Laura Seitz, Deseret News
FILE - Precious Cantu and Peng Wang, electrical engineering graduate students at the University of Utah, check out ENVE's carbon fiber bicycle rims and components as Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) researchers showcase their most exciting projects and emerging technologies at the 2013 Innovation Fair at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013.

SALT LAKE CITY — USTAR, the state's technology-focused economic development agency, announced on Thursday a $2 million round of competitive funding through its Technology Acceleration Program, open to Utah-based startups and early stage companies.

The program, which launched in 2016, has provided over $7 million in assistance to help businesses with research and development, proof of concept, product validation and product development. USTAR Executive Director Ivy Estabrooke said the program has had great success in helping Utah tech and innovation businesses get their products or services to market.

“We are excited with the results that have come from previous rounds of TAP,” said Estabrooke. “We are seeing strong movement as companies meet their technical milestones and advance their projects along the development pipeline.”

USTAR noted this round of funding is focused on five technology sectors: aerospace, automation and robotics (including internet of things and smart cities technologies), big data and cybersystems, energy and clean technology and life sciences. Interested participants are required to submit a letter of intent by Aug. 25 with submissions closing on Oct. 2.

“Utah has a rich technology community that spans all areas of the state,” said Estabrooke. “TAP can be a vital tool for local technology startups seeking initial funding for their businesses. The grants have the ability to move a company closer to additional funding and the marketplace.”

Additional details on the program can be found at ustar.org/our-programs/tap-technology-acceleration-program.