Gov. Jennifer Granholm announced yesterday that 505 research proposals have been submitted for a share of the $100 million available this year through the 21st Century Job Fund.

Fifty-three of those proposals came from the University.

The fund, created by Granholm last November, provides more state funds for research. The hope is that the findings could provide employment for local job seekers. For example, with the development of a new medication comes the need to market it, manufacture it and transport it.

“This response is beyond our wildest projections for a program that is sure to accelerate the transformation of our state economy,” Granholm said in a written statement yesterday. Granholm announced the number of proposals at the Biotechnology Industry Organization conference in Chicago.

Research proposals were accepted in four areas of study: life sciences, automotive and manufacturing, homeland security and defense and alternative energy. In life sciences, 164 proposals were submitted, the most in any given field, said Michael Shore, spokesman for the group that manages the fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

“The proposals that have the highest priority are research that can be commercialized into products and services,” Shore said. “We want to fund projects that in a short time can employ people in Michigan.”

Mechanical Engineering Prof. Galip Ulsoy is one of the 505 individuals hoping that his research will earn him a piece of the $100-million pie.

Ulsoy said he hopes to create a better system for applying force when stamping sheet metal into different materials and car parts.

When sheet metal is molded into different parts, it is done using three main components: a die, a punch and a blank. The die and punch stretch the sheet metal into the required shape and the blank applies a restraining force to control the process.

Tears and wrinkles in the metal sometimes occur when too much force is applied during the stamping process. Ulsoy said he hopes his research will help develop a sensor that will automatically adjust the force applied to the sheet metal.

“The system will allow lighter-weight cars through cost-effective stamping of lighter materials such as aluminum alloys,” he said.

Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Shore said. The association will make recommendations, and then the proposals will be assessed by the Strategic Economic Investment and Commercialization Board to determine what research will be most beneficial to the economy.

The amount of money awarded will be determined in late July.

Ulsoy said funding is always competitive but it has been useful to have state funding available along with other federal and private grants.

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