The Utah Science Technology and Research Agency (USTAR) facilitates research, development and commercialization activities to expand Utah’s science and technology economy. USTAR’s vision is for Utah to lead the nation as the best performing economy and be recognized as a premier global destination, and its mission is to create a technology ecosystem that enables ideas to seed, grow and thrive.
USTAR has enabled the hiring of commercially minded researchers, the building of state-of-the-art core facilities and the development of entrepreneur outreach centers partnered with regional universities. USTAR provides resources for tech businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the state via outreach efforts.
USTAR funded researchers have proven adept at capturing millions of dollars in research funding and building world-class research teams comprised of undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral students. They are forming new ventures based on their respective technologies and bringing more than $400 million in new funding to the state. Through a partnership with the U of U’s Technology and Venture Commercialization office, USTAR brokers the technology transfer from within the university by connecting capital, management and industry.
The U of U’s James L Sorenson Molecular Biotechnology Building is the centerpiece of a visionary plan to accelerate research, development and commercialization at the interface of medicine, nanotechnology, engineering, pharmacology and digital media. It includes a state-of-the-art nanofabrication facility with cleanroom space, a bio-bay and a microscopy and materials characterization suite. These facilities are available to university researchers and can also be used on a fee for service basis by commercial partners.
USU’s BioInnovations Center has lab space to support synthetic bio-manufacturing, advanced human nutrition, veterinary diagnostics and infectious disease and other innovation areas. USU has also added a scale up facility to enable industrial scale production of synthetic biology products.
USTAR regional outreach offices support technology commercialization activities across the state. The offices are regionally focused and provide support to community members and USTAR researchers with innovative technology ideas to establish spinout companies.
Outreach offices are collocated with State higher educational institutions: Dixie State University, Salt Lake City Community College, Southern Utah University, Utah State University-Uintah Basin, Utah Valley University and Weber State University.
USTAR Business Accelerators assist entrepreneurs in accelerating the development of start-up companies by providing resources and services. Business accelerators emphasize rapid growth while providing support for obstacles that the start-up company may encounter.
USTAR Business Incubator programs focus on speeding up the growth and success of startup and early stage companies by providing mentorship and support during the time it takes a company to get on its feet. Incubation time varies for each company.
SBIR-STTR Assistance Center assists entrepreneurs and startup companies in preparing and submitting SBIR-STTR applications. The SBIR and STTR programs offer more than $2.5 billion dollars annually to support the development of technology by small businesses across the nation. USTAR’s SBIR-STTR Assistance Center assists technology oriented businesses with new discoveries or innovative concepts get the funding they need to continue their path towards commercialization.
Industry support includes working with established and corporations to connect them with applied research and new innovations, or to connect startups with valuable resources helping to facilitate collaborative partnerships. Industry support also helps to identify gaps in needed areas such as education and workforce development.
Mentoring/business services provided by industry experts offer help and resources to companies for refining plans and strategies. One-on-one mentoring can help assist with setting goals for success while developing business plans. USTAR regional offices and a network of experts combine knowledge, guidance and encouragement to help bring business possibilities to life.
USTAR provides prototyping services to early stage companies looking to validate their business model by providing a functionally limited proof of concept device. Prototyping supports includes 3D printers, engineering assistance and machine shop time.
USTAR also works closely with other state agencies and partners to provide other services to enhance their mission where possible, thus allowing USTAR to fulfill its directive of increasing innovation through research and business development. An example of this work includes the State’s Energy Triangle grant program, which is a partnership wit the Office of Energy Development and the Governor’s Energy Advisor.