New Nonprofit Laboratory Offers Access for Very Early Stage Innovations

Oct 30, 2017
By Spectroscopy Editors

A new nonprofit laboratory in Wilmington, Delaware, will provide laboratory space and access to experienced laboratory staff for entrepreneurs. Unlike most incubator spaces, the new laboratory will support innovators at very early stages of developing a business idea, and allow them to run experiments to test early concepts.

The Science, Technology, and Research Institute of Delaware (STRIDE) opened its new laboratory on October 1, 2017. The 600-square-foot laboratory is being rented from a larger space owned by the Delaware Innovation Space.

In addition to offering laboratory space, STRIDE also offers contract research & development (R&D) services. STRIDE clients can draw on support from more than 85 experienced scientists, most of whom are former DuPont staff with several decades of experience and PhD degrees. “We can provide support ranging from consulting and brainstorming on scientific innovations to actually designing and running experiments,” said Seetha Coleman-Kammula, PhD, the president of STRIDE. “Our fundamental competency is scientific discovery.”

By providing critical services for companies at very early stages, STRIDE differs from most incubators, which cater to companies that already have funding from the U.S. government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. “What was missing was support for companies that may only have ten or twenty thousand dollars gathered up from friends and family,” she said. “To get more funding, such as SBIR grants, such companies often require some early data that validates the viability of their concept. We make it possible for them to run experiments to gain those data.” 

“At a time when large numbers of scientists are losing their jobs, we are applying an entrepreneurial model that empowers scientists to put their fate in their own hands,” added Coleman-Kammula.

A grant from the Longwood Foundation provided the essential start-up funds for STRIDE. The organization has also relied on significant noncash contributions in the form of the unpaid time of six staff who have been working for the last 18 months to launch the laboratory. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, STRIDE also welcomes donations of laboratory equipment and supplies.

More information about STRIDE is available at http://www.stride2future.org/.

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