Jump to main content.

A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce
header_about

About EDA

i6 Grant Challenge Informational Session

< Back to i6 Homepage

June 27, 2012



ROUGHLY EDITED COPY

USPTO
June 27th, 2012
1:00 PM
I6 Challenge Meeting






Services provided by:
	Caption First, Inc.
	P.O. Box 3066
	Monument, CO 80132
	1 877 825 5234
	+001 719 481 9835
	www.captionfirst.com


This text is being provided in a rough draft format.  Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be totally verbatim record of the proceedings.




>> Mic test, one, two, three, four, one, two, three, four.
>> The conference is starting a little late.
>> Mic check, one, two, three, four.
Thank you very much.
>> Good afternoon, everyone.
And welcome to the second 2012 i6 challenge information session.
I want to apologize for some of our technical difficulties.
If I can ask all of you who are on the phone to please mute your microphones.
That's both your telephone mic as well as your computer mic.
We're getting some feedback.
If I could ask all of you do that, that'd be great.
As many of you some of you were not able to participate so we decided to go over the objectives of the challenges as well as answer some questions that you might have.
So the objective of the i6 challenge is to support innovation and entrepreneur sectors.
EDA had six regions and each region will provide one grant of up to $2 million for each.
To quickly go what the proof of focus centers    we see the see the research consortium of the   
[Inaudible]
>> The entrepreneurship is really to set up five objectives.
One was to help structure the global challenges they're addressing on their organizations    
[Inaudible]
>> I'm getting messages that people cannot hear.
So please mute your computer mics so we can begin this presentation.
[Background noise]
[Background noise]
>> We're trying to ensure that everyone is muted at this point before we move forward.
Thank you.
>> Once again for all of you on the call please mute your phones or mics, we're having some challenges with everybody hearing the presentation.
So once again I'll just start from the top real quick for those of you with challenges.
The objective here is to support research girths and nonprofits in five different ways to support their innovation and entrepreneurship.
And that is    first is to help them structure their ways of addressing global challenges and harvesting ideas.
Many of our top research universities and consortiums are looking at really big solutions for challenges in energy, life sciences, technology, security, and other areas, education and proof of concept center, center for innovation and entrepreneurship is one form that is commonly to do that.
Secondly, many of these organizations are looking at greater commercialization of their ideas and research and development and these centers serve as a way to focus on commercialization than on the sector area.
Secondly creating a community, researchers, supporters, faculty and students that are thinking of the relevance of ideas.
This is essentially a form of in person crowd sourcing, if you will, of bringing outsiders and insiders together to think about ideas and the relevance for the world.
Fourth it's to engage those directly with ideas and research breakthroughs at a stage much, much earlier than has historically been going to in the innovation commercialization space and that's really at the idea level and identifying the pathways of these ideas and finally it's a hopefully new source of revenue for these organizations both in terms of listening but as well as in terms of sponsorship and ultimately good will, whether it's foundations, charitable donations, or alumni to engage with their institution.
From economic development perspective it's really had two major objectives.
First is to create a ecosystem that's locally based and support local companies and industries in a systemic and consistent manner.
So the organization that can spin out startup companies year after year, we'll see those companies based locally and have a consistent form of economic development in terms of company creation.
And secondly, that same process, retain local talent, ideas and capital.
Currently in the United States many of our best and brightest do go into the startup space and it's important for regions to find ways to keep them where they are.
Essentially, these are the research areas that many of the applicants for the i6 in the past and this year as well looking at and that's around how do we have had solutions that automate work and information and improve human health and   
[Inaudible]
>> And on the international side agricultural productivity as well as access to capital.
I did not if you notice here put things like life sciences or supply chain because the point of the center for innovation on entrepreneurship    
[Background noise]
>> But it's to improve human health so this is really more about solutions and how to execute and implement the solutions at a very, very large scale.
And so I think when we think about it in terms of solving problems not in terms of in pure science alone which is important but different    
[Background noise]
>> So what components do each of these various sectors and topics have in common as they've scaled up it's been innovation, entrepreneurship and scale.
Improving human health requires services whether it's medications, therapeutics or diagnostics or whatever your area may be but there needs to be innovation both in products and service delivery and that is where the proof of kept center has been   
[Inaudible]
>> But it's been useful in the area of entrepreneurship and scale    
[Inaudible]
>> Early on to help the ideas create a pathway and create partners, investors and other things that they need help with and then finally on the scale side, what we find particularly with the large research consortiums at the universities, they themselves have a globally connected network that's very useful for the startup to scale.
It could be support members.
This could be benefactors, this could be alumni if it's a university and those global connections help to   
[Inaudible]
>> So the ecosystem connected to the organization has been critically important.
Once again reminding all to turn off their mics.
It looks like we're having some echoing again.
