Innovating the innovation economy and technology-based economic development

Economies and businesses change and evolve over time. Those that fail to innovate often struggle to achieve sustainability and growth. In 1955, the largest 500 U.S. companies by revenue were listed in the inaugural Fortune 500. Today, less than 12 percent of the companies included in the original list remains. The remaining 88 percent of … Read More

Utah wins a 2019 regional innovation cluster grant through the SBA

Utah was one of seven regional innovation cluster (RIC) initiatives awarded $500,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative (UAMMI) received the award to expand its efforts to foster small business growth within the advanced materials and manufacturing industry cluster in Utah. “We’re really pleased that SBA found we … Read More

Rural company Dragon Shale looks to transform Utah’s oil shale industry

Located in Vernal, one fledgling Utah startup, Dragon Shale, is looking to disrupt the oil shale and petrochemicals industries and bring new opportunities for growth in rural Utah. Through a new technology currently under development, Dragon Shale aims to extract and covert petrochemicals from oil shale more efficiently, resulting in a lower carbon footprint, water … Read More

USTAR client company explores solutions to beekeeping threats

As honey bees are consummate pollinators, industrial beekeeping has become a key component of our modern agricultural economy. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that between $235 billion to $577 billion of the world’s annual food production relies on pollinators, including honey bees. From chocolate to fruits and nuts, pollination … Read More

Leadership is a Generational Relay

(Utah Technology Innovation Summit, Keynote Address by Governor Michael O. Leavitt) SALT LAKE CITY – I congratulate Governor Herbert for organizing this summit.  He is a thoughtful leader I admire greatly.  The decade of his service has been one of great prosperity in Utah. Leadership is a generational relay. Each generation builds on the generations before them.  Then it … Read More

Utah Technology Innovation Summit highlights role of innovation in addressing policy challenges now and in the future

More than 300 entrepreneurs, scientists, policymakers and thought leaders convened for the sold-out second annual Utah Technology Innovation Summit on Monday. Throughout the event, attendees learned about emerging trends in Utah’s innovation ecosystem and how those trends support the state’s economic growth. The Summit also explored how technological innovation can address current policy challenges for … Read More

Utah Technology Innovation Summit to offer technology entrepreneurs insights into early-stage funding, international markets

As part of the second annual Utah Technology Innovation Summit, taking place on Apr. 1 at the Little America Hotel, science-based technology entrepreneurs and innovators will have the opportunity to learn best practices to accelerate their early-stage companies. In addition to tracks focused on innovation trends and policy issues affecting Utah, the 2019 Summit will … Read More

Technology-based economic development remains crucial to Utah’s strategic growth

Technology-based economic development, or TBED, is an approach used to help create a climate where deep technology industries, emerging companies and entrepreneurs can thrive. This strategy is a standard, tried and true practice in economic development that can be found in city, state and national economies around the globe. Investing in technology-based economic development is … Read More

Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology Announced Winners to be Honored at the Utah Technology Innovation Summit in April

Governor Gary R. Herbert, along with the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR), today announced the winners of the 2019 Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology. The medals will be presented to the four honorees at the Utah Technology Innovation Summit on April 1. “I congratulate each of this year’s medal winners and I … Read More

USTAR SBIR Center provides essential programs to Utah businesses

Funding is often one of the primary challenges faced by deep tech and science startup companies. Compared to consumer products, software and other industries, deep technology emerging out of the hard sciences is inherently riskier and more capital intensive at similar stages of development. As a result, it may be more difficult for deep tech … Read More

Former Utah Governor to Keynote 2nd Annual Utah Technology Innovation Summit

The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) announced the Honorable Michael O. Leavitt—who served as the governor of Utah, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency—will give the keynote address at the Utah Technology Innovation Summit on Apr. 1 at the Little America … Read More

USTAR-supported technologies help pave way for STEM workforce development

Utah’s economy is facing a dichotomy. While the state is leading the nation in job growth, it is also facing a shortage of skilled laborers. The gap between job growth and labor, particular in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) poses a key challenge for Utah. If companies are not able to find enough local, … Read More

