The University of Missouri–St. Louis is part of a regional collaboration that was awarded a $1 million i6 Challenge Grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in partnership with the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced today. The grant is one of only six awarded nationwide and is intended to promote the country’s best ideas in technological innovation and economic growth.

UMSL, along with BioGenerator (a privately funded, non-profit organization created to facilitate the formation of life science companies in the St. Louis area), Washington University in St. Louis, Saint Louis University, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, St. Louis County Economic Council and the St. Louis Development Corporation, will advance bioscience technology commercialization through collaborative targeted pre-company translational research, company creation, and first funding. They will also build an entrepreneurial infrastructure that is market-based around the needs of existing bioscience firms and investors.

“This is a confirmation that years of collaboration among universities, research centers and support from government entities is paying off in material ways,” said Nasser Arshadi, vice provost of research administration at UMSL. “Combined with other existing partnerships (e.g., CORTEX), this project promises to strengthen the underlying relationships for the benefit of scientific research, entrepreneurship and regional economic development.”

The i6 Challenge seeks to identify and support the nation’s best ideas for technology commercialization and entrepreneurship in six different regions of the country. Projects include efforts to drive innovative technologies in the medical and bioscience industries to market more quickly by bringing experts in science and academia together with public and private sector businesses and entrepreneurs.

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Kylie Shafferkoetter

Kylie Shafferkoetter