Tulsans prove to be competitive for OCAST research funds
Tulsa small businesses and researchers are increasingly more competitive resulting in more than $3 million being placed in the Tulsa area the last 18 months through OCAST, the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology.
“Tulsa area researchers are competing at a very high level for research and development funding,” according to Michael Carolina, executive director of the state’s technology-based economic development agency. “OCAST funding programs use an internationally-recognized process of peer review to award research projects that represent the best scientific practices and are more likely to create a commercial enterprise.”
An increased presence in Tulsa by OCAST and its strategic partners and community outreach in partnership with the Tulsa Metro Chamber, and backing from the University of Tulsa, OSU-Tulsa, OU-Tulsa and Tulsa Community College, are showing what is available through OCAST to qualified researchers and small businesses.
The Oklahoma Inventors Assistance Service recently opened an office in Tulsa. The IAS will maintain its long-time office in Stillwater. The Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance is headquartered in Tulsa and i2E, the non-profit firm that operates under contract with OCAST to run the Oklahoma Technology Commercialization Center, the OCAST Technology Business Finance Program and the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, has offices in both Tulsa and Oklahoma City. All three of those organizations are funded in part through OCAST.
Tulsans have captured six Oklahoma Applied Research Support awards in the past one and one-half years. The six awards total $1,169,036. Another six OCAST R&D Intern Partnership awards have been made in the Tulsa area totaling $316,142.
A University of Tulsa professor has successfully competed for a $135,000 Oklahoma Health Research award and six applications for Small Business Innovation Research have been approved for a total of $39,000.
Three Tulsa companies and one Sapulpa company were awarded $100,000 each from the OCAST Technology Business Finance Program in Fiscal Year 2009. The program has a payback clause with all returned proceeds placed back into the program to assist other Oklahoma firms at a critical stage of development.
In the last year, two Tulsa firms were awarded a total of $907,000 from the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund and, with their individual awards, were able to attract $743,000 of private investment bringing to $1,650,000 the total of Tulsa area investment through the seed capital program. The seed capital fund was approved by Oklahoma voters in 1988 and the fund was created 20 years later to assist qualifying Oklahoma firms at the seed capital stage of their development. Both programs are operated under contract with i2E, an OCAST strategic partner with offices in Tulsa.