A $500K grant will let Science Center startups tackle health security threats

The University City nonprofit is one of eight accelerators to enter a five-year commitment with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The University City Science Center. (Courtesy photo)

The University City Science Center just landed a $500,000, five-year grant to join a newly-created network of accelerators put forth by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Take a deep breath and mind the acronyms as we try to break this down:

The grant was awarded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR); the funding is meant to help the Science Center support startups in the health security space as part of the Division of Research, Innovation and Ventures (DRIVe) Accelerator Network.


The funds will help the 54-year-old nonprofit, which runs programming in the innovation space, augment the capabilities of its accelerator programs with a focus on national health security alongside seven other institutions around the country.

“We are thrilled to join this exciting initiative,” said Curtis Hess, interim CEO of the University City Science Center, who helms the organizations since January, after the departure of Steve Tang. “From proof-of-concept to business growth and seed investment, the Science Center’s acceleration capacity can meet the needs of emerging technologies through multiple stages. We are proud that BARDA recognizes the value of our acceleration programs that benefit early-stage companies throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware, as they progress through the commercialization spectrum.”

In May, the nonprofit launched a $3 million fundraising campaign to expand its operations upon relocating to the UCity Square development at 3675 Market St., a move that is causing at least one startup to face significant rent hikes as Kendall Square, Mass.-based BioLabs and the Cambridge Innovation Center take over running the lab and physical spaces.

Companies: University City Science Center

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