NIH grants will spur innovation in under-resourced states

News Release, National Institutes of Health 

Four new grants will help to move scientific discoveries and technologies out of the lab and into commercial products that improve patient care and enhance human health. Awards for Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hubs for Institutional Development Award (IDeA) states will total almost $2 million in the first year and potentially more than $13 million over three years, pending the availability of funds. The grants are managed by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical, and translational research; faculty and student development; and scientific infrastructure improvements. The program also enhances the ability of investigators to compete successfully for additional research funding and serves the research needs of medically underserved communities. The 23 IDeA states and Puerto Rico historically have had disproportionately few Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards. The STTR program funds research and development partnerships between small businesses and academic research institutions. Among other activities, the STTR program funds the systematic application of knowledge toward the production of useful materials, devices, and systems or methods. The new grants will support the creation of one shared STTR accelerator hub in each of the four IDeA regions (Central, Northeastern, Southeastern, and Western). The hubs will provide infrastructure and expertise, and will produce educational tools (e.g., curricula, texts, webinars) through the development and testing of models to accelerate technology transfer that are needed to promote commercialization of academic research and to build an entrepreneurial culture at IDeA institutions.

The accelerator hubs will partner with businesses to leverage existing IDeA programs by providing academic researchers and administrators with scientific entrepreneurial knowledge and skills. The hubs will also offer networking opportunities and business development strategies that can result in more successful SBIR and STTR applications and facilitate the creation of new startup companies.

“This is a significant opportunity for small businesses, academia, and the federal government to partner in two critical areas: boosting high-tech innovation and tackling biomedical research needs,” said NIGMS Director Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D. “I’m pleased with the success the IDeA program has had in facilitating research innovation in states that have historically received less NIH funding, and I’m excited by the potential of these new awards to give researchers in IDeA states needed skills to move their biotech research from the lab to the marketplace to improve public health.”

The new accelerator hubs and their major partnering institutions are:

  • Northeast: DRIVEN: Accelerating Medical Entrepreneurship in the Northeast, Celdara Medical, LLC, Lebanon, New Hampshire, with University of Vermont, Burlington: UT2GM130176
  • Central: The Sustainable Heartland Accelerator Regional Partnership Hub, BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting, LLC, Chelsea, Michigan, with University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City: UT2GM130175 
  • Western: Accelerating Solutions for Commercialization and Entrepreneurial Development in the Mountain West IDeA States, Virtici, LLC, Seattle, with University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Albuquerque: UT2GM130166
  • Southeastern: Southeast Xlerator Network, XLerateHealth, LLC, Kentucky, with University of Kentucky, Lexington: UT2GM130174

More information about the grants will be posted to the NIH RePORT database shortly. Grants can be located by searching the grant number.

NIGMS is a part of the National Institutes of Health that supports basic research to increase our understanding of biological processes and lay the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. For more information on the Institute’s research and training programs, visit https://www.nigms.nih.gov

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