NASA pays out $51 million to small businesses with big ideas – TipsClear
NASA Has announced its latest batch of small business grants, providing a total of $ 51 million in significant early-stage financing to more than 300 businesses. These “Phase I” projects receive up to $ 125,000 to help bring new technologies to market.
Small business innovation research / technology transfer programs help entrepreneurs and inventors transform their work from laboratory to business availability. Money is like a grant, not like an investment, and Phase I recipients are eligible for large Phase II grants if they are warranted.
This year’s selections, as always, cover dozens of topics and apply to a wide range of industries. NASA’s own highlights in a news release are high-power solar arrays, a smart air traffic control system for urban flight, a water purification system for use on the moon, and improved lithium-ion batteries.
There is also an award for “a company making a compact sterilizer for use on spacecraft materials” that can also be employed by health workers.
I was struck by the number of neuromorphic computing efforts, ranging from radiation-hardened chips to software techniques using lists. I use these chips and approaches that use and accelerate machine learning methods rather than computer learning efforts, which actually employ the spikes and plasticity of real neuronal networks.
Announcements for Phase II of 2020 came briefly – NASA released only in the last month of 2019.
The SBIR program is one of the best-kept secrets of the federal government, with billions allocated to a dozen agencies to distribute to small businesses. You can learn more at SBIR.gov.