About $560,000 in grants have been approved by the Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development to aid licensees and universities trying to commercialize new technologies.
The state invests about $1.6 million annually to support the deveopment of university technology, according to the GOED statement. The grants are designed to assist Gov. Gary Herbert's plan to create 100,000 new jobs in the next 1,000 days.
With the aid of a panel of industry experts from the private sector, the state approved Technology Commercialization and Innovation Program funding for 14 projects. Some companies that received TCIP grants in its early stage have benefited from the more than $23 million in investments from outside sources, according to the GOED.
The GOED program offers grants of $40,000 or less. The recipients are granted $20,000 once proof is provided of matching funds. After at least one "milestone," they can get the other $20,000, TCIP program director David Bradford said.
Commercial companies and universities must meet specific requirements in order to obtain TCIP grants, including the potential to create new jobs in Utah, according to the GOED statement. The hope is that private investors will provide additional funding for the technological projects later on.
The grants are given to university teams and companies with less than $1 million in revenue that are commercially licensing university technology, Bradford said.
Bradford said the program works well.
"Our institutions of 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," Bradford said.
The projects funded by TCIP vary across a wide spectrum of technological advances, from developing a new LED nanotechnology that uses "quantum dots" or semiconductors that has the potential to greatly decrease the cost of making cellphones, flat-screen TVs and other items, to developments like flu shots that only need to be given every three years. Sonic Innovations and Myriad Genetics are two companies that have benefited from the grants.
Two years ago, the programs were changed to make the grant process smaller and faster. Since the reconstruction, TCIP has approved 73 projects for a total of approximately $2.9 million, according to a statement by the GOED.