Collaboration seeks more federal grants for Wisconsin

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:01 am

Local organizations are teaming up to offer a seminar to train Milwaukee’s academic and business researchers and scientists to become more successful winning federal research grants.

Local organizations are teaming up to offer a seminar to train Milwaukee’s academic and business researchers and scientists to become more successful at winning federal research grants.

The seminar, Research and Development Opportunities for Small Businesses, is co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Network, BIZSTARTS of Milwaukee, Wisconsin Water Research Corporation (WWRC) and the M7 Water Council, and will be held at the Italian Community Center on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 8 a.m. to noon.

"What we are trying to do with fresh water science and technology in Milwaukee is what they have done successfully in Madison with biotech," David Marsh, co-founder of WWRC said. "We have over a hundred scientists and researchers in the area working on these types of projects."

The Milwaukee area has been relatively unsuccessful attracting federal research grant money for its scientists.  In 2008, the entire state of Wisconsin was awarded only 37 SBIR/STTR grants, and almost all of them went to biotech researchers in the Madison area.  By comparison, California received 688 grants, Massachusetts 476 and Virginia 224.  

According to Marsh, putting proposals together is somewhat of a learned skill, and the WWRC has identified 150 different research topics from ten federal agencies where businesses could potentially get grant money from.

"If we are going to succeed at positioning the city as a freshwater hub of research and technology, we need to learn how to win more of these federal research grants," said Marsh.

Federal agencies such as NASA, the EPA and the Department of Defense award grant money for thousands of research topics every year totaling tens of millions of dollars.  Successfully working the process to win grant money is a learned skill.  Researchers need to know where to look for research grants and then how to write successful proposals. 

Two trainers with a total of more than 50 years of experience with government research contracts and the SBIR/STTR programs will share what they’ve learned from government and industry perspectives, and help local businesses learn the necessary skills: Pat Dillon, regional director of the Wisconsin Entrepreneur’s Network and one of the trainers, has extensive experience in the federal SBIR and STTR Programs and was a previous SBIR reviewer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation; and Bernard Beemster, founder of Wisconsin Water Research Corp. (WWRC) and president of ASA Analytics will also be a trainer. 

The seminar is open to anyone interested in learning more about how to become more successful winning federal research grants. The cost to attend is $25. To register, visit www.wih2oresearch.com/

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