The Utah Science Technology and Research initiative (USTAR) is slated to receive $33 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for use in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The majority of the funding augments research and commercialization efforts at the University of Utah (U of U) and Utah State University (USU) in fields such as energy, nanotechnology, medical imaging, biopharma, and digital media.
One example is USU’s Biofuels team, which is working with the city of Logan to build algae-based systems to remove phosphates from municipal waste water and create biodiesel for city vehicles. An example from the U of U is the Biomedical Device Innovation team, which is developing nanotechnology to deliver cancer-fighting drugs to specific tumor cells, avoiding the painful side effects of traditional chemotherapy.
USTAR also spearheaded a unique application of ARRA funds called the Technology Commercialization Grant (TCG) program. Using $3 million in stimulus funds, the program assists faculty at public higher education institutions statewide to prototype, test, and commercialize new products in high-growth markets. To date, more than 50 projects – representing collaborations between business and universities - have received TCG funding.
From St. George to Cache County, USTAR regional Technology Outreach offices and related stakeholders are using TCGs to bring to market break¬throughs including:
“In some states, ARRA funding has out of necessity covered basic services and little else. I’m happy to report that here in Utah, we’ve been able to use some of our federal funding to target economic growth through cutting-edge research and grant programs that stimulate innovation,” said Michael O’Malley, USTAR spokesperson.