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Raimondo Administration Expands Innovation Voucher Program

Applications Now Open for Program to Provide R&D Assistance

The Rhode Island Commerce Corporation announced that applications are now open for an expanded version of the Innovation Voucher program. The program is intended to stimulate innovation, facilitate in-state partnerships, and give Rhode Island a competitive edge that will help the state grow and attract business. To date, 44 projects have been supported through this program.

"Governor Raimondo aims to provide more support for smaller manufacturers in our state support for activities such as R&D that will lead to new products and new jobs for Rhode Islanders," said Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor. "This expansion of the Innovation Voucher program is another important step toward the fulfillment of the Governor's goal. We thank the Rhode Island Manufacturing Association for advocating this revision and for their partnership in promoting manufacturing in our state. We also thank the General Assembly for enacting this key change."

"Today's advanced manufacturers utilize all kinds of innovative technology and research, and the Innovation Voucher program could create new avenues of invention and business growth," said Dave Chenevert, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Manufacturing Association. "We thank the Governor, the General Assembly, and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation for expanding this program to include our industry."

Innovation Vouchers allow eligible Rhode Island enterprises with fewer than 500 employees to fund R&D assistance from a Rhode Island university, research center or medical center on a specific project up to $50,000. Funded projects must be conducted in Rhode Island in partnership with a Rhode Island knowledge provider or at the recipient's manufacturing facility.

The projects approved to date represent a variety of industry sectors important to the state, including medical devices, life sciences, pharmaceutical manufacturing, data analytics, defense, engineering and shipbuilding.

Innovation Vouchers can be used for support toward commercializing a new product, process or service; access to scientific, engineering and design expertise that fits an innovation need; technological development and exploration to make an innovation come to life; and/or scale-to-market development of an innovative idea. For more information about Innovation Vouchers, or to apply, visit http://commerceri.com/finance-business/taxes-incentives/innovation-vouchers.

Past Innovation Voucher examples are: Matunuck Oyster Farm, LLC of South Kingston received funding to partner with the University of Rhode Island. The goal of this project is to transfer state-of-the-art knowledge in shellfish aquaculture from the University of Rhode Island to Matunuck Oyster Farm, leading to the development of a hatchery able to produce a diversity of species, including oysters, bay scallops, and seaweeds. This will fill a gap in the local production of seafood by providing a new, reliable source for other RI farms through aquaculture and will diversify the line of seafood products served at Matunuck Oyster Bar that are locally produced.

Vitae Industries, Inc. of Providence is partnering with the Rhode Island Hospital Department of Emergency Medicine. Clinical expertise from Rhode Island Hospital will further work to deploy and commercialize an innovative robotic hardware platform that quickly and cost effectively produces individually tailored doses of pharmaceutical tablets. Ambien, a popular sleep drug, can cause serious side-effects in women whose options are limited to the commercially available 5 and 10 mg doses. This clinical study will demonstrate the patient medical benefits of taking individually tailored doses of zolpidem tartrate (brand name Ambien) produced using the company's robotic platform.

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