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Director's Chair

Resources for launching a startup and connecting with industry

Dear Colleagues,

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are two highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research with the potential for technology commercialization. As award-based programs, SBIR/STTR provide small businesses with the resources needed to explore their technological potential and offers incentives for small businesses to profit from commercialization. While the SBIR/STTR program is focused on supporting research conducted within small companies, it offers several opportunities for collaboration between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The overall goal of this program is to promote technology commercialization while supporting scientific excellence and technological innovation through the investment of Federal research funds.

Collaboration with industry and small businesses is a vital part of research development and technology commercialization. The STTR program gives researchers at nonprofit institutions the opportunity to connect and work with small businesses to develop applied solutions to industry/market-relevant problems and potentially commercialize those technologies meeting unmet needs.  Additionally, the SBIR program can benefit faculty researchers looking to collaborate with small businesses and those looking to leverage their research to launch a startup. At CURF, we have several resources available for faculty inventors who desire to connect with industry and those working to create a startup from research to pursue SBIR/STTR funding.

Resources for connecting with industry

Chase Kasper, CURF Director of Business Development, and I provide training/education and outreach support to research faculty interested in collaborating with companies and small businesses. Chase and I stand ready to provide resources to assist researchers and research groups with marketing their areas of scientific expertise, laboratory capabilities, and activities to advance technology commercialization. Examples of our support resources include, but are not limited to:

  • We will arrange and coordinate meetings with industry partners and small businesses. In addition, we will work to help you build a lasting relationship with industry personnel.
  • We will facilitate access to industry "open innovation" webinars designed to introduce the Clemson University research enterprise to technology-specific companies, small businesses, and sponsored research opportunities (e.g., INSPIRE, University-Industry Demonstration Partnership Project (UIDP), HALO)
  • To help you further market your research, we will assist you in developing and disseminating marketing materials highlighting research-specific resources and capabilities to prospective industry and small business partners. 

Resources for developing a startup

A primary function of CURF is to work closely with faculty researchers to develop Clemson University intellectual property. If a faculty inventor decides to create a startup from their research findings, we will support and identify resources for launching a successful startup. Examples of our support include, but are not limited to:

  • CURF staff will work to help you navigate University policy and guide you through pre-licensing and licensing discussions and the strategic implementation of your company's business plan.
  • When launching a startup, you may need additional assistance from statewide support systems. We will connect you with subject-matter services providers, potential strategic commercialization partners, and federal resources that can assist you in developing your small business.
  • Initial and sustained funding is a critical component to launching a successful startup. We can assist you with preparing proposals, market research, and other documents to help you receive funds from SBIR/STTR programs. We can also provide support letters needed for grants and other investment opportunities.

While this is not an exhaustive list of resources, we want you to know that we are ready and available to assist you with advancing your research objectives. If you are interested in collaborating with industry or a small business or would like guidance on launching a startup, please submit a request for assistance via our Inquiry Intake Form here.

For more information on the SBIR/STTR programs, click here.

As always, we look forward to providing continued support for all your research endeavors.

Best regards,


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