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Ensuring Fair Weather for Business

i518 is helping the Mesonet-bound atmospheric research of Qilong Min get to market.

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 29, 2016) — UAlbany has exciting plans to help turn faculty research into commercially successful businesses. The vehicle for this transformation is the campus’s new Innovation 518 (i518) office — and one of its first ventures fittingly reaches to the skies.
Qilong Min of UAlbany ASRC

ASRC senior research associate and professor Qilong Min has studied ways of achieving greater accuracy in weather prediction.

The start-up company ecoLong is a spin-off from the work of Atmospheric Science Research Center Professor Qilong Min, who has developed a sun photometer that measures solar radiation and air quality aerosol monitoring, which will ultimately assist in weather newscasts and forecasting for all of New York State.

The technology is scheduled for use on 17 of the 125 weather station sites comprising the UAlbany-led New York State Mesonet, charged with gauging temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, pressure, radiation, and soil information to prepare New York in a better way for extreme weather emergencies.

Min’s patented technology, eSir, will provide atmospheric data the state’s Mesonet Operations Center up to 2 miles above ground, as well as information on the amount of heat and moisture exchange near the ground and snow depth.

Like many technology start-ups, the journey to commercialization can be daunting. That is why Qilong and his daughter Nancy Min, who is the CEO and president of the new company, were glad to have, through i518, the resources of both UAlbany and Albany Law School at their disposal.

UAlbany’s director of community and economic development, Matthew Grattan, lauds this “packaging of support services” offered by i518, adding, “The result will be that you don’t feel you’re alone when you start to commercialize your venture.”

Among the assistance Nancy Min has received to date is aid on designing a business plan from UAlbany’s Small Business Development Center, help with her proposal for funding from the federal Small Business Innovation Research program, and assistance from the Government Law Center at Albany Law School on the legalities of forming the company.

Through i518, she and Qilong have also received assistance in networking with company contacts in manufacturing and other services, and guidance from UAlbany’s Technology Transfer office.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.