Engineering professor Timothy Ovaert receives 1st Source Commercialization Award

Author: William G. Gilroy

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University of Notre Dame professor of aerospace and mechanical engineering Timothy Ovaert has been named recipient of the 1st Source Commercialization Award celebrating research that has made it to the marketplace.

Ovaert was honored for his impact-reducing flooring system, SorbaSHOCK. SorbaSHOCK is a specially engineered flooring system with specific biomechanical impact-reducing properties that can be installed directly on a concrete subfloor to form a coherent underlayment system.

SorbaSHOCK is designed to be used under flexible sheet vinyl flooring or carpet. What makes the flooring system unique is that unlike padded mats, SorbaSHOCK is designed to remain rigid during normal walking conditions, but to then collapse from the impact of a fall, absorbing the critical energy that causes serious fractures and pain.

Timothy Ovaert

Laboratory testing indicates that the use of SorbaSHOCK reduces the probability of serious injury (such as a broken hip) from falling by approximately 68 percent. However, a recent review of data collected from one of the managed care facilities that installed SorbaSHOCK last year showed that 92 falls, over a nine-month period, resulted in zero fractures. Statistically, 92 falls would normally result in three fractures.

The award, which carries a $20,000 cash prize, was presented Thursday (March 1) during a dinner in the Jordan Hall of Science. Established in 2010 with a $1 million gift from 1st Source Bank, the award is presented each year to faculty from Notre Dame or the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend who have successfully transitioned their technology from the lab to the marketplace.

The keynote speaker at this year’s event was Philip Low, a distinguished professor of chemistry at Purdue University and co-founder of Endocyte Inc., a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases.

In addition to the commercialization award, the 1st Source gift funds an annual lecture or symposium on technology commercialization, bringing to campus experienced entrepreneurs and investors, legal experts on company formation and other university technology transfer professionals.

Contact: Richard Cox, director of technology transfer, 574-631-5158,