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WTC Releases 2005 Annual Report





Washington Technology Center recently released its 2005 Annual Report. The report represents the culmination of a successful year of accomplishments under the organization's strategic plan and showcases WTC's programs for advancing technology-based economic development in Washington.

Below are a few of WTC's highlights for Fiscal Year 2005:

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  • Helped Washington companies and researchers receive more than $42 million in add-on funding as a result of WTC's initial $2.8 million in support. For every dollar of support provided by WTC, companies were able to attract 15 additional dollars.
  • Held the first-ever Washington Technology Summit, a statewide conference dedicated to industry growth. The event attracted more than 450 industry, academic and government leaders from across the state and region
  • Channeled state investment to 24 technology commercialization projects through research grants. As a result of WTC support, these grant recipients attracted $23.1 million in additional funding.
  • Launched the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative (WNI) with funding received through the support of Senator Maria Cantwell.
  • WTC's Angel Network helped launch three new angel investment groups in Bellingham, Wenatchee, and Tri-Cities and screened 76 proposals for funding consideration.
  • Received a rural business development grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to assist an East Wenatchee company expand its sales and market share nationally. This funding, combined with additional WTC services, allowed the company to increase revenue by 200 percent and ramp up its workforce by 20 percent.
  • Held 15 events and conferences around the state, attracting more than 1,100 people and participated in more than 70 speaking engagements reaching 5,900 worldwide.
  • Received a FAST grant from the Small Business Administration to provide SBIR/STTR support to technology companies across Washington. WTC reached 350 people through SBIR training.
  • Celebrated 10 years of service for WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory. This facility current serves 173 academic and industry clients across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Secured an EPA grant for a cross-border biodiesel demonstration product in cooperation with 11 regional partners.
  • Introduced a new partnership program to foster collaboration with industry, academic, government, media and economic development partners. In its first year, more than 50 organizations partnered with WTC to sponsor events and programs.
  • Established a partnership agreement with the Seattle District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration to create a wider network of services for small technology companies in Washington.

Related WTC links:

  • WTC 2005 Annual Report

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  • Cross-Border Bio-Diesel Project Converts Restaurant Waste Oil into Clean Energy Fuel

    "Fast food" takes on a whole new meaning thanks to an innovative project that will convert the fryer oil from restaurants and food production into a cleaner bio-diesel fuel for commercial utility vehicles.

    The Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative (NWETC), an outgrowth of the Washington Technology Center's Industries of Distinction program, received a $69,777 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to conduct the Bio-Diesel 49 Degrees Border Project (Bio49).

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    Bio49 is a response to the EPA's "West Coast Collaborative," an initiative working to reduce diesel air pollution. The project derives its name from the 49th parallel latitude that crosses the U.S-Canada border near Washington state and British Columbia. The EPA grant, along with matching funds totaling $280,000, will be used to launch and fund the Bio49 project for one year.

    The Bio-Diesel 49 Project is an ideal model of a business enterprise that blends technology innovation with environmental health and safety. Producing bio-diesel fuel for the commercial market creates industry growth and jobs, repurposes a waste product into a raw material, and offers a solution for cleaner air. It's truly a win-win-win situation.

    Bio49 aims to product 144,000 gallons of bio-diesel fuel in its first year of operation. This will replace 12,000 gallons of on-road diesel fuel each month with cleaner burning bio-diesel, reducing diesel emissions in the process. Replacing sulfur-based diesel with bio-diesel reduces emissions of particulate matter by 31 percent, carbon dioxide emissions by 24 percent, and hydrocarbons by 50 percent.

    Bio49 creates a new revenue stream for waste oil, used as raw ingredient for the bio-fuel production, and serves as a model for workforce training programs in automotive and diesel manufacturing at technical and vocational schools. In addition, Bio49 aims to position the Northwest as a global leader in alternative energy resources and create a sustainable bio-diesel industry in the region.

    The program and grant were announced at a press conference on October 3, 2005 hosted by Senator Maria Cantwell. The project will officially begin in January 2006, with bio-diesel production up and running, training underway and fuel being delivered to the utilities for use in their vehicles.

