For the first time, the annual international COMS Conference will be held in Utah, bringing some of the world’s top researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs to Salt Lake City to talk about the commercialization of micro, nano and emerging technologies.

The conference, which is developed by the Micro and Nanotechnology Commercialization Education Foundation (MANCEF) and the University of Utah Center for Engineering Innovation, will be held from Oct. 12 through 15 at the Grand America Hotel, 555 S. Main St.

“You get exposure to investors and to people in the network who can help you realize your ideas across the world,” Florian Solzbacher, University of Utah electrical engineering professor and co-chair of the conference, said about the benefit of hosting COMS 2014 in Utah. “It’s access to contacts, and it raises our profile nationally and internationally.”

COMS invites researchers, companies, investors and government officials to figure out ways to translate ideas into working prototypes and startup companies. Panel topics include renewable energy, biomedical success stories from Utah, nanotechnology commercialization, innovations in healthcare, and emerging technologies in global energy.

Solzbacher said the fact that this year’s COMS conference is taking place in Utah is a good opportunity for researchers to show off what Utah innovation is all about.

“We want to make sure that people stay and grow their businesses here,” he said. “That starts with bringing people here and having them see what’s happening in Utah.”

Salt Lake City hosting the event is not the only first for this year’s COMS Conference. The nanoUtah Conference, which brings graduate students together to pitch their technology ideas to entrepreneurs, investors and other researchers, is merging with COMS and also will be held at the Grand America.

“This allows student entrepreneurs to get exposure at COMS,” Solzbacher said about combining both events for the first time. “I thought: Why don’t we give it [nanoUtah] a boost to integrate it with a more high-level event?”

The nanoUtah Conference is sponsored by the University of Utah College of Engineering, Utah Nanofabrication Laboratory, and the Nano Institute of Utah. In all, about 300 attendees are expected to attend both conferences. Other major sponsors for COMS include Zions Bank, Sandia National Laboratories and MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology.

For more information about the conferences and to register, go to