Substrate Games Awarded NSF SBIR Phase I


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 + Studio 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.