    Bio49 involves 11 bi-national partners who are collaborating to produce and market bio-diesel fuel for commercial vehicles and develop a bio-diesel industry in the Pacific Northwest. Puget Sound Energy will use the fuel in a fleet of their utility vehicles that run along the U.S.-Canada border, testing various blends of the fuel ranging from 5 percent to 100 percent bio-diesel. Bio-diesel processors will be set up at Bellingham Technical College and students will be training on how to perform the process, which will be incorporated into the college's academic curricula. The Washington Restaurant Association will be providing the used food oil, the base material, for the bio-diesel processing.

    A parallel program will be set up with BC Hydro and partners in British Columbia. The processors and training are being provided by Bio-Diesel Works, a Bellingham company for both Washington and British Columbia. NWETC will oversee and manage the project and, with the help of WTC, will provide outreach and education on the program to stakeholders, the public and the media.

    Related WTC links:

  • NWETC.com

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  • Pacific Northwest Biomedical & Life Sciences Summit is Oct. 7, 2005

    Federal grants are a major funding source for life sciences technology research and development. Federal agencies allocated more than $22.2 billion annually for research in biomedicine, bioscience and other health-related fields.

    To help Washington companies and researchers capture a greater share of this federal funding, WTC is bringing grant experts from four government agencies to the state for this one-day event. Participating agencies include National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), and National Aeronautics &Space; Administration (NASA).

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    Under programs like Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), these agencies collectively earmark and award more than $2 billion annually to life sciences research. Don't miss this rare opportunity to interact directly with these government agencies right here in Washington and learn more about these programs.

    Conference Highlights:
    * Hear first hand from federal agencies on what they look for in award-winning biomedical and bioscience grants.
    * Meet one-on-one with agency representatives who can guide and assist you in understanding program development opportunities.
    * Get professional advice and inside tips from legal and financial experts on issues such as contract management, business growth and development.
    * Learn how to leverage funding awards to further your commercialization efforts.

    This is a WaFAST Supported Event

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC SBIR Program

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  • Students Experience ‘Science of the Small' in Summer 2005 Lab Program

    Students in the Puget Sound area had the unique privilege of learning about micro and nano scale fabrication as part of a special science lab seminar held summer 2005 at the Washington Microfabrication Laboratory in Seattle.

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    Mark Helsel, Senior Staff Engineer for Microvision, volunteers his time to teach the lab seminar and WTC offers access to their facility to the students for this unique program. Mr. Helsel has conducted research at the Microfab Lab for seven years. The summer science program is co-sponsored by Forest Ridge High School in Bellevue but is open to all Puget Sound area students in grades 10 or above interested in engineering and science. This year, nine teens participated in the program.

    Through the Summer Science Lab, the students participated in hands-on experience seeing how science and engineering is applied to real-world applications. Specifically, the kids learned about technologies used to make silicon computer chips and experiment with photo lithography (a micron scale photo patterning technology) and plasma etching. A laboratory safety class was also part of the program.

    WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory provides the ideal environment for the students to experience high level research in action and work in a first-rate research facility. The kids are able to see how engineering and science principles can be applied by companies and academic researchers in the lab to create a variety of innovative micro and nano scale products in such cutting-edge fields as optics, fuels cells and biotechnology.

    Brian Kemper is currently a college freshman studying to be a chemical engineer. When he learned that 1 in 6 chemical engineers are hired by semiconductor companies like Intel, it piqued his interest.

    He'd heard about the Summer Science program from a friend at school and decided it might be a good introduction to learning more about career opportunities in this field.

    "I'm an avid follower of computer technology and really wanted to see how research on computer chips and other nano-scale parts was done," said Kemper. "The summer science lab offered the chance to experience being in a clean room and using hardware that most people never get to see in their entire lives."

    Brian said the most interesting piece of equipment was the electron microscope. "I had heard of them in science class but had never seen first-hand the extent of their amazingly powerful magnification, he said. "Looking at the pieces of silicon on which we etched patterns, they looked and felt flawlessly smooth. But once we used the electron microscope to zoom 200,000 times real size, you could see mountains of silicon filling an entire 20-inch computer monitor."

