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Program links businesses, colleges to develop product ideas

By Megan Workman

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A new program offered by TechConnectWV will bring private businesses and colleges together to help turn products with potential into marketable merchandise.

The Seed Grant Program for Research and Commercial Partnering will provide small matching research grants of up to $5,000 each for "close-to-commercialization" projects that involve partnerships between primarily undergraduate institutions and private businesses, according to the organization.

TechConnectWV is a statewide economic development organization that fosters and promotes innovation-based businesses and entrepreneurial activities across the state.

Jack Carpenter, director of the Innovation Transfer Consortium project, said in a news release that the effort would "enlighten" research faculty and business professionals to the concept of "collaboration for commercialization," and encourage projects to move forward.

The deadline to apply for funding is Feb. 22.

Preference will be given to projects relating to industries that include: chemicals and advanced materials, biotechnology/life science, identification technology, medical devices/health care, nanotechnology and energy.

"West Virginia's colleges and universities are treasure houses of innovation and ideas that can lead to job creation in each of these areas," Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnectWV, said in a news release. "We hope that by providing funds to help encourage these kinds of partnerships, we can create viable and robust new ways that others can follow in bringing innovations into the marketplace, where they can add to the growth of the economy."

Funding that can be used toward salaries, materials and to purchase specialized equipment are intended to help make a product, innovation or technology ready for sale, Carpenter said.

Institutions that are eligible for funding are: Bluefield State College, Concord University, Glenville State College, Shepherd University, West Liberty University, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, West Virginia State University, Alderson-Broaddus College, Bethany College, Davis & Elkins College, the University of Charleston, West Virginia Wesleyan College, Wheeling Jesuit University, Appalachian Bible College, Ohio Valley University and Salem International University.

For more information about the Seed Grant Program for Research and Commercial Partnering, contact Carpenter at 304-234-6630 or email him at jcarpenter@kickingstonesconsulting, or visit http://techconnectwv.org/seed-grant-program.

Reach Megan Workman at megan.workman@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5113.


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