Nebraska PPE partnership project receives Excalibur Award at AURP 2020 International Conference

Hand sanitizer production facility at the Food Innovation Center

The Association of University Research Parks (AURP) announced recipients of the Awards of Excellence during the 2020 virtual international conference. The Nebraska PPE Partnership Project, a partnership between Nebraska Innovation Studio (NIS), the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Food Processing Center and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, received the Excalibur Award.  

This year, the Excalibur Award recognized organizations or individuals who, in response to COVID-19, provided unique and significant technology solutions, community outreach or leadership to assist their community in better health outcomes. 

“We are honored that AURP selected the Nebraska PPE Partnership Project for the Excalibur Award,” said Daniel Duncan, NICDC Executive Director, and AURP President. “This award recognizes the entities located at Nebraska Innovation Campus that responded to the needs of our local community, state, and the United States during the current pandemic.”

The impact of the PPE efforts that took place at NIC rippled across Nebraska and the United States. Hundreds of communities and thousands of individuals benefited from the collaborative efforts of the PPE Partnership Project team.

Nebraska Innovation Studio, the makerspace at NIC, developed and distributed over 22,000 face shields to Nebraska communities and locations outside of the state, including a hospital in New York City. Thousands of disposable protective gowns were also made and distributed at a local level.

The Food Processing Center, the university’s Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the Nebraska Ethanol Board formed a partnership to produce hand sanitizer. This effort created a mini startup company that produced and distributed 200,000 gallons of hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer was distributed to medical personnel in over 312 communities and to 6,500 USDA Food Safety Inspection Service Locations across the United States. This project was made possible by engaging several private sector companies, including Green Plains Inc., Phillips 66 and Cargill, to donate to the effort.

AURP is a professional association of university related research and science parks. The organization focuses on creating communities of innovation and education for research parks both operating and planned, plus innovation districts, incubators, accelerators and the businesses that support the research park industry. AURP and its global membership promote research, institute-industry relations, and innovation districts to foster innovation and to facilitate the transfer of technology from such institutions to the private sector.