    Brooke Bussone attends Forest Ridge High School and is interested in biomedical research. She hopes to one day work for either the Centers for Disease Control or the World Health Organization. She saw that Forest Ridge was offering the Science Lab as part of the school's summer camps programs and thought she could learn something valuable from the program.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • WTC Awarded Grant for New Lab Equipment

    Washington Technology Center has been awarded a competitive grant from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust to go towards funding for a new Bonder/Aligner for the Microfabrication Laboratory

    This equipment will open up new avenues of research for the Microfab Lab and allow Washington industry and academic engineers to see a significant improvement in process capability with respect to bonding. It will also allow the lab to increase the volume and customization of its contract lithography projects.

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    The grant was received in partnership with the Washington Technology Center, the UW College of Engineering, and Microvision, a Bothell-based company that has been a client of the Microfab Lab since 1998. The partners have all made financial and research commitments towards the equipment; however, the $280,000 received from the grant will help offset the burden of this major capital equipment expense.

    The Microfab Lab also recently acquired WYCO NT 3300 optical profiling equipment and a spin developer. The Optical Profiler provides a versatile profiler capable of submicron resolution on deep etch features. The Spin Developer allows Washington's companies greater control over development of extremely small features which would otherwise be difficult using batch processing.

    These two systems are currently installed and fully functional. Training on the equipment is available from professional laboratory staff. The New Bonder/Aligner Equipment is scheduled for installation in 2006.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Building a Successful Public Laboratory Requires Planning and Vision

    The Washington Technology Center's (WTC) Microfabrication Laboratory is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Like any entrepreneurial venture, we experienced successes and challenges in achieving this milestone. It's how we faced those challenges and leveraged our successes over the last decade that has led this public laboratory to become a thriving regional center for research and innovation.

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    Think Big
    When launching an ambitious project like a public laboratory, two elements are critical. First, have a clear vision. Second, set a path for achieving this vision.

    When WTC opened its Microfabrication Laboratory in 1995, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) was beginning to gain attention as a viable technology with strong market potential. The 15,000 square-foot facility, the largest shared user facility in the Pacific Northwest, offered a space where academic and industry researchers could take advantage of leading-edge process equipment and small-scale prototyping.

    Washington had a strong research base in MEMS and companies were beginning to see the market potential of MEMS technologies. WTC capitalized on this potential by focusing the lab's capabilities around MEMS research and development. WTC also integrated MEMS into its existing programs, positioning it as emerging Washington industry and supporting MEMS projects through research grants.

    This diligent effort to chart a path for industry growth paid off. Washington has a robust MEMS industry cluster and the Microfab Lab is a fully-functional, self-supporting R&D; resource for researchers and engineers worldwide.

    Plan Long Term
    Long-term commitment is essential for operational success. It is not enough to simply ride on the coattails of an industry boom. In 2000, WTC tried to capture a share of the photonics market. It was believed that the Lab could attract photonics clients by "shoehorning" MEMS processes towards this effort without a large investment in equipment and infrastructure.

    This approach had short-term success. The lab benefited from the market surge and captured overflow from the shortage of available R&D; facilities. However, without the long-range planning needed to carve out a niche for this industry, business didn't hold once the hype subsided. Researchers migrated to facilities that had taken the time to fully invest in photonics and we missed an opportunity to distinguish ourselves as a leader in this industry.

    WTC is taking this to heart as the next generation of technologies emerges. Nanotechnology is the perfect example. The Washington Nanotechnology Initiative is underway, creating a framework for investing in facilities, education, job skills training, and industry growth. WTC is committed to making the Microfabrication Laboratory the center for nanotechnology research in Washington.

    Dare to Be Different
    The Microfabrication Laboratory opened its doors with an ambitious goal. Located on the University of Washington campus in Seattle, the lab set out to be a resource for academic research teams and industry clientele. This "hybrid model" didn't fit the typical mold of how a public facility should look and feel.