So the 2012 i6 challenge once again is on concept centers   
[Inaudible]
>> Entrepreneurship, the U.S. department of commerce, economic development   
[Inaudible]
>> Is providing $6 million.
There are 6 EDA regions and those regions are available on our website if you're curious, which region your state falls into.
Each region will select one winner to receive up to $1 million, and that match has to be    that grant has to be matched by the winning applicant, nonfederal resources and so it's to double our impact up to a million for EDA and up to a million to the applicant itself   
[Inaudible]
>> With the 6 regional offices of economic development administration.
And those regional offices will actually be making the determination as to which winner will be selected in their region.
So it's important for all of you to communicate with the office of innovation and onto assureship and identify the regional contact with their questions and comments.
The link is here and also    I would suggest you go to the link where we've had a couple of documents added in addition to the funding announcement we have the    a fact sheet about the i6 we have a frequently asked questions document which will be updated regularly and we have some information about previous winners and finally we're adding a document with some thoughts from national leaders in this space who've funded or built centers for innovation and entrepreneurship and we've been doing phone calls with some of these leaders and we'll have their thoughts for you as well.
I'd also like to add that the national science foundation has committed up to $3 million to new and existing small business innovation research projects    grantees that are part of or central to awarded projects.
As we select winners, those winners can communicate directly with the national science foundation and identify if any of their projects and any of their grantees that they work with can access new or further sources of funding from NSF.
And finally, we plan to    with the permission of the applicant, send around your applications, particularly those of the finalists, the final 30, to other agencies including the department of energy, the environmental protection agency, the Department of Education and others to see if they have a connection of interest in terms of funding or partnerships or what have you.
So once again, the EDA will provide up to a million dollars which will be matched by the winning applicant and of the 3 million available in SBIR funding from the national science foundation and then directly we'll connect some of the best applications with other agencies to see if they can connect as well.
If we look at our previous i6 winners we've had a real    really diverse set of winners from around the country.
In 2010 we had i6 challenge.
The global center for medical innovation with Georgia Tech is really focused on breakthroughs in    in medical devices, medical technologies and is building a national center around that leverages already the very strong ecosystem at Georgia Tech and Atlanta.
New Mexico technology ventures out of our EDA western region is really a combination of investors, the two national labs that are based out there and the universities that are in the area and real diverse leveraging of the innovation and real intellectual property in that area.
University of Akron and Austin bioinnovation institute is leveraging Akron's innovation to big business, historic manufacturing base of Akron and the growing biotech corridor in northeast Ohio to develop their concept center.
The biogenerator in St. Louis brings together a whole bunch of organizations and what they've done that's been really interesting is connect scientists and engineers who used to work at companies like Pfizer and engage them and their technical expertise in startups and new opportunities to leverage their knowledge in a new way than they're used to with the larger companies.
In Pittsburgh, out of our EDA Philadelphia office, the grant went to innovation works at Carnegie Mellon, innovation works as you already know is a national leader in supporting innovation at a national level and they've taken that to the next level with the funding for with the i6 center and really boosting the ecosystem in western Pennsylvania.
Finally, Oregon, the Oregon translation research and drug development institute and the built in environmental and sustainable technology center is again building up the network cross sectors obviously here we're talking life sciences and environmental technologies for that region in eastern Oregon.
In 2011, we had a green focus for the i6, and you see the winners here all taking different approaches.
University of central Florida is already    and its partners is already a leader in intellectual property, patent filings in the United States leveraging their portfolio and technologies and innovates, leveraging the strong talented workforce of central Florida, many associated with the space industry and pulling them into startups.
Louisiana tech with its focus in northern Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and building a ecosystem there that combines that I ever strength in research and their connections with larger companies in an area that historically has not had quite a bit of innovation and entrepreneurship and really building it up.
Michigan state and then Iowa state and the Iowa innovation network and partners, they're obviously taking their universities and creating hubs for innovation and entrepreneurship there.
The New England i6 green partnership which is partnership of six states to create a virtual proof concept center that leverages the strength and startups coming out of six states and their clean energy activities in those states and then finally in Washington we have a group effort of multiple partners also focused on building up the green ecosystem in that area.
So what we'll be looking for in the i6 funding opportunity, we'll be looking for really four different things.
The first of two of which is obviously innovation and entrepreneurship and innovation is defined projects that nurture innovation broadly and market based applications for those innovations specifically through the first and foremost the creation of a broad based culture of idea generation and useful application of that innovation, research and development.
