The Innobarge Project – The details

InnoBarge Project Trajectory

Research Perspective
Six years ago, the Innobarge project was formed.  An executive expert in the field of marine innovation was consulted.  The idea was confirmed to have merit.   Development of the idea continued.  All National Science Foundation (NSF) Mentors receive notification of funding opportunities within NSF.  The NSF Mentor role is to assist academic researchers in developing a path to commercialization.  Mr. Hugh Cameron is an NSF Mentor. Most NSF money funds university research through various type of grants.  In April of 2020, the NSF put out an invitation for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant solicitation.  The InnoBarge project outline was submitted, and the following was received July 27, 2020 from NSF.  “Upon reviewing your submitted Project Pitch, I am pleased to invite you to submit a full Phase I proposal to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small BusinessTechnology Transfer (STTR) program.”

A team was formed to begin framing the project for the NSF submission.  The initial idea submission to the NSF concentrated on the research core of the project. 

The magnitude of the project emerged.  Numerous experts in the field of shipping logistics, ports and terminals, marine technology, trucking, and future market trends were consulted.  The frame of the project began to grow as the project layers developed.  The project encompasses the necessary core research seed (R&d) and integrates a more robust research and Development (r&D) effort. The initiation phase of the project has been completed and the scope goes beyond the normal NSF-funded research project.   The right place for this project is not with NSF. The Department of Transportation through the Maritime Administration (MARAD) is the appropriate granting organization. Unfortuneatly, MARAD does not participate in the SBIR program. Phase 3 of the SBIR program is commercialization. Large organizations working as strategic partners must come together to make this project a reality.  A larger funding pool is possible once a proposed prototype of all the systems is developed.