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CO Lawmakers to Consider Grant Programs for Tech Commercialization

January 16, 2013

Initiatives aimed at commercializing research were among the most common technology-based economic development approaches in 2012 for states seeking faster returns and job growth during a slow recovery. In the new legislative session that began last week in Colorado, lawmakers introduced a bill to increase access to capital for new startup companies in advanced industries aimed at accelerating the tech commercialization process.

Gov. John Hickenlooper last week announced the Advanced Industries Accelerator Act (HB 13-1001), a measure to encourage collaboration between industry, research institutions and federal laboratories, and private-sector funders. It would create a program to provide grants to advanced industries seeking funding for proof-of-concept R&D, early stage capital retention and infrastructure. The state has identified seven sectors that qualify as “advanced industries.” They include aerospace, advanced manufacturing, bioscience, electronics, energy and natural resources, technology and information, and infrastructure engineering.

The measure outlines eligibility requirements for the grants, which range from $150,000 for proof-of-concept grants to $500,000 for infrastructure grants. Each requires matching funds. Some funding sources for the program have been identified, according to the governor's office; however, additional details will need to be worked out with the legislature.

A partnership already underway in Colorado has a similar goal: to highlight the state's bioscience efforts and attract outside investment capital. Under a recently announced partnership between the nonprofit Innovation Center for the Rockies (ICR), the University of Colorado's (CU) Technology Transfer Office and the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority, ICR will develop a pilot program with CU's tech transfer office to identify research projects with near-term commercialization potential. ICR also will tap its network of 200 biotechnology advisors to match industry veterans with the projects, reports the Boulder Daily Camera. The goal is to identify six research projects for the program and officials say they are already halfway to their goal, the article states.

Coloradocommercialization, higher ed