Economic Development

hackathon photo

F&I contributes to STEM-based economic development by leveraging its financial resources with the expertise of organizations such as the Alaska Technology Research and Development (TREND) Center and the UAF Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). With their support, F&I sponsors and organizes activities that encourage a community and culture supportive of STEM innovation. F&I support of Alaska TREND enables the organization to hold regular workshops on applying for federal small business funding (a number of which are available for viewing online) and to award small “Phase 0” grants for entrepreneurs seeking to apply for larger levels of federal funding (see list of winners below).

Tara Borland/Alaska NSF EPSCoR
Members of the 2021 cohort of the "Students2Startups" program.

F&I is also working to develop and sustain collaborations between the UA and industry through events like private funding application training sessions for UA faculty, entrepreneurship training for members of the military, and support for "Students2Startups," which pairs up UA students with local startups for paid summer internships.

F&I also supports a variety of community technology and entrepreneurship events. These include UA Hackathons, in which teams of programmers gather to build functional apps and devices, and Alaska Startup Weekends (part of Alaska Startup Week), in which teams of entrepreneurs gather to brainstorm and pitch startup companies. F&I has also supported events such as a virtual reality workshop and a “Game Jam” in which entrants worked together to design video games. Economic Development activities are overseen by Project Administrator Tara Borland.

Recipients of "Phase 0" awards from Alaska TREND are listed below.

GRAYSTAR Pacific Inc. of Anchorage is developing novel medical products, as well as technologies to reduce discharge of waste to the environment and to enhance rural economic development.

North Iron Engineering, LLC of Anchorage is developing a low-cost, high-throughput method to chemically remove contaminants from soil waste streams.

Golden Umbrella Growth of Fairbanks is producing unique cold-tolerance cucumber seedlings and facilitating the adoption of the new cultivars in Alaska.

PKS Consulting, Inc. of Anchorage is developing a process to upcycle beach plastic into plastic lumber.

Airhounds, LLC of Anchorage is developing wearable sensors that enable people to track their risk of infection from airborne disease in real time.

MustRs LLC of Fairbanks plans to develop robots for senior and disabled care

MacKinnon Marine Technologies of Anchorage proposes to develop an unmanned watercraft for the U.S. Navy

PKS Consulting, Inc. of Anchorage is designing a system to turn plastic beach waste into lumber

GRAYSTAR Pacific Seafood, Ltd. of Anchorage is both examining the use of salmon skin in wound dressings and marketing deep ocean water as a nutraceutical beverage

First Place: Barati Medical, LLC is working to develop a scaled-down optical imaging instrument to monitor brain function and diseases in lab animals.

Second Place: Deeptree, Inc. uses machine learning to provide cybersecurity detection and response support in a single-pane-of-glass format.

Third Place: BeadedStream, LLC is developing technology for a reliable early-warning permafrost sensor that can be produced at a commercial scale.

Fourth Place: GRAYSTAR Pacific Seafood, Ltd. plans to market Deep Ocean Water - seawater obtained from a depth of 250-1,500 meters, which has high purity and high concentrations of beneficial mineral nutrients. The firm subsequently received a $100,000 “Phase 1” Award from the USDA for the project.

First Place: The Launch Company is developing technology for space launches including next-generation launch sites and “Quick Disconnect” fittings for launch vehicles.

Second Place: Rhizoform, LLC is developing a biodegradable foam derived from fungi for use in shipping seafood.

Third Place: Aquagga Inc. is developing cost-effective methods of cleaning and desalinating industrial effluents.

Fourth Place: Alon Winston Innovations is developing a new type of machine learning algorithm for use in advanced AI and robotics.

Fifth Place: GRAYSTAR Pacific Seafood, Ltd. provides technical services in all aspects of fisheries.