As additive manufacturing (AM) technologies have advanced, 3D printed products and parts have moved decidedly outside the research and development arena and onto the production line. Without a doubt, this industry sector has great potential to dramatically alter the manufacturing landscape as we know it. And while these pivotal processes of developing and producing concepts previously unattainable in the manufacturing world have been revolutionary, the task of raising capital for AM startups and growing businesses prove to be quite challenging.
Recognizing its ability to greatly accelerate new technological innovations for aerospace, defense, automotive, communication, personalized medicine and space exploration, the Arizona Technology Council’s October 2020 Breakfast Speaker Series provided tremendous insights for innovative startups and growing businesses to develop strategic, industry-academia partnerships and funding opportunities from key federal agencies (DoD, DOE, NASA, NSF), industry-consortia and the state of Arizona.
Attendees heard from a distinguished team of experts from The University of Arizona, InterLink Engineering, SLM Solutions and PADT, Inc. as they shared insight on how to leverage funding opportunities to chart a pathway for growing and sustaining additive manufacturing in the state, as well as further establishing Arizona as a hotbed for AM driven innovation and entrepreneurship.
Senior Aerospace & Defense Fellow
|DR. KAUSHIK BALAKRISHNAN
Research & Development Associate
Principal R&D Engineer
“The most important thing is that startups and small businesses need to be able to justify their products or services before approaching a funding source to ask for money,” said Donald Godfrey, senior aerospace & defense fellow at SLM Solutions. “If you can’t solve any technological problems, there is no incentive for funding sources to loan your growing business money.”
Attendees gained valuable insight into how to select the best grant for your project, as well as proposal development tips and tricks.
“Writing grant proposals is a process in and of itself,” said Dr. Kaushik Balakrishnan, a distinguished research development associate at the University of Arizona. “Trying to figure out where to start and who can you reach out to help in developing a comprehensive grant proposal can be daunting. Finding grant-writing support in a university setting can make things easier to properly set realistic expectations and find the resources that will benefit you.”
“I recommend reaching out to university faculty and use that as the basis for your next steps,” said Krishna Muralidharan, associate professor at University of Arizona’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. “University faculty is usually more adept at navigating the best way to secure grant funding.”
Moderated by Justin Smart, mechanical designer at InterLink Engineering LLC, and Krishna Muralidharan, UArizona associate professor for the Department of Materials Science and Engineering Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, it was a fantastic discussion and well worth a listen.