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New $26 million program offers challenge grants to spur innovation, create jobs

Earlier this week, the Obama administration announced the creation of a new $26 million funding mechanism, the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, that will fund approximately 12 projects designed to spur innovation-based manufacturing and leverage technology into new companies and jobs. Funding for the program comes from six federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation (NSF).


The new program is the third such challenge-based funding mechanism in recent years. Last year, a $37 million challenge program funded 20 different projects; this year, tighter budget constraints means less money for fewer programs.

Of
particular interest to scientists is the fact that in the new program
NSF is providing an additional $1 million to be split among any current
NSF Small Business Innovation Research grantees or Small Business
Technology Transfer Phase II grantees.

More broadly, the new
program’s emphasis on innovation and moving technology through the
pipeline could mean the creation of jobs that people with scientific
training would be well suited for. A number of recent reports and
conferences suggest that scientists are far more open to the idea of
working outside academia and industry than is commonly thought; creating
engaging, well-paying jobs for these highly talented workers would
likely pay dividends for both scientists and their employers.

If you’re interested in applying for funding from the new program, read the submission guidelines here. The deadline for applications is 9 July 2012.