    Most engineers draw a distinction between academic research labs and commercial foundries. Academics tend to view the lab from the perspective of a facility. Their priority is access to equipment. They don't always understand the financial commitment required to run a lab of this magnitude. Industries see the lab as a resource. They are willing to pay user fees to have access to reliable "turn key" processes, thus avoiding hiring research staff or building facilities during early-stage development. We had to show our customers that a public laboratory could be both a center for cutting-edge scientific research and a resource for commercial product development.

    Champion Your Cause
    Managing a shared user space didn't come easily. WTC had to overcome stereotypes to achieve a collective vision of how the Lab would operate. Clearing these hurdles involved:

    1. A Shift in Mindset.
    Requiring academic researchers to embrace a user-fee operational model meant asking them to adopt a standard of practice foreign to academic research facilities. This change in perception took time. For industry clients, it meant getting them to see value in a collaborative environment beyond mere production and development.

    2. Management.
    It was important to hire engineers, technicians, and managers that understand what it takes to operate in the style of a commercial enterprise. This also opened up opportunities for contract work as skilled staff are available to do custom processes for clients outside the local area or who don't have the manpower to conduct the research on-site.

    3. Model of Operation.
    You can't be everything to everybody, but you can serve multiple customers successfully if your business plan is solid and your clients understand the benefits to them. It's critical to adhere to the best operational model for your facility. In our case, the rewards were clear: academic researchers and start-up companies working side-by-side creates one of the most exciting R&D; environments imaginable.

    Over ten years, WTC has followed its vision for the Microfabrication Laboratory to be a widely accessible resource for technology innovation. Through this legacy we have seen many entrepreneurial companies achieve market leadership and university research projects evolve into commercial-ready technologies. These achievements are "proof of concept" that with strong leadership, a clear mission and ongoing commitment a public laboratory can be a center of excellence for research and development.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Nano-Revolution is Sparking New Trends in Traditional Process R&D;

    Most of us are familiar with the infamous saying, "you can't teach an old dog new tricks." While that may be true for many scenarios, it doesn't necessarily hold true for lab processing. It is possible to get your old equipment to turn out new materials by tweaking process parameters on existing tools.

    Currently, there is renewed interest in the academic world around the vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth mechanism for nano-scale semiconductors.

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    This mechanism was first described by researchers at Bell Labs in the 1960s who used it to explain the strange formation which was sometimes seen in thin film deposition reactors of thin wispy strands of semiconductors. These researchers understood that the deposition was brought about by the presence of metal particles in the reactors which would act as catalysts to the growth of the strands.

    Trends towards building and understanding components on the nanometer scale, particularly at the confluence of molecular biology and integrated circuit fabrication, has re-kindled interest in the VLS growth mechanism. Labs around the world are attempting to harness this method of growing high purity, single crystal semiconductor "nanowires" for diverse applications ranging from biomolecule identification to the growth of transistors.

    Recently, WTC's Microfabrication Lab has developed VLS growth techniques to form Silicon nano-cloth films. In this method, a silicon wafer is densely coated with tiny crystals of catalyst. The catalyst is formed through an ultra-thin film deposition followed by an annealing process to form discrete nano crystals of catalysis. After this, the VLS growth mechanism is performed inside a chemical vapor deposition reactor. The result is a dense cloth of silicon wires or fibers randomly intertwined. By selectively depositing a catalyst, it is possible to control where on the wafer the nanowires form, even to the point where a single wire can be grown. Work is being done to characterize this material as grown in the lab, and to develop a robust selective growth techniques.

    The material has incredibly diverse potential applications that take advantage of the incredible surface area to volume ratio, such as bio sensors. One of the problems in biomolecule detection is the ability to generate a sufficient signal to detect the presence of low concentrations of substances in small sample sizes. By having a higher surface area in a smaller space it is possible to increase signal while keeping noise constant, thus lowering the detection limit, even for incredibly small sample sizes.

