The U.S. Research Impact Alliance (USRIA) was awarded funding from the Department of Energy’s Office of Technology Transitions. This funding is set to initiative the launch of the USRIA IMPACT Accelerator. The goal of USRIA’s IMPACT Accelerator is to identify and mature federally funded technologies that have the potential to solve a targeted set of challenges for the energy and manufacturing industries. By linking disparate parties across the regional ecosystem and employing its Identification, Maturation, Productization, Alignment, Collaboration, Transition, (IMPACT) technology accelerator process, the USRIA will direct attention and resources to increase the likelihood of successful transformational energy technologies. The IMPACT acceleration process operates with a “market-pull” orientation, and more deeply engages with industry stakeholders on the targeted issues. Once the challenges are identified, the IMPACT process applies concentrated efforts and resources toward accelerating the path to market for the optimal solutions, using an adapted version of a more traditional cohort-based accelerator model.
Through the IMPACT process, USRIA and its partners will enable federally funded research to be tested in a real-world setting through validation projects that are closely tailored to address the needs of the energy and manufacturing industries. Accelerator participants will receive scientifically validated techno-economic and life cycle analyses including the cost, value and remaining hurdles for each of the selected solutions. In addition, the researchers and startups participating in the IMPACT Accelerator will also receive coaching and mentorship from executives-in-residence and venture capital advisors, as well as targeted matchmaking with industry partners. Using these data and the training that they have received throughout the program, startups and researchers will be able to communicate their value proposition more effectively when they pitch to potential first customers and pilot project partners at USRIA demo days and through targeted introductions to potential early adopters and investors.
The end goal of USRIA’s acceleration process is not innovation, but impact. The USRIA and its IMPACT process will guide entrepreneurs and accelerate technologies toward commercialization events that result in regional economic development and job creation.
RJ Lee Group helped enable project funding with laboratory services it provides the team. The USRIA team also consists of the Dept. of Energy National Laboratories, plus Carnegie Mellon and West Virginia University. The team also consists of large corporations like KeyLogic Systems, Lubrizol, and First Energy. It includes non-profits BRITE Energy Innovators and Incubatenergy Labs. The team includes tech startups like T2Energy and Sweetwater, plus state organizations like West Virginia Development Office. Each agency, company, non-profit and university contributes specialized knowledge to the program.