Secondly engagement of a diverse set of researchers, innovators and diversity is being defined intellectual it could be demographic or by education or experience.
Finally we're looking at the engagement of the industry professionals, investors and successful entrepreneurs with the innovation to identify the best climate team and opportunities for that innovation.
I'll mention before I go on to entrepreneurship that you'll see a lot of overlap here in the four areas we'll be mentioning because again the success of these centers goes primarily to recruiting the best people to participate in the center's activities from the outside and inside and oftentimes those people are useful on the innovation side as well as the business development side.
So with that said, the second area of focus will be entrepreneurship and again, projects that develop a large number of high growth entrepreneurs and creating an ecosystem to experiment and their innovations.
The two things we're looking at here is educational programs to support students if it's a university and/or researchers for universities or private consortiums for entrepreneurial challenges and work environments.
And secondly the growth of the ecosystem to grow a job creation in the home region and again, this is being measured outside of the institution that's hosting the i6 center and looking more across the ecosystem.
Thirdly, looking at regional economic development, projects that drive economic development through the lens of innovation and entrepreneurship as defined as technology and entrepreneurs, promote the exchange of ideas and formations of new collaboration.
Events here could go virtual, they could be in person, they could be small, they could be large.
But the    the    creating the fabric of connectivity is the critical issue here.
And that goes to the second point here which is engagement of local business and government to ensure high growth entrepreneurs are part of the local business community and the growing needs of those are addressed by business associations.
Again, if you remember an early slide we talked about the opportunity to consistently and regularly create companies that create jobs and economic value and secondly, retain talented people in the region.
And so the events and the partnership with the local business government communities is critical towards ensuring that they are doing what they can to understand the needs of entrepreneurs and innovators.
Finally, commercialization of research.
Here we are talking very broadly about converting ideas, research or prototypes into viable products and services that can be monetized and brought to market in the financially manageable and rapid manner as defined by in cooperation as a cat last to help with the technology and connection to external networks in order to identify that pathway towards monetization.
Let me add monetization could be for profit or nonprofit here so this is not purely lab to market.
It could be hybrid models.
It could be social innovation.
It could be anything where there's an opportunity to bring an outside capital and to create impact.
Secondly, access to seed funding to support commercialization of promising research.
Thirdly, assistance of market evaluation and business plan development.
And then finally creation of processes that intergrate scientific review with market potential to greatly accelerate the best ideas from lab to market.
This is critical early on.
We're not necessarily supporting the best researchers doing pure science.
We're supporting the best ideas that are certainly scientifically reviewed by peers and then looking at their market potential.
Economic development administration has clearly defined eligibility and requirements for its grantees.
On the left we have the various organizations that are eligible to apply for EDA funding.
District organizations, Indian tribes, state, cities or political subdivisions of a state including special purpose units of a state or local government.
Institutions of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education and then finally public or private nonprofit organizations and research institutes or associations acting in corporation with officials with political subdivision or a state.
The region where the i6 center is based and the project occurs or subdivision of the region must meet the economic distress criteria.
In the federal funding opportunity announcement on the website, pages 11 through 19 cover EDA's eligibility and application requirements.
The critical point here for everyone to note is that there are multiple ways in which the eligibility requirements have been applied for in the past and so different grantees may be based in one city looking to apply across their region.
They may be looking to do some things in one area, other things in the other part of the region so it's critical that all of you talk to your regional representative and talk about your approach and get their feedback on whether it fits the criteria for EDA or does not fit the criteria.
Once again, I strongly urge you to reach out either through our email address, i6@EDA.gov or directly to your regional contact who's listed in the federal funding announcement and talk to them about what you plan to do to ensure that it is within the eligibility requirements of EDA.
The project period for the i6 center will be for up to two years.
Within EDA the funding is provided through our existing economic adjustment substance program so if you want to learn more about that program again you can go to the EDA site and look for that.
Once again, it is for projects that should advance innovation and entrepreneurship and enterprises and organizations capable of leading to job creation, expanded markets, economic growth and global competitiveness.
While we understand that innovation and competitive    and entrepreneurship often lead to job creation later on, what we're talking about here is essentially how do you    we are required to measure job creation and so we often ask about the potential of the startup and with the likely pathways in the region for job creation and growth.
And once again, I would work closely with your regional contact on understanding what we're asking for there and extrapolating job creation for innovative ideas in a way that's responsible and reflects the reality of the situation.
