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US Gov't is Investing Billions in Regional Innovation; Universities and Accelerators are Taking Note

Unpacking the $20 Billion Grant opportunity tailored to Universities, Labs, and Entrepreneurship Support Organizations.

Accelerate Impact: A OneValley blog series dedicated to sustainability and social responsibility in the acceleration industry. This article is a follow-up to our last post about technology transfer and acceleration.

OneValley Blog - US Gov't is Investing Billions in Regional Innovation; Universities and Accelerators are Taking Note

The Chips Plus Science (Chips+) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) earmarked over $20 Billion toward funding regional startup accelerators and support programs. Approximately $10 Billion will support “Regional Innovation Engines” (NSF Engines), and the other $10 Billion will go towards NSF “Regional Tech and Innovation”(RTI) Hubs. In addition to these programs, the IRA provides billions of dollars to support these initiatives through tax incentives, loans, and grants.

In contrast to traditional startup accelerators, these government-funded accelerators put a premium on increasing startup creation via tech transfer, a process involving the commercialization of publicly funded IP and promoting inclusive and diverse entrepreneurial communities.

One noteworthy example is the NSF’s “Accelerating Research Translation”(ART) program, whose goal is to “ build capacity and infrastructure for translational research at U.S. Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) and to enhance their role in regional innovation ecosystems.” The ART program will grant up to 10 awards in its first round, where each awardee will receive up to $6,000,000 over four years ($60M total first-round potential program funding).

Entities that seek to apply for and implement funding for programs like NSF’s ART will have to think carefully about aspects that are unique to government-funded acceleration, such as:

  • Are there tech-transfer-specific tools and resources to easily highlight promising IP?

  • What are the mechanisms for screening and selecting candidate founders for the program?

  • Does the ecosystem make it easy for founders to use existing R&D/test bed infrastructure?

  • Are you encouraging engagement and collaboration among stakeholders such as investors, technologists, commercialization experts, etc.?

  • Are investors motivated to be mentors? Are researchers expressing interest in being technical co-founders?

  • Can acceleration managers create communities and host events that engage your stakeholders easily?

At OneValley, we’ve helped groups win government funding and run their accelerators using our Innovation-as-a-Service platform, PassportOS. But, more importantly, we’ve been there to play the role of a trusted innovation partner, where we leverage our deep network of partners and regional stakeholders to ensure that the innovation ecosystems succeed.

OneValley supports 100,000+ entrepreneurs, innovators, and nonprofits directly and another 1M+ through our B2B customers by providing software that powers many of the world’s most impactful startup and innovation programs. Our advantage draws from our unique combination of software + ecosystem and the experience of supporting dozens of universities, foundations, and Fortune 500 enterprises as they build thriving startup and innovation communities.

Coming up next week: our Head of Product, Alec Wright, shares his experience helping to build one of the nation's most exciting publicly funded accelerator programs, the DOE’s Cradle to Commerce Climate Tech Accelerator.


About Alex:

Alex Fang is the Director of Social Impact at OneValley, where he helps sustainability-minded founders grow their startups.


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