The Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) has released a series of
funding opportunities as part of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) Program. The program was
originally launched under the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act of 2010 and was highlighted
as a key priority in the President’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget request to promote challenge competitions
aimed at strengthening regional innovation clusters. As such, this solicitation expands EDA’s efforts to
bring together stakeholders through public-private partnerships focused on job creation,
commercialization activities, and innovative research enterprises.
Through this Federal Funding Opportunity (FFO), EDA will provide $15 million in grants to support
commercialization and entrepreneurship activities through three separate funding opportunities: a new
round of i6 Challenge grants, Science and Research Park Development Grants, and cluster grants to
support the development of seed capital funds.
i6 Challenge: The i6 Challenge is a multi-stakeholder program to support regional projects that
accelerate innovation and commercialization, establish new venture formation, job creation, and
economic development. I6 supports the establishment of Proof of Concept (POC) centers to
accelerate the commercialization of research and new ideas. To date three i6 Challenge
competitions have been held: the inaugural i6 Challenge in 2010; i6 Green in 2011; and an open i6
Challenge in 2012. The RIS program expands i6 to incorporate support for growing innovation
centers, which can now include late-stage commercialization and POC centers. Centers must have
a regional component to their activities. Initiatives focusing on manufacturing and export
innovation will be given special consideration.
Science and Research Park Development Grants: EDA will fund planning grants for the
development of new or expansion of existing research parks. No construction funds will be
Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds: Funding will be available to help plan, form, or launch seed
capital funds to support growing, relatively new businesses focused on commercializing
technologies or using innovative technologies in their business. As with the i6 grants, EDA is
emphasizing programs focusing on manufacturing and export innovation.
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EDA Releases Regional Innovation Strategies Program Announcement