Tetramer Technologies owes much of its initial success to the National Science Foundations Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants. These NSF grants provided the funding necessary to launch Tetramer’s first commercially available product, TOPS2000 PFCB monomer and polymer. “The primary objective of the NSF SBIR/STTR Program is to increase the incentive and opportunity for small firms to undertake cutting-edge, high risk, high quality scientific, engineering, or science/engineering education research that would have a high potential economic payoff if the research is successful.”
In addition, the NSF has the goal of “developing a diverse, internationally competitive, and globally-engaged science and engineering workforce.” Towards this goal, Tetramer is actively training high school students and undergraduates during the summers and through part-time employment using two types of grants.
Research Assistantship Supplements for High School Students (RAHSS)
The Research Assistantship Supplements for High School Students (RA) supports active research participation by high school students in the NSF SBIR/STTR Program.
For three years Tetramer has participated in the RAHSS program. Two high school students each year spend the summer working the Tetramer laboratories. In addition to getting hands on experience in cutting-edge chemistry and materials science, the students have seen first-hand what it takes to run a small business and what entrepreneurship is all about.
To date, four high school girls have gone through the RAHSS program and most of them for two consecutive summers.