Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Funds Help in Pennsylvania

The Technology Collaborative, a statewide economic development organization supporting the growth of Pennsylvania’s robotics and digital technologies industries plans to award $1.5 million on or before March 31, 2010 for technology commercialization. The funding will go to universities, start-up companies, and established companies based in the state.

Through a competitive selection process, the Technology Collaborative intends to award funding for projects ranging up to $150,000 each to address engineering design challenges that show a high degree of innovation and show a clear path to commercialization. The objective is to significantly impact the digital and/or robotics related companies in the state. Final proposal submission deadline is February 12, 2010. For more information, go to

The University of Pennsylvania has received $10 million in stimulus money to embark on a new research project. The goal is to integrate behavioral health research with genetic information. The project uses an existing database of genetic information compiled at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Penn scientists are going to contact 10,000 children who gave blood for genetic research and test them for cognitive functioning and behavior.

The plan is to find genetic markers for different mental disorders and find ways to detect problems early on. Raquel Gur, Director of the Neuropsychiatry program at the university said, “We’ll be able to see if participants with a specific pattern of cognitive difficulty also have a genetic signature to it and use the information to screen children. Cross referencing cognition and behavior with genetic information may lead to new discoveries.” The project is funded for two years and will create 56 full time positions at the hospital and at the university.

The state has recently received $2.25 million in Federal funds to help expand high-speed internet in the state. The funds will be used by the Department of Community and Economic Development and the Governor’s Office for Information Technology to collect broadband coverage data, develop a map of the state’s broadband infrastructure, and plan strategies to address gaps. The funds will generally be used to identify any barriers that exist that prevent the adoption and implementation of the commonwealth’s statewide broadband plan. The grant was awarded to the commonwealth by the Department of Commerce’s NTIA with the state pledging to match 20 percent of the $2.25 million.