    Researchers have begun looking into the use of these nano-semiconductors in the fabrication of high efficiency solar cells. Through in situ doping, it is possible to grow nanowires to form the pn-junctions which are at the heart of the solar cell. Together with the very high optical absorption of this material and the ability to fabricate high densities of junctions tailored to the full spectrum of solar radiation,, photovoltaic researchers are intrigued about the possibility of forming new types of high-efficiency, cost-effective solar cells with nanowires.

    There is also great interest in using this method to grow atomically sharp nanoneedles to be used as very fine instruments to probe the components of cells which are still living, or for imaging materials at the atomic scale. It may be possible to form conducting nanowires long enough to puncture a living cell, but small enough that they would be able to probe a single organelle, or image a single molecule.

    Ultimately, the WTC Microfab Lab's goal is to provide our customers with the tools they need to perform cutting-edge research. By developing new processes on our existing systems, we expand the breadth of what the lab has to offer and get maximum value from the equipment and processes we've already invested in. We keep costs low and avoid capital expenses of new equipment. So, in this case, it may just be possible to teach that old dog new tricks after all.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Defense & Security Grants Conference is Dec. 8, 2005 in Seattle

    Washington Technology Center is teaming with the Snohomish County Economic Development Council to present a Defense and Security Grants Conference in Seattle on December 8, 2005.

    This one-day event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Museum of History and Industry, will help northwest entrepreneurs learn more about technology research grants available from the U.S. Department of Defense and offer insights into how this federal agency works with companies to develop and commercialize defense and security technology applications.

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    Program Highlights:
    * Hearing from agency representatives and industry experts on funding opportunities available for companies working in the defense and security sector
    * An overview of where the defense and security industry is headed and how to tap into R&D; funding through three programs: Defense Acquisition Challenge Program, Technology Support Working Group, and SBIR/STTR
    * A grant writing workshop to help hone your proposal preparation skills and allow you to be more competitive during the granting process;
    * Special time set aside following the formal program for networking and connecting with colleagues, partners, resources and industry experts.

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    AccessIQ -- 14K R&D;: Going for the Gold - Feb. 8, 2006

    February 8, 2006
    7 a.m. to 9 a.m.
    University of Washington Club
    University of Washington Campus, Seattle, Wash.

    These morning sessions, hosted by the Microfabrication Laboratory, are the perfect opportunity for industry engineers and academic researchers to discuss the latest R&D; trends in MEMS and nanotechnology. Our first session, "14K R&D;: Going for the Gold" will feature three companies as "case studies" on the innovative processes they have created for such applications as high aspect ratio plating, electroplating, and gold eutechnic bonding. Learn about the research techniques, equipment, and tools each team used to develop their process and take the opportunity to ask questions of each researcher as they share their best practices and lessons learned.

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    The registration fee for this event is $35.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC Microfabrication Laboratory

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  • Financing Roadmap: Setting a Course for Your Company's Future - Jan. 23, 2006

    Monday, January 23, 2006
    8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    SBA District Office
    1200 Sixth Avenue, Suite 1700, Seattle, WA Sponsored by

    WTC's Financing Roadmap workshop is designed to help startups, early-stage firms, and companies with growth potential learn about a range of financing methods available to them and to determine which path to take when seeking funding. Financing options discussed include equity capital, debt financing, partnerships, and license agreements.

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    Specific topics to be covered include: types of financing methods available to growth-oriented businesses; how to decide which types are best for you; how to position your business to obtain funding; where to find investment and funding partners; legal issues involved with various financing alternatives; what a large company looks for when seeking a smaller company as a partner; and case studies on companies that found funding.

    Cost to attend the Financing Roadmap is $75 and includes all three sessions, program materials and lunch.

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    Legally Speaking: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know - Jan. 19, 2006

    January 19, 2006
    7:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    Sharp Laboratories, Assembly Room
    5750 NW Pacific Rim Blvd., Camas, Wash.

    Legally Speaking helps early-stage companies better understand the legal issues involved with starting up and expanding a business. Get direct access to lawyers and other legal professionals who can provide you with tips and tools for handling these transitions in the most effective way possible.

