NM companies may receive up to $150K in technical assistance

By Manette Newbold Fisher

Photography By Randy Montoya

Thursday, September 10, 2020

National labs seek statements of intent for new tech development program

researchers investigate a turbine and compressor
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE — Sandia researchers Jim Pasch, left, and Darryn Fleming investigate a turbine and compressor inside a test facility in 2015. Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories have accepted statements of intent from New Mexico businesses for the new Technology Readiness Gross Receipts Tax Credit Initiative. The program offers up to $150,000 in technical assistance for businesses that provide promising concepts to mature licenses obtained from or developed with the labs into commercial products.

Eligible New Mexico companies have submitted statements of intent to work with scientists and engineers at Sandia or Los Alamos national laboratories through a new program to advance technologies derived from the labs into market-ready products and services.

The Technology Readiness Gross Receipts Tax Credit Initiative allows selected companies to receive up to $150,000 in direct technical assistance per year for prototyping, proof-of-concept, field demonstrations, technical validation, testing and development or other activities. The statements of intent, the labs’ first call for proposals, were due Sept. 3. Companies registered to do business in New Mexico were required to have a licensed technology or a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with Sandia or Los Alamos to apply.

“Sandia is looking forward to engaging with New Mexico companies in a new way,” said Mary Monson, Sandia senior manager of Technology Partnerships and Business Development. “The labs are dedicated to transferring technology and partnering with industry, and this program will help businesses use licensed lab technologies in new commercial applications.”

The new tax credit initiative was signed into law this year and is a three-year pilot program to address a critical stage between technology development and commercialization. When technology is transferred out of the laboratories, often significant capital investment and development are required to mature the technology, and businesses frequently face a void in funding.

Through the new initiative, Sandia and Los Alamos can claim tax credits against their gross receipts tax liabilities for their work with businesses. Each lab can claim up to $500,000 the first year, $750,000 the second year and $1 million the third year. In total, the labs can provide up to $4.5 million in time, technical assistance and resources over three years.

“We’re lowering the barriers and moving R&D from the labs into New Mexico-based technologies,” said Duncan McBranch, program director of Entrepreneurship for Mission Innovation at Los Alamos. “This matters because 99% of companies in New Mexico are small businesses with limited budgets for new product development. Access to the expertise and technologies at Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories can make a huge difference for these companies.”

Selection process

The proposed projects must demonstrate a strong likelihood for successful maturation to a product or service in the commercial field, Mary said. After receiving all statements of intent, the laboratories will complete an interview to establish eligibility by Sept. 17. Eligible companies will then complete written proposals and prepare presentations by Oct. 14. Invited companies will present to a review panel the week of Oct. 21 and funding decisions will be announced by Oct. 26.

Assistance provided through the program must not be available in the private sector, and all project work will be completed within a year from when the work begins. Participating companies cannot have an active New Mexico Small Business Assistance project within the same calendar year.

Visit Sandia's website to learn more about the Labs' technology and economic development partnerships.