IKONA Receives $256,000 NSF SBIR Phase I Grant Award

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that we have been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $255,901 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on a novel method of educating and training senior caregivers through a combination of neuroscience, immersive technology and storytelling.

There are around 30,000 assisted living communities across the United States, though only about 14% provide dedicated memory care services for their residents. As America’s aging population continues to grow rapidly, so too are the numbers of new and existing cases of Alzheimer's disease and the caregivers needed to support them. With nearly 6 million Americans age 65 and older living with Alzheimer's disease (AD) in 2020, and more than 16 million Americans currently serving as unpaid caregivers for people with AD or other forms of dementia, the need for effective, consistent caregiver education is clear.

“NSF is proud to support the technology of the future by thinking beyond incremental developments and funding the most creative, impactful ideas across all markets and areas of science and engineering,” said Andrea Belz, Division Director of the Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “With the support of our research funds, any deep technology startup or small business can guide basic science into meaningful solutions that address tremendous needs.”

"We believe our approach to education and training will improve the lives of older adults and their families, their caregivers and entire communities. By leveraging decades of neuroscientific research and proven applications of that knowledge, our solution will deliver immersive stories designed to engage learners through interactive, immersive, and measurable training scenarios,” said Tim Fitzpatrick, CEO and co-founder of IKONA. “Having the support of the NSF is a testament to those whose work has inspired and guided us since day one, and we intend to grow those efforts meaningfully over the next twelve months and beyond."

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $256,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.

Startups or entrepreneurs who submit a three-page Project Pitch will know within three weeks if they meet the program's objective to support innovative technologies that show promise of commercial and/or societal impact and involve a level of technical risk. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program, also known as America's Seed Fund powered by NSF, undergo a rigorous merit-based review process. To learn more about America's Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit:

𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐒𝐜𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧'𝐬 𝐒𝐦𝐚𝐥𝐥 𝐁𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐦𝐬: America's Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.75 million to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America's Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $8.1 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐈𝐊𝐎𝐍𝐀 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐭𝐡: IKONA offers a smarter way for healthcare providers to deliver effective and measurable learning experience to their patients and staff. Their multimodal platform uses learning science, storytelling and technology to address education challenges, dramatically improve patient understanding and ensure smarter, confident decisions about their care. IKONA believes the focus of learning should be on effective delivery, timing and measurement of educational interactions.

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