EDA encourages promotion of repatriation of jobs back to the U.S., retain and grow economic development, attract foreign and direct investment and increase exports.
These do address the focus of the acting secretary of commerce as well as the administration once again repatriation of jobs to the U.S.
Retaining and growing domestic investment foreign direct investment and export promotion.
And then finally applicants must demonstrate a matching share from nonfederal sources.
Once again there's been questions about this and we encourage you to talk to your regional representative about that.
Just a little bit about the application process.
July 20th at 5:00 PM is the deadline for application to    and we're using grants.gov so once you go to the EDA website you will see the link to the funding announcement and how to apply online there.
Once that's done, EDA will do an initial review to make sure that the application is complete and that all the appropriate forms have been submitted.
We will also do a merit review to ensure that the concepts and the feasibility and the applicability in the funding announcement have been covered have been met by the applicant in the proposal.
And at each level we'll have an interagency review council which will look at this at the regional level and look at the applications and rank the final to be sent over to a merit review panel, pulled together with support from the national science foundation and from other agencies that will look at the final selections and pick one from one region, one recommendation application from the region and the final    finally, the EDA regional offices will have the selection of the region based on the recommendations of the merit review panel and their own considerations as well.
The application panel is on grants.gov.
The link for that is also available on the EDA website.
Applicants must be received by grants.gov by 11:59 PM.
It's not 5:00 PM.
It's 11:59 PM.
Our email address is i6@EDA.gov but more importantly for each of you there is a regional contact listed in the federal funding announcement and we strongly urge you to contact your regional person and let them know your strategy, let them know your objectives and really understand from them what it is that EDA is looking for and to ensure that you are in compliance with that before submission.
So with that, this concludes the formal portion of the webinar.
I'm now going to answer some questions that have come up so please feel free to ask questions on the chat and we'll answer them as they come in.
We have a question if you cover multiple counties and only some of them are covered as distressed can you have one in all 16 counties.
The answer is yes.
Without knowing all the details of the question or the counties that is definitely a question to ask your regional contact that's listed in your funding announcement.
This presentation will be available after the webinar.
We'll make the PowerPoint available on the EDA website and U.S. patent and trademark office which is so graciously hosting us will have it available several days after this.
Although I believe the previous webinar should be up now or very soon.
Social innovation    somebody has asked about EDA's definition of social innovation.
And I would say that the definition is no different than innovation in life sciences or clean tech or anything else.
We're talking about ideas that the institution can identify and a pathway towards monetization and whether that monetization is determined by investor capital or its foundation support or it's a hybrid of the for profit and a nonprofit model is not relevant.
The objective is to identify and support lots of innovation.
We have a question about how do we handle a region where part of a region is covered by a regional economic development plan and part of the area is not covered?
That varies from region to region and you should talk to your regional contact particularly if it overlaps by state.
You may need to talk to the regional officer about how to    how to apply, whether that will require a restriction of your application area or what have you.
We have a question about overhead allocation should be included in our budget.
Once again EDA varies on that depending on the institution applying given their size and their nature and so that's something I would    I would ask your regional contact.
There's no set rule on that.
It depends on grant to grant particularly if we've funded a university before.
Somebody is asking how additional NSF funding comes into play.
The NSF funding will be available after the i6 winners are selected.
So essentially this is    the national science foundation is allocating additional SBIR funding for    for the winners of the i6 challenge and the companies that are being connected to that.
So in this case, if you are selected as a winner of the i6, you then communicate with the national science foundation directly to find access to that funding.
So this is really follow on funding to the regional centers.
There's a question about   
[Inaudible]
>> You can go to companies as grants and the answer to that is no.
The economic development administration does not fund    
[Inaudible]
>> Many of those there's some particular rules how money can indirectly go to companies out of these funds and so that process   
[Inaudible]
>> We have a question about previous winners of the i6 challenge applying again.
Our view on this is that the application    obviously, it's an open process and so the winners can apply.
And in many regions some of the places that are doing the best work on innovation have won i6 challenges in the past.
Obviously, EDA covers the entire United States and so we expect lots of applications around.
[Inaudible]
>> The country.
So we welcome applications from previous winners.
One comment I will make is that if any of the privately funded centers around the state have received large sources of private funding and so we certainly hope that those who are i6 winners could are strong applicants and finalists will be able to leverage their i6 win they receive raise significant funding   
[Inaudible]
>> We have a question about matching fund eligibility with an existing funded that propagates   
[Inaudible]
