Ken Marcus: Inventor Spotlight

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Clemson University chemistry professor, Dr. R. Kenneth Marcus, has made a substantial impact on the scientific community with his innovative research. Having served as a faculty member at Clemson for over 30 years, Marcus has received several patents and awards for his work in the development and application of new plasma techniques for the atomic spectroscopic analysis of diverse materials.


Marcus began his career as an inventor during his time as a graduate student at the University of Virginia, where he received his first patent for a novel excitation and ionization source for the elemental analysis of solid materials. In 1986, he graduated with a patent and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry. In addition to his individual accomplishments as an inventor, Marcus takes great pride in molding the next generation of researchers. At Clemson, he works extensively with a research group made up of several Clemson University Ph.D. students. The group’s research is rooted in analytical chemistry but has two unique fields of study. Marcus’s group has developed the Liquid Sampling – Atmospheric Pressure Glow Discharge (LS-APGD), a novel atmospheric pressure glow discharge source that is being used as a spectrochemical means for optical emission and mass spectrometric analysis. The second research focus centers on a protein separation method that uses capillary-channeled polymer (C-CP) fibers as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC).


A long-time contributor to science and the futures of his many students, Ken Marcus is valued not only as a Clemson faculty member, but also as an inventor. Currently, Marcus serves on the editorial boards for three international journals and has received several notable honors including the 2001 S.C. Governor’s Award for Excellence in Science Research, and is a Fellow in multiple societies including the Royal Society of Chemistry (London), and most recently, the National Academy of Inventors. 


Learn more about Ken Marcus here.

An innovative transition (November 19, 2018)

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Dear Clemson Colleagues,

As you can see from the headline of our newsletter, CURF has been very busy these past twelve months as we embarked on an ambitious strategic initiative to strengthen our relationship with the Clemson University Research Enterprise, broaden our technology transfer and research support offerings to Clemson faculty, and align our activities and objectives to the ClemsonForward 2020 plan. Over the past year we have engaged leaders at both the administrative and faculty level to discuss, define, and demonstrate, the value of CURF in supporting the research enterprise in the pursuit of the ClemsonForward research objectives.  This evaluation has provided us the opportunity to learn about ourselves and our stakeholders, both internal and external, and the evolving research funding environment that universities are now facing.

We have made significant progress in our transition from simply operating as a technology transfer organization to a research support organization, and we recognize that we have more to do.  Through this newsletter and additional follow-on communication platforms, we hope to share with you the people and processes we are putting in place to be more responsive, more innovative, and more collaborative in helping Clemson achieve its research objectives.  

We will be introducing the new CURF to internal stakeholders throughout the remainder of the 2018 calendar year.   In the meantime, should you have any questions, or require our assistance on matters related to intellectual property or research support, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our newly launched customer intake portal  at

Clemson University Research Foundation makes strategic shift

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Established in 1981, the Clemson University Research Foundation (CURF) is a 501(c)(3) organization exclusively founded for charitable, educational, and scientific purposes. Since its founding, CURF’s main objective has been to encourage, promote, and support research, development, and related activities of Clemson University.  During its 37 years of operation, CURF has supported diverse research initiatives and facilitated technology transfer at Clemson University. In assisting Clemson faculty with moving their technologies out of the laboratory and into the commercial markets, CURF has served as a key connection between University faculty and industry.


Recently, CURF was challenged with an opportunity to strengthen their support of the CU Research Enterprise through a broader service offering and to reshape their brand in a way that will maximize their ability to operate at the convergence of multiple disciplines.  To meet such a challenge, CURF has partnered with The Brand Leader, a full-service branding firm, to clarify the CURF mission, values, and services to their primary stakeholders, increase visibility of their expanded support role, and promote opportunities for future collaborative research engagements between CU faculty and industry.


The power of the CURF brand lies in CURF’s ability to initiate and build research partnerships between Clemson faculty inventors and industry by leveraging its established core competencies in technology transfer, Intellectual Property, and business development. The basis of CURF’s success is relational and not transactional. In the past, the CURF brand has been primarily focused in marketing the technologies produced and disclosed by faculty researchers at Clemson. As CURF takes the steps to realign their brand with the ClemsonForward 2020 plan, the main focus of their brand will be geared towards providing faculty with the resources they need to promote not only their disclosed technologies, but also their research expertise and interests to a broader audience with the intent of contributing to an overall increase in high-impact research activities throughout the entire Research Enterprise.


After being in business for nearly four decades, CURF recognizes that the needs and interests of their diverse internal and external customers has evolved. It is CURF’s goal  to keep pace with the evolution of their customer base and their needs. Revising the CURF brand voice and strategically positioning their message with the ClemsonForward 2020 plan, will allow CURF to promote and guide their stakeholders to successful outcomes, not only in technology transfer, but in sponsored research engagements throughout the Institute.