Engineering Professors, Business Receive $75,000 Grant from RI Commerce Corp.

KINGSTON, R.I. – URI Engineering professors Richard Vaccaro and Musa Jouneh received a $75,000 innovation grant from RI Commerce Corporation for engineering development work with a startup company, Kinesia. The grant, which runs from January to August 2024, will pay for the creation of a prototype for an aid to human rehabilitation from orthopedic and neurological injuries.

Mechanical engineering professor Musa Jouneh has a background in teaming with companies. “My interest is in automation and robotics. I’ve been working with several companies on projects involving making prototypes,” he said. “Some of my colleagues mentioned to Kinesia that Professor Vaccaro and I might be resources for them.” Jouneh says the project appeals to him as someone who is a professor, but is also an engineer. “I like to work on problems that result in the development of useful devices and machines, and this fits in that category. I’m excited about that.”

Kinesia partners Chris O’Brien and Mark Torok said they hope this grant will be the beginning of a long-term professional relationship with the University and Rhode Island.

“We feel that this isn’t a one and done,” O’Brien said. “We anticipate building a whole business with this as an initial product and then going from there.”

Mark Torok agrees. “Eventually we want to manufacture this in Rhode Island and have the ability to produce jobs for the people of Rhode Island. That’s the goal of these innovation grants, and as both of us are alumni of the University of Rhode Island it’s really cool that we’re now working with the University. Eventually we hope to get to a point where we can actually hire folks from the state and be able to manufacture from here.”

This article was written by Hugh Markey.

“I like to work on problems that result in the development of useful devices and machines, and this fits in that category. I’m excited about that.”