Innovation Hub for Advanced Applied Materials
2021 Request For Proposals and Submission Process:
|January 3, 2021||RFP Opens|
|March 15, 2021||
|May 3, 2021||Award Finalists Presentations to Oversight Committee|
|September 1, 2021||Award Funding Cycle Begins|
|Quarterly||Oversight Committee Reviews|
The Michigan Translational Research & Commercialization (MTRAC) program is sponsored by the 21st Century Jobs Fund through the Michigan Strategic Fund and administered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to support collaborative translational research projects led by teams of researchers, and business advisors as needed. The mission of the MTRAC Innovation Hub at Michigan Tech is to advance materials-based technologies that address poorly met market needs into commercial development. Examples of desirable translational research goals and outcomes include achieving specific milestones on the path to commercializing systems, materials, processing technologies, or devices which serve a well-documented market need. Proposals may address demonstration projects, prototype development, or process scale up that is necessary to attract follow-on funding from third parties.
Where there is any question regarding which of the statewide MTRAC Innovation Hubs is most appropriate to support development of a technology Michigan Tech welcomes projects related to:
- Novel materials
- Novel applications of conventional materials
- Equipment or processes that enable the application of either A) novel materials, b) conventional materials for novel purpose
- Technologies where the composition of the Michigan Tech Oversight Committee is best suited to assist in guiding commercialization strategies
Examples of previously supported technologies include:
- Nanowires that form a key element in the detection of foodborne pathogens
- Porous carbon electrodes for use in a blood hematocrit detection device
- Carbon nanotubes used in an active noise control system for military and passenger vehicles
- A photonic modulator to improve the data transfer capacity of radio frequency / fiber optic systems
- Organic nanowires as gas sensors
- Ceramic material for solid-state batteries
Assistance with business development will be provided by Nate Yenor, MTRAC Director, from the Office of Innovation and Commercialization and members of the Oversight Committee who are active in relevant commercial sectors. PIs are expected to commit to regular meetings with the Commercialization Program Director and quarterly meetings with the Oversight Committee. Cooperating institutional support in the preparation of program reports will be required on a six month basis to consolidate financial reporting to MEDC. Additionally, entrepreneurial training to improve applications and the ultimate commercialization outcome will be available to applicants through additional MEDC support.
All proposals must relate to an advanced material technology previously disclosed to the office responsible for technology transfer at a Michigan state research university, hospital, or non-profit research center with a designated technology transfer office such as Michigan Tech’s Office of Innovation & Commercialization. A commercial application must be identified for the technology. The PI must be willing to become involved in initial and follow-on business development activities such as customer discovery, competitive analysis, follow-on funding development, proprietary protection strategies and assessment of the intellectual property landscape surrounding the technology. Such activities are critical to the success of the program so awards will be limited to applicants willing to commit to participation in such programs. Licensed technology is not eligible for MTRAC funding though optioned technology is eligible.
Budget Period and Amount
Proposal funds are granted for a one-year period subject to milestone achievement. Budgets are anticipated to range from $30K-50K of direct costs per year. Matching funds are required of each project. (see instructions for more details)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization Innovation Hub?
The MTRAC program was modeled after a successful commercialization process developed by the Wallace H. Coulter foundation to promote commercialization of medical devices through the collaboration of Biomedical Engineers with medical clinicians to solve specific problems. The MTRAC program is designed to de-risk a given technology as rapidly as possible to attract subsequent rounds of development funding. The process depends upon close involvement of an Oversight Committee which actually selects the projects and a strong understanding of the customer need addressed by the technology.
What kind of projects will be funded?
Michigan Tech’s Innovation Hub is focused on commercializing technologies related to advanced applied materials. To support commercial development the projects should include unique intellectual property as evidenced by an invention disclosure on file with the university’s Office of Innovation & Commercialization that clearly states the invention’s novel features and target market. A key element in the project selection process is demonstration that the technology has the potential to fulfill an unmet need in a market of commercial significance. PI’s should be able to clearly describe a path to commercialization.
What will budgets for selected projects be like?
Projects are typically funded in the range of $30,000 - $50,000 in MTRAC Program funds plus matching funds based on the matching requirement tiers. Indirect costs of 15% on top of the MTRAC award portion may be requested subject to the policies of the applicant institution. Federal funding, outside investment, or institutional funding attributable to the project scope may qualify as matching funds subject to relevant policies and regulations. Budgets should address milestones that de-risk a technology in preparation for follow-on investment. Researchers are strongly encouraged to discuss budget development with the Commercialization Program Director prior to submission.
Who will determine what projects are funded?
Projects are selected by the ten-person Oversight Committee. The committee contains venture capitalists, materials experts from various fields, and successful entrepreneurs.
What further role will the MTRAC Oversight Committee play after project selection?
Oversight Committee Members are expected to help mentor selected projects so that project milestones are met and to provide quarterly guidance.
What is the proposal submission process?
The proposal process is a two stage evaluation. The Oversight Committee will review the 5 pages full proposals after the submission deadline date. Based on the review of the full proposals the Committee will invite PIs to make a personal presentation in the final stage of the process. After the personal presentation final project selections will be made.
What are the selection criteria?
A materials based solution to a commercial problem, a credible and actionable path to commercialization, protectable intellectual property, and the willingness of the PI to engage in commercialization activities.
Proposal Submission Guideline, Templates, & Forms
Proposal Submission is a two-stage process:
Complete Technology Disclosure form and submit to Innovation and Commercialization Office. Submit 5 page Full proposal to MTRAC Director.
Presentation to Oversight Committee followed by notification of award.