Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Three Mines Start-Ups Win DoD Business Development Assistance

Mines Ph.D. candidate Whytneigh Duffie working in her lab this week. Duffie leads one of three research teams at Mines that will receive DoD assistance to turn their innovation into successful local businesses.


The National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), a program run by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), has awarded three start-up companies created by research at South Dakota Mines admission into the 2022 NSIN Emerge Accelerator. This business accelerator program includes an extremely competitive entry process with teams at top research universities across the nation competing for a spot.

“The ongoing successes of these start-up businesses speaks to the thriving ecosystem of entrepreneurship at South Dakota Mines. We’re proud of our achievements in transforming the innovation on campus into high-paying jobs that benefit our local economy and our nation’s defense,” says Mines president Jim Rankin.

NSIN’s website states that the Emerge Accelerator “seeks to establish [Technology Transfer and Transition] T3 partnerships with universities to spin out new dual-use ventures (one that targets both government and commercial (enterprise and/or consumer) customers), based on existing university intellectual property, that correspond to the DoD’s urgent and critical areas of technology development.”

Mines partnership with NSIN began two years ago, and Emerge is just one of the many opportunities that Mines students have to work with the DoD on real world problems. To date, more than 40 Mines students have worked on 15 different DoD problems ranging from 3D printed B-1 Bomber parts, concrete spalling on the airfield and base traffic flow optimization. With Emerge, Mines students can now create startup companies and compete for non-dilutive funding.

The businesses created by Mines researchers and students joining Emerge include:

Hydrolyst LLC: was started by Mines graduate students Kirstie Gildemeister and Kelsey Fitzgerald. Hydrolyst has created an improved material used in hydrogen fuel cells, which extends the lifetime, aims to improve hydrogen production rate and reduces the cost of the final product. This technology has the potential to bring hydrogen fuel cells to market much faster by making them more affordable for the consumer.

Disappearing 4D Advanced Materials:   Mines Ph.D. candidate Whytneigh Duffie developed a chemical technology that includes a new type of 3D printer resin. It eliminates the risk of reverse engineering of sensitive military intellectual property, and it provides benefits over typical biodegradable polymers. The innovation will increase material and combat readiness, shorten the supply chain and reduce costs that are associated with transportation and end-of-life disposal.

Novum Nano: has created a novel nano memristor, which has the potential to further miniaturize electronics and revolutionize information storage capabilities. The technology also requires less power than current resistors and can withstand a much wider voltage and temperature range, increasing its durability. The founders of the company include South Dakota Mines research scientist Haiping Hong, Ph.D., and alumnus Greg Christensen, Ph.D.

The entry to the NSIN Emerge Accelerator is highly competitive. In a press release the NSIN states: “Universities nominated more than 200 teams for the NSIN Emerge program, and after an intensive selection process, 42 teams from 17 universities received invitations to join the inaugural cohort.” 

"The selection process for NSIN Emerge was highly competitive and included input from DoD organizations making decisions today that will impact the future of US National security," said Jason Combs, NSIN program director at Mines. "The fact that three Mines startups were selected demonstrates the level of talent at Mines, and the technology produced further solidifies our position in national defense innovation.”

The selection of Mines research to join the NSIN Emerge Accelerator benefits both the defense of the United States and the growth of the local economy. The NSIN press release states that Mines teams, “will work with DoD and commercial prospects to develop critical skills in venture strategy and marketing, and product development and design. As part of their effort to become successful dual-use ventures, the teams will test their prototypes in real military projects and receive mentoring on breaking into DoD and commercial markets with their intellectual property (IP) and technology."


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-721-7865, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu

Upcoming Events

Friday, Apr. 19, 2024
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
South Dakota Mines Music Center
Monday, Apr. 22, 2024
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Beck Ballroom, Surbeck Center
Friday, Apr. 26, 2024
9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Surbeck Center Beck Ballroom
Friday, Apr. 26, 2024
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
South Dakota Mines Music Center