The Small Business Administration has awarded Small Business Innovation Research program grants to 24 Utah companies because they have great potential for meeting the U.S. government's research and development needs.

Stan Nakano, SBA director in Utah, said the awards are from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Department of Health and Human Services, National Science Foundation, Department of Education, Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Defense.The SBIR program is designed to stimulate technological innovation, encourage qualified small high-tech firms to compete for federal research grants and provide incentives for conversion of research into commercial application.

More than $1.3 billion have been awarded for research and development projects to small business since the program was started in 1983.

Under the program, companies can receive phase one awards of up to $50,000 to test the feasibility of proposed concepts. Companies showing the most potential may be eligible for phase two awards of up to $500,000 to pursue technological development of their concepts.

The companies and their awards are Advanced Ceramic Research, Salt Lake City, $49,059; Technical Research Associates Inc., Salt Lake City, $42,570; Utah Geophysical Inc., Salt Lake City, $42,570; Topical Testing Inc., Salt Lake City, $50,000; Parvus Corp., Salt Lake City, $49,700; Ceramatec Inc., Salt Lake City, $49,517; IBC Advanced Technologies, Orem, $49,755; and Multilayer Optics and Technology, Provo, $50,000.

Terra Tek Inc., Salt Lake City, $50,000; Rocky Mountain Research Inc., Salt Lake City, $44,887; Medical Physics Inc., Salt Lake City, $50,000; FFF Fractionation Inc., Salt Lake City, $49,950; Albion Instruments, Salt Lake City, $48,500; Bonneville Scientific Inc., Salt Lake City, $50,000; Spectralytic, Salt Lake City, $39,187; and Western Engineering Corp., Bountiful, $29,715.

ICD Corp., Provo, $30,000; Enyon Battery Co., Provo, $50,000; R-lobed Composites Inc., West Jordan, $50,000; Radius Engineering & Tooling, Salt Lake City, $49,530; Micro Math Inc., Salt Lake City, $327,087; Technisian Inc., Salt Lake City, $500,000; James W. Bunger & Associates, Inc., Salt Lake City, $475,709; and Native Plants Inc., Salt Lake City, $477,657.