation, community engagement, startups and Red Raider talent. It’s truly a special week of celebrating West Texas and Texas Tech’s excellence.”Find Texas Tech news, experts and story ideas at Texas Tech Today Media Resources or follow us on Twitter.

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