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Challenges and Opportunities for Early-Career Scientists through SBIR/STTR Funding

July 27, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) awards and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) awards provide an opportunity to fund R&D programs in early-stage companies. As “America’s Seed Fund”, this funding also provides unique opportunities for early-career scientists to explore the process of commercializing academic research.

Join us on July 27 from 12-1:30 pm for a virtual panel discussion with individuals involved in many aspects of commercializing technologies through SBIR/STTR awards. In addition, the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) SBIR Development Center created a program that targets early-career scientists and NCI’s SBIR Program Director will provide insight into this program.

This panel discussion will also help guide and improve the successful entry of early-career scientists from academic roles to Project Leader/PI and Key Personnel roles on SBIR/STTR awards.

The Applied Innovation W.Spark program aims to catalyze women’s success in SBIR/STTR funding through informational workshops and one-on-one consulting with potential SBIR/STTR applicants.

Panelist Bios: 

Mihaela Balu, Ph.D. – Associate Researcher at UCI Beckman Laser Institute & Medical Clinic, member of the NCI-designated Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCI, and Co-founder of InfraDerm, which won a $263K NIH SBIR Phase I award in Fall 2020.

Aimee Edinger, Ph.D. – Professor of Developmental and Cell Biology at UC Irvine School of Biological Sciences and a member of the NCI-designated Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCI. She was recently recognized as De Gallow Professor of the Year for 2021 and appointed as a UCI Chancellor’s Fellow 2021-2024. Amy is also Co-founder of Siege Pharmaceuticals, which won a $1.9M NIH SBIR Direct-to-Phase II award in Fall 2020. She is a chartered member of the Tumor Cell Biology NIH study section and a prior reviewer for NIH SBIR/STTR proposals.

Kory Hallett, Ph.D. – SBIR/STTR Lead Program Director at NCI/NIH. Kory oversees program evaluation for the Development Center, manages a portfolio of grants in the areas of immunology, immunotherapy, and monoclonal antibody technology, and leads a team of SBIR/STTR Program Directors that hold projects across a wide range of technology areas. Kory is the point of contact for the new funding program, Small Business Transition Grant for Early Career Scientists. This unique program aims to support interest in entrepreneurship and the transfer of technology from academic laboratories into small businesses.

Jennifer Neff, Ph.D. – CEO of Allvivo Vascular, a biomedical company committed to the development of improved antimicrobial technologies to reduce medical device and wound-related infections. Allvivo received 8 SBIR awards from NIH and DoD combined since 2005, including two Phase II awards received in 2020. These awards have contributed over $6.6M for R&D at Allvivo. Jennifer had just completed her postdoctoral fellowship when she joined Allvivo and wrote the first SBIR proposal. She also served on SBIR review panels for NIH.

Moderator – Molly Schmid, Ph.D. – SBIR Consultant at UCI Beall Applied Innovation and Senior Consultant for the Orange County-Inland Empire Small Business Technology Development Center, both based at UC Irvine. Molly has helped nearly 400 early-stage companies in the past five years in forming their funding strategies and plans, typically through equity investments and/or SBIR awards.


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