SBIR/STTR Program Director
National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation America's Seed Fund: Investing in High-Risk, High-Impact Tech
Diane Hickey joined NSF as an SBIR/STTR program director in August 2020. She has extensive experience in multiple technical fields and early-stage deep technology ventures. Diane founded the Diamond Chameleon Group and grew a broad team providing commercialization services to more than 40 SBIR awardees and deep technology startups with funding across government agencies. Diane began her career at Accenture, implementing enterprise-wide systems in utility and chemical corporations. She then joined C-Bridge Internet Solutions, an MIT-based startup that provided technologies to connect corporate back-end systems to users; the company went public in 1999, and merged with Excelon in 2000 and Progress Software Corp (PRGS) in 2004. After completing her Ph.D., Diane joined Advanced Diamond Technologies (ADT), a startup spun out of Argonne National Laboratory, she helped the company transition from grant support to commercial sustainability. Diane has held life-long roles in STEM education, including the NSF Young Scholars program, participation in the NSF Nanotechnology Informal Science Education network, and as a Sisters4Science mentor. She has also supported science education startups, served as the school and homeschool liaison for the Tampa’s Children’s Museum and has taught for Kaplan, Inc. Diane consulted on science education and pursued graduate coursework at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. Diane holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Auburn University, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Florida.