Non-Profits, Universities, and Government Grants
Non-profits, universities, and government institutions such as the National Research Council are the major sources for funding for inventions when the investment is non-commercial in nature or does not have much potential for commercial returns. Such institutions look to fund projects that serve some higher good, such as a benefit to the environment, society, etc.
The government is a major source of funding, and offers many grants, scholarships, and loans to promote inventions and research.
The Industries Technologies Program (ITP) of the US Department of Energy funds research and development that helps companies improve energy productivity, reduce carbon emissions, and save energy. It provides grants and funding from $40,000 to $100,000.
The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) supports innovation, invention, and entrepreneurship programs in U.S. colleges and universities by offering 50 grants worth $1-50,000 for student inventions and projects, and faculty course development.
The National Institute of Health SBIR Grants provides grants to innovative research conducted by small business concerns. The major criteria for evaluating applications are innovation and potential for commercialization.
The government offers several programs and assistance schemes, but such schemes keep on changing with time, and may be temporary or one-off in nature. Good resources to seek out such sources are:
- Center of Science (www.cos.com) provides a database of more than 25,000 records worth over $33 billion.
The US Small Business Administration Procurements and Grants connects to every major U.S. Government office.