(Credit: José R. Madera)
Since 2015, the Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust has assisted more than 100 local researchers with its Research Grants Program, which has awarded close to $6 million in grants for projects in science and technology, institution officials said Wednesday.
This has allowed the promotion and development of research in the strategic sectors of biotechnology and natural sciences, renewable energy and/or clean technologies, aerospace, information and communication technology, medical devices, electronics, agriculture and environmental sciences.
“I am extremely pleased and confident that this young program and with such positive results is advancing and contributing directly to the transformation of our economy into a knowledge-based one, and I am sure we are going in the right direction,” said Science Trust CEO Lucy Crespo.
The Grants Program is one of the Trust’s key pillars and provides incentives for R&D activities that advance the Trust’s mission to invest, facilitate and develop the capabilities that continuously advance Puerto Rico’s economy and the well-being of its citizens through companies based on innovation, science, technology, and its industrial base.
These funds seek to create a new paradigm of economic development to maximize Puerto Rico’s participation in the knowledge economy at a global level.
In summary, the Trust’s Grants Program has among its achievements and results:
• 462 applications
• 51 grants awarded
• 24 direct jobs created
• 127 impacted students
• 23 peer-reviewed publications
• 93 abstracts and presentations
• 7 patents submitted
• 6 established companies
• 24 proposals submitted for SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research)/STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer)
• $ 5 million in additional funds
Through a structured, systematic, open and competitive mechanism, the program supports the development of research projects in the areas of science and technology.
About 450 scientists and entrepreneurs have participated in the grants program, which has helped more than 100 local researchers. These funds have provided research, financial and support opportunities to more than 50 students, enabled researchers to present their results at more than 15 local and international conferences, and generated intellectual property, businesses, and patents, said Greetchen Díaz-Muñoz, outgoing director of the Trust’s Grants Program.
“It has been important for all of us to be able to demonstrate the potential that these investigations can achieve when receiving adequate investment and support,” she said.
The program continues to be led by Acting Director Dr. Reiko Fitzsimonds, who emphasized that the achievements and impact reported in the short two-year period since the beginning of the Trust’s Grant Program are outstanding, as the typical period of funding for research, the length of human resource development and the achievement of publishable results in research programs is much longer.
“These results are just the beginning of the real long-term impact of these Trust-funded projects,” Fitzsimonds said.
Grants awarded by the Research Grants Program have generated intellectual property, business and patents by leveraging scientific research, executives said.
The Science Trust is currently the target of a Legislative bill that would change its structure and composition, which could potentially compromise its ability to keep politics out of its procedures.