Governor names new USTAR acting executive director

Governor Gary R. Herbert has named Barbara Araneo, Ph.D., to be the new acting executive director for the Utah Science and Technology Research initiative (USTAR). Araneo assumed the role as of Jan. 25. “Barbara Araneo’s expertise and insight in the worlds of science and technology will be instrumental in her service in this new role,” said Gov. Herbert. “I’m grateful for her … Read More

Technology team receives national grant to create early literacy tools

(PARK RECORD, by Carolyn Webber Alder) The path that led to Cathy Callow-Heusser receiving a grant from the National Science Foundation started close to three decades ago. She was developing software for a reading program at the time, and she had an idea to create English-learning books that were culturally appropriate for different sub-groups in the U.S. … Read More

USTAR-supported companies bring deep tech jobs to Utah’s rural economy

While Utah’s economy is booming on the Wasatch Front, the lingering effects of the Great Recession and technological changes in heavy industries, like mining, are still posing economic challenges for Utah’s rural counties. Parts of rural Utah are still struggling with net population loss, and slow, and sometimes even negative, economic growth. For example, in … Read More

Traffic signs on S.R. 224 part of in-vehicle traffic app development

(Park Record, by Angelique McNaughton) PARK CITY — Electronic traffic signs along S.R. 224 have been informing commuters of their travel times to Park City and Interstate 80 over the last several weeks as part of a project a Utah-based company is spearheading to develop an in-vehicle app. Blyncsy, a startup that delivers data on the movement of … Read More

Utah rises to no. 5 in nation for science and technology capabilities

Utah moved up three spots, from no. 8 to no. 5, in the Milken Institute’s 2018 State Technology and Science Index, a biannual report that measures states’ science and technology capabilities and competitiveness that contribute to high-skills job creation and economic growth. The top four states—Massachusetts, Colorado, Maryland, and California—were unchanged from the 2016 index. … Read More

Top USTAR moments of 2018

2018 was a busy year for Utah’s deep science and technology sectors, full of new funding rounds, technology commercialization milestones, and other achievements for Utah’s innovation community. As the year comes to a close, the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) takes a look back at some of the top moments for deep science … Read More

Utah plays growing role in biopharmaceutical innovation

According to Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), not only is the United States the global leader of biopharmaceutical innovation, but the state of Utah plays an increasingly important role within the industry’s growth. “The economic impact of the biopharmaceutical industry and its closely-integrated supply chain translate into high-wage jobs, substantial tax revenue and … Read More

National policy makers and experts stress need for technology-based economic development

Last week, business leaders, policy makers and experts from across the country convened in downtown Salt Lake City for the three-day annual SSTI conference discussing the innovation economy. Organized by SSTI (the State Science and Technology Institute)—a nonprofit that works to support technology-based economic programs throughout the country—the event was focused on creating policies in … Read More

Nominations open for Governor’s medals for science and technology

Deadline for nominations is Dec. 19 The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) is now accepting nominations for the 32nd Annual Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology. Established in 1987, the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology is the highest civilian award bestowed by the State of Utah to residents who have provided distinguished service … Read More

Utah one of nation’s leaders in science and engineering workforce growth

Utah is one of the nation’s leaders in long-term science and engineering (S&E) workforce growth, according to a new analysis released by SSTI (the State Science and Technology Institute), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving initiatives that support prosperity through science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. From 2003 to 2017, the time period covered in … Read More

Unlocking new solutions to global food production challenges

With more than 200 million tons produced globally each year, wheat is an essential, high protein, and nutrient-dense food source. With the recent announcement that scientists have unlocked the wheat genome sequence, research being conducted by Utah State University (USU) Professor Jon Takemoto, Ph.D.—and funded in part by the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative … Read More


On September 14, USTAR hosted a panel at the prestigious Science Diplomacy 2018 conference in Washington, D.C. The panel, Think Locally to Impact Globally: Science Diplomacy at the State Level—which was written, proposed, and coordinated by USTAR—was led by former USTAR executive director Ivy Estabrooke, Ph.D., who now serves as the executive director for corporate … Read More


USTAR recently released its annual report with highlights of its programs, events and economic impact for fiscal year 2018. “The past year demonstrated USTAR’s critical role in fostering technology-based economic development opportunities throughout Utah,” said Susan D. Opp, chair of the USTAR Governing Authority, in her introduction to the report. “USTAR’s success and effectiveness is … Read More

