In March of this year, the U.S. Economic Development Administration announced the 26 recipients of the 2015 Regional Innovation Strategies grant. Funds totaling $10 million were awarded to institutions around the country as part of an initiative to provide entrepreneurs with the resources to lead their ideas to fruition.
As America’s ‘Innovation Agency,’ the Commerce Department has a key role to play in supporting the innovators and job creators of tomorrow…. The Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition is designed to advance this mission across the United States, strengthening our economy and our global competitiveness.
– U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker
The Regional Innovation Strategies Program is funded at the federal level, with applicants expected to match their requested grant amount using non-federal funds. The three competition categories are described below.
i6 Challenge Grants
Launched in 2010 as part of the Obama Administration’s innovation policy, the i6 Challenge aims to bring groundbreaking research and new technologies to market faster. Eligible teams of applicants compete for grants of up to $500,000 are evaluated based on their approach to an issue, the plan of action, professional qualifications and resources, sustainability and potential impact.
Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds
This grant is geared at startups, with award winners demonstrating high potential for growth through innovative research and technologies. Winners are expected to use funds for areas such as marketing and feasibility studies as they vie for cluster-based seed capital.
Science and Research Park Development Grants
The program’s only category open to commercial organizations, this development grant supports planning efforts for the construction of science and research parks. While award money is not earmarked for physical construction, it is intended to assist groups as they conduct studies and draft proposals for future funding.
In the next installment about the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, we turn our attention to institutions in the Southeast that have been awarded this prestigious grant.
Photo Credit: Chris Potter via Flickr