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Autodesk Grants Aim to Fuel the Cleantech Revolution

At today's Clean Tech Open renewable energy symposium, Autodesk unveiled its Clean Tech Partner Program, a grant-giving process designed to give up to 100 companies nearly $150,000 each in Autodesk design software.

The goal of the program is to spur innovation and speed the time-to-market for pathbreaking clean technologies. Although the grants are loosely aimed at renewable energy innovators, applications are open to anyone working in designing more sustainable products.

"We are looking for some of the best and most exciting ideas that we think can be transformative in the marketplace," explained Lynelle Cameron, director of sustainability for Autodesk. "These are the [companies] that we want to partner with and learn from in future releases of our products."

Grant recipients will receive up to five seats of each of the following Autodesk design applications: AutoCAD Inventor Professional, Autodesk Showcase Professional, Autodesk Vault Manufacturing, Autodesk Navisworks Manage, Autodesk Revit Architecture, and Autodesk Alias Design. This suite of software can streamline the entire product-design lifecycle, according to Keith Perrin, Industry Solution Manager at Autodesk.

In addition to helping inventors with the process from ideation to concept and system engineering, the software programs can help streamline their manufacturing operations and processes, Perrin said.

Cameron highlighted two companies that received software licensed as part of a pilot version of the partners program -- Syncromatics and Serious Materials -- and explained how the Autodesk software helped Syncromatics design their public transit-tracking product more efficiently.

"Syncromatics was able to build a digital model of their whole assembly, and they were able to foresee a problem in how it was hinging against the pole, which saved them months in the design process," Cameron said. She added, "the idea of being able to build a digital prototype, skipping the physical prototype entirely, is going to be a big win for these companies."

As grant recipients are chosen, Autodesk will work with the firms to develop an implementation plan to get them up to speed quickly; as the process continues, the company hopes to work closely with grant recipients as a way to create a feedback loop.

"These companies are some of the leading thinkers in sustainability and sustainable design," Cameron said, "and we want to be partnering with these innovators so we can continue to improve our software to meet their future needs."

Aspiring grant recipients can fill out a short application on; the company hopes to begin awarding the grants as soon as possible, and grants will be distributed through January 31, 2010.

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