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 (a number of which are available for viewing online) and to award small “Phase 0” grants for entrepreneurs seeking to apply for larger levels of federal funding (see list of winners below). 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 (part of Alaska Startup Week), 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 worked together to design video games. Economic Development activities are overseen by Project Administrator Tara Borland.
Receipients of "Phase 0" awards from Alaska TREND are listed below.
First Place: Barati Medical, LLC is working to develop a scaled-down optical imaging instrument to monitor brain function and diseases in lab animals.
Second Place: Deeptree, Inc. uses machine learning to provide cybersecurity detection and response support in a single-pane-of-glass format.
Third Place: BeadedStream, LLC is developing technology for a reliable early-warning permafrost sensor that can be produced at a commercial scale.
Fourth Place: GRAYSTAR Pacific Seafood, Ltd. plans to market Deep Ocean Water - seawater obtained from a depth of 250-1,500 meters, which has high purity and high concentrations of beneficial mineral nutrients. The firm subsequently received a $100,000 “Phase 1” Award from the USDA for the project.
First Place: The Launch Company is developing technology for space launches including next-generation launch sites and “Quick Disconnect” fittings for launch vehicles.
Second Place: Rhizoform, LLC is developing a biodegradable foam derived from fungi for use in shipping seafood.
Third Place: Aquagga Inc. is developing cost-effective methods of cleaning and desalinating industrial effluents.
Fourth Place: Alon Winston Innovations is developing a new type of machine learning algorithm for use in advanced AI and robotics.
Fifth Place: GRAYSTAR Pacific Seafood, Ltd. provides technical services in all aspects of fisheries.