SBIR Leading the way in Social Development with 3C Institute

Apr 12, 2011
Apr 12, 2011

3C Institute for Social Development
Cary, NC 27513

Can research and innovation prevent depression, anxiety, and academic failure that result when children feel picked on or bullied? Dr. Melissa DeRosier knows that they can. Her company, 3-C Institute for Social Development (3-C ISD), has researched and commercialized intervention programs for social-emotional health, including social skills programs for children, adolescents, and parents.

Dr. DeRosier started 3-C ISD when, after working in schools on her own research, she realized that schools don’t use or even know about the many evidence-based programs that result from research studies. Instead, schools use commercial products with little or no grounding in research to address issues like bullying and school climate. Evidence-based programs sit on shelves in libraries and never actually get used. She set out to change that.

“At 3-C ISD, we’re dedicated to doing the research to make sure that our programs actually work and then disseminating them so that they’re used,” says Dr. DeRosier. “That gap [between research and commercialization] is immensely prevalent in mental health and health care more generally. It’s our mission to bridge it.”

Bridging the gap requires funding, which is not always easy to come by. “Angel investors and VCs aren’t really interested in the kind of work we do, even though it has huge educational and societal benefits. It doesn’t attract investment,” notes DeRosier.

That’s where the SBIR Program comes in. “The SBIR Program is a way that scientists and researchers like myself can move these evidence-based programs into the market so that people can use them,” says DeRosier. “Honestly, my company would not be in business without the SBIR Program.” Since its inception, 3-C ISD has successfully completed Phase I and Phase II grants and contracts funded through NIMH, NICHD, NCRR, NCMHD, and Department of Education. Several SBIR awards have also resulted in North Carolina One matching grant awards to 3-C ISD to support marketing research and commercialization efforts. Over the past nine years, 3-C ISD has grown a successful business that has brought more than $20 million dollars in SBIR and commercial funds into North Carolina and resulted in jobs for 35 full-time employees.