Yongwei Shan, assistant professor in the school of civil and environmental engineering at Oklahoma State University, along with graduate assistant Hossein Khaleghian have been awarded a $50,000 National Science Foundation I-Corps grant with the assistance of their industry mentor Jim Harris with Jacobs Engineering Group.
Shan and Khaleghian’s project, entitled “Data Quality Assurance and Inventory Tool (One-Voice) for Sewer Inspection Data”, will provide an easily accessible and reliable national sewer data inventory that will assist municipal utility districts in developing effective and proactive maintenance and rehabilitation plans. This will in-turn reduce the overall maintenance costs of sewer systems as well as avoid costly repairs due to pipe failures. If the technology is successfully commercialized, sewer officials such as National Association of Sewer Service Companies (NASSCO) will better understand the current trend of sewer system conditions nationwide.
“This will provide proven justification to secure adequate federal funding for sewer system improvements,” Shan said. “This technology will support the nation's agenda of improving the condition of the aging and deteriorating sewer infrastructure, which will promote societal wellbeing and support the sustainable development of the society.”
Through their research and the regional NSF I-Corps site program, it was concluded “there is a tremendous need for the proposed technology among utilities and contractors because of the time and cost savings that can be realized in inspection processes and rehabilitation plans. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria,” according to the NSF award abstract.
The participation in the NSF I-Corps program affords graduate students an opportunity to cultivate their skills in innovation and entrepreneurship, which may lead to the creation of start-up companies and more job opportunities.
The I-Corps Site at OSU helps catalyze I-Corps teams locally from Oklahoma’s academic institutions, whose technology concepts are likely candidates for commercialization. The OSU I-Corps Site provides advice, resources, network opportunities, and training, in addition to up to $3,000 per team in NSF funding to help commercialization efforts and application to an I-Corps Node National Cohort. For more information, visit https://icorps.okstate.edu/ or contact senior I-Corps site grant administrator Richard Gajan at firstname.lastname@example.org .