OCAST, EPSCoR, i2E join forces to make Oklahoma more small business competitive
August 8, 2013
Oklahoma’s small businesses should be more competitive and secure potentially larger federal Small Business Innovation Research grants due to a recently inked linkage between the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and i2E (Innovation to Enterprise).
A portion of the Oklahoma EPSCoR funds will be used in a partnership for the Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resources (OSCR) program. Helping Oklahomans better compete for the federal small business grants has long been a part of the OCAST and i2E services.
In essence, EPSCoR will help fund an OCAST program operated by strategic partner i2E so that Oklahomans gain a greater share of SBIR funds.
“We are guilty of trying to use the entire alphabet when we name our programs, but if we can get beyond that, we have just advanced a creative relationship that will bring millions of research dollars to Oklahoma small businesses,” said Steven Martinez, programs manager, OCAST. “We hope our fellow Oklahomans agree that, in spite of the acronyms, this partnership between agencies is in our state’s best interest.”
OCAST is the state’s science agency authorized to use state funding to pay for public and private sector research as technology-based economic development.
OSCR addresses the statutory mandate of supporting applied research and facilitating technology transfer involving small private for-profit businesses by leveraging federal and private resources and promoting action, encouraging strategic partnerships between firms and research institutions and promoting commercialization of new technologies.
Through the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, federal agencies provide seed support for product feasibility studies and prototype development that is lacking in the private investment community. The federal Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program accomplishes this purpose and forges research collaborations between small firms and universities or nonprofit research institutions. Both the SBIR and STTR programs encourage transfer of technology into federal agency programs and private sector applications.
Dr. James Wicksted, associate director of Oklahoma EPSCoR and an OSU professor, said, “Through our new NSF EPSCoR Research Infrastructure Improvement proposal, Oklahoma EPSCoR will partner with OCAST and i2E in providing SBIR/STTR workshops in our state. In fact, this partnership has already created a ‘fantastic’ opportunity in Tulsa on August 12th with a workshop that not only provides the basics for preparing a Phase I SBIR or STTR proposal but will also assist participants in developing an elevator speech regarding the R&D ideas motivating these proposals. We will complement the Oklahoma SBIR Collaborative Resources service, which assists in developing Phase II SBIR and STTR proposals, by providing funds exclusively for Phase I efforts to assist in defraying costs by researchers in preparing SBIR/STTR Phase I proposals.
Ricky Rainey, director of the OSCR program for i2E, said, “The OSCR program has a mission to improve on both the quality and quantity of Oklahoma’s SBIR proposals. After working through the first full year of assisting our clients, we have identified common areas of deficiencies and have devised methods to address those gaps. The program has experienced early successes that indicate it is accomplishing its short term goals. We are excited about the potential of OSCR and the resources it has to offer Oklahoma’s innovative companies.”
Any of the three agencies can be used as a point of contact by Oklahomans interested in working through the OSCR program. Contact information follows:
Dr. James P. Wicksted, 405-744-9964, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rick Rainey, 405-813-2423, Email: rrainey@i2E.org
Chad Mullen, 405-319-8416, Email: email@example.com