By Robert Stitt
While most of us complain about government spending, every now and then you may find that you are the beneficiary of a U.S. Government windfall. Such was the case for 20 fortunate small businesses that each received a portion of the $3.2 million in grant money from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in conjunction with the U.S. Commerce Department.
According to Black Enterprise, the businesses all have between 1 and 24 employees and were selected based on “proposals submitted in response to calls for innovative products to solve specific technology challenges in advanced manufacturing, climate change and clean energy, cyber-physical systems, health care, cyber-security and technology transfer.”
Penny Pritzkaer, U.S. Commerce Secretary said of the grants, “The grants being awarded today will support entrepreneurs in their efforts to create solutions to pressing challenges in high-growth industries, and in doing so, will help the American economy forward.”
The companies awarded the grants had new technology ideas that will hopefully be turned into products which will solve real-life technical problems. The grants are given in two phases. The Phase I grants are for $100,000 and require the company to prove that the product is feasible and then demonstrate its commercial use. Phase II brings in funding of $300,000 to bring the idea into the commercial world.
One of the Phase I ideas included a “new set of computational tools capable of accurately predicting the geometrical accuracy, residual stress and microstructure of parts made using metal-based additive manufacturing” by 3DSIM. An idea from AdSem focused on “Tuning Germanium Crystal Reflectivity and Mosaic—a technology that will significantly increase efficiency of U.S. research nuclear reactors for condensed matter research and which can improve telescope focusing systems and the quality of x-ray images for cancer diagnosis.”
Several more Phase I ideas focused on improving medical devices while others addressed improving the way businesses operate. Amethyst Research received money to work on climate change and clean energy while Formula Factory and InfoBeyond Technology, LLC both received grants to work on cybersecurity. These companies and many others are receiving money for their brilliant ideas that are just now coming into existence.
The companies that proved that their ideas were viable the last time around and are looking at the big money to bring their ideas to market included Antara Teknik LLC for cyber-security applications, En’Urga, Inc and Seacoast Science, Inc. for their contributions to the health care industry, including advances for breast cancer research and chemical analysis.
With so much focus on college grads who can’t get jobs and business that are going under, it is great to hear that there are brilliant people making great advances in science and technology. With the amount of government waste that we are aware of, it is nice to know that some of the money is making it into the hands of people that can make our world a better place.