The National Science Foundation (NSF) will award four grants in a new pilot program intended to bridge the gap between technology research and commercialization by providing incentives for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grantees to seek partnerships with investors. The new SBIR Phase IIB Pilot Program supplements the already successful SBIR effort at NSF.
"SBIR has always been a catalyst for the growth of small high-tech businesses," said Kesh Narayanan, NSF director of industrial innovation. We found that the top 50 successful small business grantees (representing about 10 percent of all Phase II grantees) have accounted for $2.2 billion in direct sales and created 10,000 jobs. The pilot program will help give other small high-tech companies the opportunity to make this sort of impact."
NSF selected four small businesses to participate in the pilot program based on the intellectual merit and potential impact of their research: Polatomic Corporation, for a miniaturized device to measure the properties of planetary magnetic fields; Pericle Communications Company, for their work to develop a method to double the signal capacity of cellular radio networks; New Light Industries, for the design and application of a holographic printer; and Auxein Corporation, for the development of a metabolic primer to enhance plant growth.
SBIR is a congressionally mandated program initiated at the NSF in 1977 to promote the development of innovative technologies by small science and technology-based businesses. SBIR grants are awarded in two phases. Projects under Phase I are funded for a six-month feasibility study. If the projects are determined eligible, they may receive funding for the principal research effort under Phase II. After Phase II, grant recipients are expected to pursue commercial applications of their research without the support of government funding.