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    Legally Speaking puts you face-to-face with experts who specialize in helping young companies deal with the legal challenges they face during various stages of development. This team of professionals will cover such critical topics as: choice of legal entities and organizing the company; seed, angel and VC financing; non-compete agreements, trade secrets & related issues; Intellectual Property – trademarks, copyrights and patents; Mergers & Acquisitions; and state B&O; tax accounting issues.

    Cost to attend legally Speaking is $40 and includes all sessions, breakfast and program materials.

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    SBIR Quarterly Breakfast Seminar -- Nuts 'n Bolts of SBIR - Dec. 15, 2005

    Thursday, December 15, 2005
    7:30 to 9 a.m.
    University of Washington Club
    UW Campus, Seattle, Wash.

    Join us for this essential refresher course on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. This back to basics, "Nuts ‘n Bolts" session will feature a panel of experts who will talk about the SBIR program, and how entrepreneurs can leverage funding from this program to their competitive advantage. This session will also cover updates and changes to the SBIR program as well as discussing the legal issues and accounting processes necessary to successfully manage these awards.

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    The Washington Technology Center helps entrepreneurial technology companies get information about the STTR and SBIR programs and navigate the process for applying for funding under this program. This popular breakfast series is made possible through the WaFAST program and sponsorship from Dorsey & Whitney and Clark Nuber.

    Admission to the breakfast seminar is $35.

    Related WTC links:

  • WTC SBIR Program

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  • Unleashing the Hidden Tax Benefits of R&D;

    Sponsored Guest Article by Darin Jensen, Clark Nuber

    Every company pushing the frontiers of technology should take full advantage of research and development tax credits and exemptions. Seemingly routine expenses may be eligible for these tax benefits, which can offset a current tax liability dollar for dollar or create a refund of taxes already paid.

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    Many of our clients have found the R&D; programs to be a hidden and immediate source of cash. They can significantly reduce current, future, and past years' federal and state tax liabilities.

    You may be eligible and not realize it. Recent changes in federal law have made the R&D; credit available to a much wider variety of companies. And at the state level, since the mid-1990s Washington has offered an attractive combination of benefits and exemptions: a B&O; credit for qualifying expenses, a sales tax exemption for the equipment of manufacturers that engage in R&D;, and a sales tax exemption for either equipment or facilities used purely for R&D.;

    Your company's R&D; eligibility doesn't have to be obvious -- like discovering a cure for disease or a breakthrough formula. Your company simply could have developed an improved manufacturing process or a new product such as a better pair of weed clippers. Your company can qualify for credits even if it didn't actually perform the research or development but instead paid another company or university to conduct it.

    A company usually can claim the federal credit for the current year plus the prior three years, filing amended tax returns to obtain back credits. Often the eligible costs already have been identified in the tax return, and it is a matter of making an election to "convert" these expenses into tax credits. If your company is showing a federal net operating loss, federal R&D; credits can be carried forward until they are useful, up to 20 years in the future. State credits and exemptions can be claimed for the current year, and refunds may be received for overlooked credits and exemptions for the four prior calendar years.

    The federal credit is currently effective for research expenses paid or incurred before Dec. 31, 2005. However, it's possible that Congress will once again extend it or make the credit permanent. The state B&O; tax credit was recently extended to Dec. 31, 2014 as was the state sales tax exemption for R&D; equipment and facilities of pure research organizations. The sales tax exemption program for manufacturers' R&D; equipment is permanent with no expiration date.

    Too often, technology startup companies are unaware of tax savings available to them through a variety of R&D; programs. Documentation is important, and so is the advice of a knowledgeable tax professional. If your tax adviser doesn't bring up the subject of the R&D; programs, be sure to ask, and consider looking for a professional more in tune with the technology industry.

    Darin Jensen, J.D., LL.M., a senior associate in the tax practice at Clark Nuber in Bellevue, works with commercial and nonprofit life sciences enterprises. Clark Nuber is rated one of the nation's top 25 accounting firms by Inside Public Accounting.

