Michigan’s university research communities will soon have access to $1 million in funding to support early stage research projects, courtesy of the Michigan Economic Development Corp.’s (MEDC) Early Stage Proof of Concept Fund, which funds projects moving from the discovery phase to commercialization.
The funds will assist university projects in the transition from scientific to applied and translational research by analyzing the market, proving out the concept validation, demonstrating technical feasibility, and finally developing a prototype in the preparation for implementation and testing.
“The University Early Stage Proof of Concept Fund addresses an unmet need among our research community and will narrow a growing funding gap for researchers, providing much needed capital at the very earliest stages,” says Denise Graves, MEDC director of university relations. “Essentially, this fund will help researchers vet their ideas early in the process before they get too far along only to realize their innovation or technology may not work as they initially thought.”
Approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund in fall 2016, the $1 million fund will award up to $40,000 to eligible university research projects, which will be matched by the university. Based on a study conducted by the Michigan 21st Century Jobs Fund, university research projects currently stall when early-stage technology requires additional research or a working prototype before demonstrating commercial potential.
Following an RFP process, East Lansing’s Michigan State University was chosen to administer the program over the next two years, and the MSU technology transfer office program will provide resources and specialized services to the projects that receive grants.
Applications are currently being accepted, will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and can be found here.