>> That's going to be something    I would suggest you pick up with your regional office if it's something that was previously raised in an ongoing    with ongoing support it will    they will be one answer that is raised and funded already, there will be another answer so that's something that you'll have to discuss with your regional officer.
There's a question that this programs seems not to be for private industries and not for profit; is that correct?
The answer is this is for nonprofit institutions that has strong innovation cultures so this is why often the applicants are from research consortiums, universities and university consortiums and nonprofits that conduct economic development and innovation.
These are the    essentially for innovation   
[Inaudible]
>> And bringing ideas to market and so it is not directly from one company or another but these are organizations that spin that off.
Awardees will be selected in early September including the grant selection with the winners and we expect that to happen early September shortly after Labor Day.
I understand there's some feedback again so if people could mute their microphones one more time, that's both their cell phone, their desk phone as well as their computer mics.
Thank you so much.
In terms of government participation and cooperation we leave that up entirely to the    to the applicant.
We've had applications that have had support from the state.
It had support from their counties, from their cities and from a variety of regional economic development partners so we actually leave that up entirely to the applicant to determine who their partners are.
Do we have any more questions?
We have a few more minutes for questions if people want to ask.
The answer is no on a question we received about    can matching funds    are matching funds that are raised have the same restrictions as the funds from EDA?
And the answer is no.
These are private funds, but at the same time, in your budget with EDA you do want to talk to your regional representative and explain what the private funds will be used for as different from the EDA funds and how this is in compliance with EDA.
So someone is ask again about subdivision of government, state and local.
This is again something that varies from region to region.
If the question is, how do    how do applicants work with government, as I had said earlier when we were having microphone problems we had several applicants that have partnered directly with their states, their counties, their cities on this i6 center working together regional economic development agencies and so that is allowed and that becomes a question for the applicant as to how much they'd like to split the funding or what the role is of various partnerships.
If it's a more technical question I would suggest you talk to your regional representative.
Someone is asking whether general proof of concept centers are where EDA is heading with this one as opposed to last year's focus on clean tech.
So the thinking on this is that    actually some of the best run private centers have a very broad focus, whether the ones we mentioned in the FOO, the center at MIT the Stevens institute at USC, the as well moving forward, these places have a general focus and they are much more about creating a broad based culture of innovation and commercialization of that innovation and not about a specific area.
Having said that, we understand that some applicants are stronger in particular sectors than others and so we expect that they will start with those sectors but the hope is that they'll build it out and more generally apply that, that value to other regions.
There's a question about the match and the role in the decision would the higher match win over a lower match?
That is not necessarily the case but the match has to be equal to the request of EDA.
So if you're asking for 500,000, you have to have a match of 500,000.
If you're asking for a million, you have to have a match of a million.
There's a question here which I discussed a little bit earlier about EDA not allowing money for profit companies but can any of the funds be used for small grants or prizes for business plan contests?
The answer there is that the EDA money cannot be used for business plan contests.
However, the private money you raise can be    whether it's for this program    certainly private money you raise for business plan contests and sponsorship and if you choose to have them, you are allowed to do that, but the EDA funds cannot be used for that.
And there's some technicalities about how that can work and not work and I'll suggest again you talk to your regional officer to understand what's feasible and what's not given the scenario but a business plan contest does not qualify.
Somebody's asking about a clean tech focus and once again I'll mention that our objective is to CEDE concept centers that are broad based but that we expect all of our applicants to have certain areas and sectors which they will focus and get started and so if    although this is not an i6 green, we expect a significant number of our applicants to have a clean tech or green focus and that's okay.
Capital improvements do not qualify as the match.
We have a question, whether a region can compete with a very focused deep investment versus a broad based multiregion, multistate approach.
Can a small metro area compete and the answer is absolutely.
We expect smaller regions to compete.
The objective here is more can a    whether it's a research consortium, university or nonprofit    can they marshal the resources in their region regardless of size to create an infrastructure that consistently and regularly spins out quality ideas of relevance into the market or into the community and so we expect smaller regions to compete and, in fact, if you look at our winners over the last two years, we've had many smaller metropolitan regions winning as well.
I think we can take one or two questions if people have them.
Great, well, thank you all for taking the time and I apologize again for some of the technical questions    technical challenges we had with the audio.
I would suggest you email us at i6@EDA.gov.
If you had any questions that he were with not able to answer or anything else you need from us, so thank you again.
I look forward to seeing all your applications.


This text is being provided in a rough draft format.  Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be totally verbatim record of the proceedings.