OxEon Energy poised to send technology developed in Utah to space

In an inconspicuous office park in North Salt Lake, the team at OxEon Energy works in their new office and workshop toward a very ambitious goal: making it possible to live and work on the moon and Mars. The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) client company is among 10 teams that were selected … Read More

Why Utah Is The Best State For Doing Business

From: Utah Business By: Derek Miller Utah ranks number one in the US for job growth, enjoys consistently low unemployment rates, and a strong workforce. What’s at the heart of this success? Small business. The US Small Business Administration reports that Utah is home to over 277,000 small businesses that make up 99.3 percent of Utah … Read More

USTAR-supported project hopes to prevent hurricane deaths

Hurricanes can be devastating and costly. With raging winds and storm surges, they can create floods, falling debris, and other weather-related hazards that are often deadly. Florence—which recently tore through North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia—can be blamed for more than 40 deaths, and likely more than $20 billion in property damages. However, University of … Read More

nView medical, a USTAR supported company, closes $1.2 million funding round

nView medical, a Utah surgical imaging company, recently raised $1.2 million in seed financing. The funding round was led by Fusion Fund with the participation of angel investors and matching funds from the National Science Foundation and the State of Utah. The company has been supported by the Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) … Read More

USTAR to host panel at international science and diplomacy conference

The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) is set to host a panel at Science Diplomacy 2018 on Sept. 14, 2018 in Washington, D.C.  The international event is the fourth annual conference hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Center for Science Diplomacy. The conference brings together scientists, engineers, policymakers, and diplomats … Read More

USTAR’s SBIR Center assists Utah startups in securing critical funding

While Utah is hailed for its successful startup and business climate, one of the key challenges deep technology and science companies continue to face is finding the innovation infrastructure, funding, and support to develop an idea to a commercialized product. The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) fills a critical role in this space: … Read More

Energy and cleantech companies bring new opportunities to rural Utah

As Utah looks to find new ways to sustain its economic prosperity, as well as address economic challenges in its rural counties, Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) supported companies aim to find new opportunities in the energy and clean technologies sector, particularly in rural Utah. The growth of Utah’s energy and cleantech sector … Read More

Utah aerospace industry on display at Farnborough Airshow

One of the world’s largest aerospace industry events, the Farnborough International Airshow, wrapped up at the end of July with skies full of contrails and impressive aerial displays. Utah companies and government leaders, including Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox, attended the trade show to showcase Utah’s aerospace industry and to identify new opportunities that could … Read More

USTAR-supported company EDX Magnetics poised to address the challenges and opportunities in scrap metal industry brought on by trade wars

From agriculture to construction, tariffs imposed and planned by the Trump administration are expected to have widespread consequences across the United States and in Utah. In particular, trade restrictions on aluminum, steel, and other metals are already impacting companies and consumers. While the long term economic impact and challenges of these tariffs are currently unknown, one … Read More

USTAR provides opportunities for Utah’s growing life sciences industry

The Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) plays a key role in helping entrepreneurs and scientists create and commercialize new technologies that advance health. With more than 1,000 life sciences companies located in Utah, the industry plays a key role in the economy, generating more than 70,000 jobs, both direct and indirect, $4.7 billion … Read More

From wildfires to winter inversion, USTAR-supported projects look to better understand Utah’s air quality issues

With Utah’s—and the rest of the western United States’—wildfire season in full swing and winter inversions lurking beyond, several Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR) supported projects are aiming to better understand and monitor air pollutants such as wildfire smoke. Wildfires are a large source of air pollutants in Utah during the summer months. … Read More

BioInnovations Gateway Graduates Four Companies

Open House and Graduation to be held October 19 from 4–6 pm BioInnovations Gateway (BiG), a partnership between USTAR and Granite School District, is excited to announce the graduation of four of its companies. An open house and graduation program will be held Thursday, October 19, from 4-6 p.m. at the Granite Education Center in … Read More

USTAR’s New Innovation Center Opening November 3

The USTAR Innovation Center, housed at the Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park just outside the west gates of Hill Air Force Base, will officially open its doors November 3 with an opening celebration to include Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II. “We’re excited to see the opening of the USTAR Innovation … Read More