Impactful the PR Science Trust Research Grants Program

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CienciaPR Contribution: 

Dr. Greetchen Díaz, outgoing director of the Research Grants Program (José Madera)

Since 2015, the PR Science Trust has impacted more than 100 local researchers with its Research Grants Program, which has awarded about $6 million in grants for science and technology projects. This has allowed to promote and develop 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.

This program is one of the pillars of the Puerto Rico Science Trust and provides incentives for R&D activities that advance the Trust's mission to invest, facilitate and develop the capabilities to continuously advance Puerto Rico's economy and the well-being of its citizens through companies based in 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 the global level.

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 applied to the Grants Program, which has impacted more than 100 local researchers. The funds have provided research/financial support opportunities to more than 50 students, have allowed researchers to present their results at more than 15 local and international conferences, and have generated intellectual property, companies and patents.

"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. Ing. Lucy Crespo, Chief Executive Officer of the PR Science Trust. 

"For us, ithas been important to to demonstrate the potential that these investigations can achieve when receiving adequate investment and support," said Dr. Greetchen Díaz Muñoz, outgoing director of the Research Grants Program.

The program will continue being led by Dr. Reiko Fitzsimonds, Interim Director, who emphasizes that the achievements and impact reported in the short 2-year period since the start of the Trust's Grant Program are especially striking, as the typical funding period for research, the length of human resource development and the achievement of publishable results in research programs is much longer, usually 3 to 5 years. "These results are just the beginning of the real long-term impact of these Trust-funded projects," Fitzimonds said.

In summary, the Research Grants Program counts 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)

· $ 5M in additional funds