    Related external links (will open a new window):

  • Clark Nuber

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  • WTC Microfab Lab Partners with NSCC to Launch State's First Nanotech Degree Program

    North Seattle Community College (NSCC) has received approval from the state board to become the first college in the state to offer an Associate of Applied Science-Transfer (AAS-T) degree in Nanotechnology, an emerging multi-disciplinary field that is expected to impact hundreds of thousands of jobs in the economy over the next 15 years. The program makes its debut September 26 with NANO101. WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory plays a key role by providing students with "hands-on experience" through access to the lab's clean room environment for laboratory sessions.

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    The new nanotech degree program was spurred by the increased interest and activity surrounding the breakthrough capabilities enabled by imaging, fabrication and engineering at the molecular scale. The Washington Technology Center launched the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative last year to help assure that Washington's economy is prepared and nano-ready to be a competitive player in research and commercialization as these technologies start to find solid business applications.

    Numerous companies are currently developing incredible new applications for nanotechnology. There is no doubt there will be a need for a manufacturing workforce skilled in nano in the very new future. WTC has helped support many nano companies through its research facilities, and hopes to play a key role in connecting the industrial community with the NSCC program through internships and providing access to the WTC facility for students.

    NSCC's 90-credit degree will prepare graduates for entry-level technician positions in the nano/micro-fabrication industry and related manufacturing industries. Cross-disciplinary in nature, the program will combine elements of materials science, chemistry, biology and physics, electronics and engineering. Through WTC's Microfabrication Laboratory, students will be exposed to clean room procedures including an understanding of process fundamentals and maintenance principles of nano/micro fabrication and characterization equipment. The multidisciplinary design of this program will provide graduates with the skills to enter a wide range of materials-based industries, such as aerospace, electronics, life sciences, transportation, and pharmaceuticals. Another key partner is the University of Washington Center for Nanotechnology, which is providing resources for faculty professional development.

    As Washington companies adopt nano-and micro-scale production techniques, tools, equipment, and concepts, they will need workers who are adaptable, savvy and up-to-date on this technology. WTC has published a Business Directory showing already at least 20 firms in Washington actively working with nanomaterials or advanced micro-mechanical systems (MEMS). This collaborative program between WTC, North Seattle Community College, and other partners is a critical first step in developing this nano-ready workforce.

    WTC, UW and NSCC are working to establish nanotechnology education from K-12 through bachelor and graduate degrees. This is one of the key agendas under the Washington Nanotechnology Initiative. This coalition of educational institutions would include University of Washington, Washington State University, Eastern Washington University, 18 community and technical colleges, and Seattle Public Schools.

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    WSU Vancouver looks to help businesses achieve higher product marketing success

    Sponsored Guest Article by Joseph A. Cote, Washington State University-Vancouver

    Innovation has proven to be a critical factor in business creation and business growth. Yet, 85 percent of new product introductions fail. A major contribution to this high failure rate is poor marketing planning prior to product introduction. Too frequently companies see problems in an existing product, design a new product that fixes the problems, and then assumes the market will readily accept the new product.

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    However, it takes more than just product performance to encourage market adoption. The value of the improved product must be sufficient for customers to change their behavior. A good marketing plan is a key element to driving customer acceptance. Unfortunately, many small businesses don't have the time or expertise to develop a marketing plan before introducing a new product.

    Washington State University-Vancouver (WSUV) Business Student Partnerships is looking to change this. WSUV's Marketing Management class partners university students with regional businesses to conduct market-entry analysis and develop an action-oriented marketing plan for the company.

    The marketing assistance provided by the students includes defining and evaluating market opportunity; identifying key success factors for market entry and recommending action steps around these factors; positioning strategy, cost and risk analysis, and promotion, sales and distribution planning. Projects can also focus on developing turnaround strategies or extending existing products into new markets.

    There is no charge for companies to participate in the WSUV Business Student Partnership. However, participating businesses should expect to spend time working with students, providing feedback on interim reports, and cover any data collection costs if incurred.

    About the Washington State University-Vancouver Business Student Partnership
    The WSUV Business Student Partnership also offers assistance with overall business planning for small businesses, accounting systems design, and other business related issues.

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