LOUISVILLE, Ky. -The University of Louisville, Indiana University and Missouri University of Science and Technology will be helping women and minority faculty, staff and student innovators improve their success in securing money to commercialize their inventions.
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $225,000 grant for a pilot program, called AWARE: ACCESS: Building Innovation Capacity through Diversity. UofL is the lead institution for the grant.
“Women and underrepresented researchers have great ideas that need to be translated into the marketplace” said Rob Keynton, UofL’s director of research initiatives and lead investigator of the program. “Unfortunately, these innovators have had limited success in securing federal business grants and other funding. We hope to change that with this new program.”
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, woman-and minority-owned small businesses receive less than 16 percent of federal grants (SBIR/STTR) to move their research and technology to the marketplace.
“Increasing the participation of women, African-Americans, and other underrepresented groups in the technology industry is an important social and economic challenge in America. AWARE: ACCESS will help lay the foundation for making significant progress on this issue,” said Malcolm Townes, associate director of Missouri S&T’s Office of Technology Transfer and Economic Development.
The pilot program has four major goals for women and minority academic innovators:
- Identify, engage and mentor them to pursue entrepreneurship as a career
- Expand educational, experiential and networking opportunities
- Enhance their competitiveness for federal grant applications
- Create a regional ecosystem for entrepreneurs and sharing of best practices by UofL, IU and Missouri S&T