SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development recently approved more than $400,000 of grants in support of new technologies that universities and licensees are seeking to commercialize to help build companies, create jobs and drive economic development in the state.
The state invests approximately $1.6 million a year in support of university technology commercialization. The grants will help contribute to Governor Gary Herbert's overall target of accelerating the creation of 100,000 new Utah jobs in the next 1,000 days.
With the assistance of a panel of reviewers from the private sector, the state approved Technology Commercialization and Innovation Program (TCIP) grant funding for 14 projects. The success of the state's TCIP early-stage grants is demonstrable by follow-on funding returns: several companies have reported receiving additional investment funding from outside sources totaling in excess of $23 million.
"TCIP is the premier grant program in the state for helping commercialize new technologies that have been developed by Utah colleges and universities," said David Bradford, TCIP program director. "Our institutions of higher education and the entrepreneurs who work with them are important drivers of economic development in the state because of their passion for innovation and world-renowned research."
Funded TCIP projects range from technologies seeking to make a new flu vaccine that would require flu shots only every several years, rather than each year, to a new light-emitting diode (LED) nanotechnology using semiconductors called "quantum dots" that could dramatically lower the cost of producing flat-screen TVs, cell phones and other devices that use LEDs.
These new grants support technologies in development at a number of Utah higher education institutions, including the University of Utah, Utah State University and Utah Valley University.
TCIP is a state program managed by GOED that provides grants of up to $40,000 for university-developed technologies that show promise of commercial success. The grants are disbursed contingent upon matching funds being provided by the commercializing company or university to leverage the state's contribution and are approved based on their potential for economic development in Utah.
Historically, this type of grant has been instrumental in the early development of such noteworthy and successful companies in Utah as Myriad Genetics and Sonic Innovations.
After the program was restructured nearly two years ago to focus on a "smaller and faster" grant process, TCIP now makes more funding available to an increased number of companies in need of early-stage funding. In the last two years, TCIP has approved 73 projects for grant funding totaling $2.9 million.