Supercharge Your R&D Budget with Federal and State Grants

Grant Money

Supercharge Your R&D Budget with Federal and State Grants

Federal and state governments are awash in billions of dollars of grants. Curiously, much of the funding remains unspent.

Why?  A complicated and byzantine application process with numerous steps and documentation needs.  Government red tape is alive and well. 

Upshot? Few qualified grant applicants mean opportunities for businesses like yours.

Most for-profit businesses take a dim view of government grant programs.  The C-Suite sees little to no ROI given the time and energy it takes to apply for and administer these programs.  They see reporting requirements as extensive and unnecessarily complex. 

So, what is the financial opportunity?  The opportunity can be significant. Consider the following:

Most federal departments – most notably Agriculture, Energy, Defense, and Homeland Security —   all have significant grant monies available.  Why?  They need public and private institutions to help them achieve the goals mandated by the federal government.  Many times, this involves new technologies that the federal government considers vital.  Government agencies are mandated to demonstrate proof of performance and market validity for these new technologies.  Their goal is to move forward with programs that promote the adoption of the new technologies and foster manufacturing partnerships, distribution channels, and installation and maintenance systems.

So how do you minimize government red tape?  How can you avoid countless hours of time spent filling out government forms?   Answer: Focus on partnerships with non-profits or other institutions that win grants.  Identify how you can help them strengthen and fill gaps in their applications. 

Below are a few next steps for consideration.

1. Research grants.

Identify specific grant programs from the various cabinet departments of the Federal government.  Also don’t forget to review the types of research being funded by the Federal government at the nation’s 17 national laboratories (e.g. Argonne, Oak Ridge, Lawrence Berkeley, Lawrence Livermore, etc.) and industry non-profit R&D organizations that fit your business sector (e.g. Gas Technology Institute, Electric Power Research Institute, The Fertilizer Institute, etc.)  

2. Identify possible local partners.

Identify local/regional organizations which regularly receive grants in your business sector from federal and state governments.  These may include non-profits, colleges and universities, and local government departments.  The first place to look is news announcements on the websites about grants that have been awarded to these organizations.

3. Introduce your company to these organizations.

This will require a little more research because you need the names of the primary investigators working on grants that fall into your market sectors.  Identify the grants they are working on.  Ask them about special needs that they are unable to fulfill internally. 

4. Fill gaps for your prospective grant partners.

Create a tiger team within your staff with previous grant experience to brainstorm how to meet these needs so that your business can collaborate with the perennial grant winners which know how to navigate winning the grant.  Focus on your company’s ability to provide “proof of performance and market validity” data.  This is often difficult for the above perennial grant winners because they are often staffed with scientists and engineers with limited links to commercial markets, businesses, and demonstration sites.

5. Collaborate on concept papers.

Typically, grants start with short concept papers.  This will enable you to get your feet wet and learn more about the grant process.  Typically, a good concept paper will be 5-7 pages in length and should take no more than a few hours to construct for you and your partner. This is a great way to dip your toe in the proverbial grant waters.  These concept papers are reviewed and judged on their merits.  If your concept is encouraged to move ahead, then the real work begins.  This is where partnerships with perennial grant winners come in handy.  These organizations have experienced staff AND templates that enable them to cut the red tape and dramatically reduce time spent on applications. 

For more information, contact Mike Reiber at  

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