F&I contributes to STEM-based economic development by leveraging its financial resources with the expertise of organizations such as the Alaska Technology Research and Development (TREND) Center and the UAF Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). With their support, F&I sponsors and organizes activities that encourage a community and culture supportive of STEM innovation. One major activity is Alaska TREND support, which enables the organization to hold regular workshops on applying for federal small business funding, and to award small “Phase 0” grants for entrepreneurs seeking to apply for larger levels of federal funding. EPSCoR is also working to develop and sustain collaborations between the UA and industry through events like entrepreneurship training for members of the Alaskan military, and private funding application training sessions for UA faculty.
EPSCoR also supports a variety of community technology and entrepreneurship events. These include UA Hackathons, in which teams of programmers gather to build functional apps and devices, and Alaska Startup Weekend, in which teams of entrepreneurs gather to brainstorm and pitch startup companies. EPSCoR has also supported events such as a virtual reality workshop and a “Game Jam” in which entrants work together to design video games. Economic Development activities are overseen by Project Administrator Tara Borland.