/ Financial / 2019 Regional Innovation Strategies Competition Grantees Announced

2019 Regional Innovation Strategies Competition Grantees Announced

Parul Dubey on July 24, 2019 - in Financial, News

The U.S. Department of Commerce announced that the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, ACEA, located in Mays Landing, Atlantic County, New Jersey, has been awarded a $750,000 i6 Challenge Regional Innovation Strategies Grant.  For the grant, ACEA partnered with the National Institute of Aerospace, NIA, in Hampton, Virginia, to create a Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership, SAAP, in southern New Jersey. SAAP will transform the region’s innovation ecosystem by incubating, accelerating, and attracting new business ideally matched to the region’s strengths and capabilities.  “We are very excited to be leading the Smart Airport and Aviation Partnership for ACEA.  We look forward to working with our regional government, industry and academic partners, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, to establish a thriving Smart Airport and Aviation cluster in Southern New Jersey,” said Dr. Douglas Stanley, NIA’s President and Executive Officer.

The proposed region is a four county EDA-certified South Jersey Economic Development District that includes the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center, WJHTC.  The adjoining Atlantic City International Airport has a research cooperative agreement with the WJHTC and is a designated Smart Airport Research Test-Bed Facility. The nearby Cape May County Airport is an FAA-approved drone test flight facility. 

Smart airport and aviation technologies refer to a wide variety of innovative solutions for improving operational efficiency of conventional airports and aircraft.  Technologies include innovations such as smart lighting, automated de-icing, heated taxiways, automated baggage handling, and use of drones with cameras and sensors for aircraft operations.    

Many “smart city” technologies can be leveraged for smart airport operations, but airport and aviation technologies require extensive testing and certification by the FAA.  A key differentiator for the Southern New Jersey cluster will be the ability to test these technologies in collaboration with FAA researchers and engineers to facilitate certification.  

Additional collaborators include Atlantic County, Cape May County, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, the National Aviation Research and Technology Park, the New Jersey Innovation Institute, and other industry, academic and government partners. 

The i6 Challenge aspires to increase productivity and accelerate growth through entrepreneurship that translates innovations, ideas, intellectual property, and applied research into new businesses, accelerated paths to export, increased foreign direct investment, and new jobs.  This year, 26 i6 Challenge grantees were selected from a pool of 183 applicants.  

For more information about the Regional Innovation Strategies program and the awardee projects, visit: 



About the National Institute of Aerospace:

The National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) is an independent non-profit research, graduate education, and outreach institute located in Hampton, Virginia.  NIA was conceived by NASA’s Langley Research Center and was formed in 2002 by a consortium of research universities and the AIAA Foundation.   Today these groups continue to serve as collaborative partners, provide executive guidance, and offer unique graduate education opportunities.  

NIA collaborates with NASA, the FAA, and other government agencies and laboratories, universities, and industry to conduct leading-edge research and technology development in space exploration, aeronautics and science.  

For more information about the National Institute of Aerospace, visit:  www.NIAnet.org

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