A Materials Innovation Challenge has been launched by Rhode Island–based economic development organization 401 Tech Bridge. The competitive program offers businesses the opportunity to leverage academic resources such as research, validation, and testing to accelerate the development of advanced materials and technologies. Innovators and business and technical leads from companies with an interest in advanced materials research are invited to apply. Applicants do not need to be based in Rhode Island or belong to a company of a certain size to compete in the challenge.
Advanced materials are changing the face of virtually every industry, from aerospace and automotive to energy and oceanographic technology, notes 401 Tech Bridge in the announcement. The funding provided by the challenge is designed to pilot innovative ways to support the commercialization of technology, products, and processes. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate with University of Rhode Island (URI) professors Arun Shukla, Sumanta Das, or Helio Matos, three of the preeminent advanced materials researchers in the country.
“URI has virtually unlimited potential as far as faculty, students, and research tools to perform truly groundbreaking advanced materials research,” said Katherine Flynn, Executive Director of the URI Business Engagement Center. “A lot of these resources are not currently available to companies, especially smaller ones, so they can really benefit from this opportunity. At the same time, the students get to see their research ideas come to life in real world applications,” said Flynn.
401 Tech Bridge describes itself as a “super-connector” supporting:
- Companies that are developing leading-edge advanced materials, technologies, and products;
- governmental organizations and major corporations with funded projects that call for advanced materials and technologies;
- the region’s academic institutions that have a related knowledge base and research capabilities.
The organization adds that it acts as a one-stop resource to help companies accelerate the journey from concept to prototype to commercialization while making the transfer of technology faster, easier, and more collaborative.
The 401 Tech Bridge Materials Innovation Challenge is supported by MEP National Network, NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), URI Business Engagement Center, URI College of Engineering, and URI Ventures. During the application process, companies will identify a need related to the development of a new or improved material, product, or process and collaborate with URI’s Dynamic Photomechanics Laboratory or the Multiscale & Multiphysics Mechanics of Materials Research Laboratory to develop a scope of work encompassing expertise, equipment, and services.