Substrate Games Awarded Phase I SBIR from NIH



DES MOINES, IOWA, September 15, 2017 - Substrate Games, LLC has been awarded a competitive SBIR Phase I grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) totaling $222,654. This grant will support the research and development of an interactive software application for undergraduate students studying organic chemistry.

Organic compounds and their interactions form the very foundation of life. The relevance of organic chemistry to medicine research and practice is profound. Students and their professors often cite a strong grasp of organic chemistry study as a key factor to a successful medical career. Yet the course presents steep barriers due to its complexity, and high rates of failure are common. Our approach aims to increase student engagement and bring clarity to foundational concepts that will serve the student through their academic career and beyond.

Through our participation in the I-Corps program's customer discovery process, we encountered a widespread, difficult problem - learning organic chemistry - that we believe we can help solve through our expertise in effective science education, interaction design, and visualization. We're excited for the opportunity to aid the medical professionals of tomorrow.

- Will Schneller, CEO and Co-Founder


About the NIH SBIR Program

The United States Congress created the SBIR program in 1982. These programs congressionally require eligible governmental agencies to set aside a percentage of their extramural budget so that domestic small businesses can engage in R&D that has a strong potential for technology commercialization. The goals of the SBIR program include stimulating technological innovation and increasing private sector commercialization of innovations developed through federal R&D funding. Eleven federal agencies have SBIR programs. Federal agencies with extramural research budgets over $100 million are required to set-aside a certain percentage of their budget to the SBIR program.

PhotonInc now available

Over the past year, we've been supported by a generous grant from the National Science Foundation's SBIR program to develop PhontonInc, a game about the physics of light. We're please to announce it is now available for download.

PhotonInc is built with accurate science. We've designed it to align with the Next Generation Science Standards MS-PS4 and HS-PS4 Waves and Their Applications in Technology for Information Transfer. At Substrate Games we recognize the potential for game-based learning but feel many "educational games" pale in comparison to their for-entertainment cousins. Our goal is to develop rich, engaging products that entertain and amaze gamers, yet have educational value intrinsically woven into the fabric of the game design.

If you're interested in adding game-based learning to your classroom, check it out PhotonInc EDU on our store! Included is a set of lesson plans to get you up and running in no time.

Happy radiating!

-The PhotonInc Team



Meta!Blast now available on the Teacher Gaming Store!

Meta!Blast now available!

We're pleased to announce Meta!Blast is officially available for purchase on the Teacher Gaming Store!

This has been a long time coming and we're excited to reach a global audience of learners. On behalf of our entire development team, we hope you enjoy it and learn about the wonders of the cellular world.

We'd also like thank the National Institutes of Health SEPA program for their major support in making Meta!Blast possible.

-The Meta!Blast Team

Substrate Games Awarded Competitive Grant from the National Science Foundation

Small Business Innovation Research Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D

West Des Moines, Iowa, July 1, 2016 - Substrate Games, LLC has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on an exciting new educational game centering on the abstract, difficult to grasp concept of electromagnetic radiation.

The engagement of youth in science is critical for our nation to remain competitive in STEM on the global stage. This project will enable the development of a game which is targeted toward addressing this need and grounded in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a problem-based learning framework which has been adopted by sixteen states and counting. Our long term goal is to help educational professionals improve academic performance, as well as engendering an interest in science to cultivate informed citizens.

"The National Science Foundation supports small business with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. "We hope this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges across all areas of science and technology."

"We're thrilled to begin work on this exciting project, as we believe we can create a game that is not only genuinely fun but will make an impact on student academic achievement."   - Will Schneller, Co-founder & Creative Director

Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $750,000). 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.

NSF accepts Phase I proposals from small businesses twice annually in June and December. Small businesses with innovative science and technology solutions, and commercial potential are encouraged to apply. All proposals submitted to the NSF SBIR/STTR program undergo a rigorous merit-based review process.

To learn more about the NSF SBIR/STTR program, visit:

About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards nearly $190 million annually to startups and small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal potential. The non-dilutive grants support research and development (R&D) across all areas of science and technology helping companies de-risk technology for commercial success. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.