Advanced Industries Proof of Concept Grant

The Advanced Industries Proof of Concept Grant provides funding to help Colorado research institutions speed up applied research in advanced industries and commercialize products and services with the private sector. Projects can receive up to $150,000 in grant money. This grant award maximum can be lifted for joint proposals or projects that impact more than one advanced industry.

Projects must accelerate product or service commercialization through precommercial research and commercialization preparation. Funding cannot be used for basic research. Funding can be used to support these milestones:

  • proof of principle
  • intellectual property (IP) protection
  • prototypes and technical validation
  • market assessment
  • start-up and corporate formation costs

  Applications are open and due September 1, 2021.

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Overview

Type: Grant

For: Research institutions

Amount: Up to $150,000 per project

Match: 1-to-3 (institution-to-state), cash

Industry-specific: Advanced industries

Application periods: January to March and July to September

OEDIT division: Global Business Development

A project or technology with a particular application may receive grant awards up to $150,000 unless the award cap is lifted. The award cap may be lifted for joint proposals and projects that impact more than one advanced industry.

Joint proposals

A joint proposal can be defined as either:

  • two or more research institutions submit a joint proposal where the research institutions will share joint ownership of IP or patents
  • when commercialization activities will take place at more than one research institution and at least two of the joint applicants should receive a minimum of 25% of any program award

Projects that impact more than one advanced industry

The advanced industry selected must correspond to the core technology of the project. Applicants should select no more than a primary industry and secondary industry. To receive the full requested amount, all industries selected must support the application.

If advanced manufacturing, electronics, or information technology (enabling industries) are among the identified industries, the application must directly address how the enabling technology will impact the scalability, process improvement, or market adoption of the commercial product for the non-enabling technology. To receive the full requested amount, all industries selected must support the application.

To apply for the Advanced Industries Proof of Concept Grant, your project needs to:

We will prioritize projects that:

  • involve more than one research institution
  • include sponsorship by a Colorado-based advanced industry business
  • originate from a nonprofit research institution

Advanced industries technology

A disruptive technology is defined as a significant departure from the currently available technology in the industry. The use of an industry’s currently available technology does not constitute a significant impact. For example, the use of currently available electronics components does not constitute an impact on the electronics industry.

The technology must impact at least one of these advanced industries:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • aerospace
  • bioscience
  • electronics
  • energy and natural resources (including cleantech)
  • infrastructure engineering
  • technology and information

Colorado research institutions and federal labs

Applicants must apply through a participating certified Colorado research institution or federal lab. If you are interested in conducting industry-sponsored research please contact the technology transfer offices outlined below.

These institutions are currently participating:

Matching funding

You need to have dedicated money from the associated research institution that is at least one-third of the requested grant amount at the time of grant execution. For example, if you request a grant of $150,000, you need to identify $50,000 in cash from other sources. Dedicated money can be either cash:

  • in an account held by the grantee
  • formally committed by a third party investor or granting organization

Funds need to be traceable and committed to the execution of the project work. In-kind contributions do not satisfy matching requirements. Matching funds cannot be OEDIT funding or other state funding, neither directly received, nor received through a third party.

Application process

Applications are open twice a year from January to March and July to September. Applications are being accepted and the deadline to apply for this application cycle is September 1, 2021.

All applications must be submitted using OEDIT’s online application portal. You should contact participating research institutions directly for the timing of their internal application and review process.

Some of Colorado’s research institutions receive a pre-allocated amount of funding to support proof of concept projects within their institution. These funds are awarded by the institution’s technology transfer office using an internal review process. You should contact participating research institutions directly for the timing of their internal application and review process.

The application process for the grant is:

  1. Pre-Qualification Questionnaire: The technology transfer office must submit a pre-qualification questionnaire on behalf of the applicant. Once submitted, the applicant will have access to the full application.
  2. Application: The intent of the application is to provide enough information to a group of reviewers so that they can sufficiently evaluate the commercialization potential of a technology and the value of the proposed project in advancing the technology toward commercialization.

Application materials

The application includes the following sections. Some sections are scored, while other sections provide important background information that will help evaluators understand your application. Draft your application with the assumption that the reviewers have an undergraduate/master’s level education in both business and the relevant scientific discipline.

These sections are not scored:

  • Executive Summary: This is a single-question section requesting a single-page high-level overview of your technology and this project.
  • Applicant Information: This section consists of identifying information about the applicant.
  • Project Summary and Grant Amount: This section gives a brief overview, identifies the milestones already accomplished and those to be achieved during the project, summarizes the project proposal, and identifies total grant dollars requested.
    • identify source of matching funding
    • customize the Proof of Concept Milestone Template (XLS) to compose project milestones that reflect the specifics of your proposal
    • identify advanced industry applicable to the technology and how the technology impacts each industry selected

These sections are scored and have variable weights:

  • Stakeholder Collaboration: This section determines the statutory application selection preferences. OEDIT will review and confirm accuracy. OEDIT may modify the applicants’ answer for scoring purposes if the answer is not accurate. This section is scored and has a section weight of 10 points.
  • Commercial, Market, and Economic Potential: This section outlines the commercial, market and economic potential of the technology. This section is scored and has a section weight of 50 points.
  • Personnel, Budget, and Plan: This section outlines the personnel involved in the project, the project budget, and the research plan. This section is scored and has a section weight of 40 points.
    • customize the Proof of Concept Budget Template (XLS) when reporting your budget to reflect the specifics of your proposal
    • total indirect costs associated with the grant funding cannot exceed 8% of the total direct costs

The review process typically takes 10 to 12 weeks. The Advanced Industries Grant staff will communicate all relevant dates to applicants after the application deadline. People reviewing your application have an undergraduate or Master’s-level education or equivalent experience and are familiar with Colorado’s advanced industries.

Applications are reviewed in a multi-stage process:

  1. Internal Compliance Review: Applications are first vetted through an internal compliance review to ensure eligibility and all required materials have been submitted. Incomplete applications may be rejected.
  2. Independent Review: Reviewers independently evaluate the applications submitted using a structured scoring system.
  3. Industry Subcommittee Review Meetings: Industry review subcommittees meet for a half-day meeting to discuss the industry’s application evaluations and select up to four of the most competitive applications to advance to the full committee meeting.
    • Applicants selected to pitch during the Full Committee Meeting are required to attend a pitch training session organized by OEDIT.
    • Dependent on the availability of funds, a number of applicants may be selected to be fast-tracked. Applicants that are fast-tracked do not pitch at the Full Committee Meeting. Applicants selected for this opportunity must be the most competitive, as determined by the Independent Review and Industry Subcommittee Review Meetings.
  4. Full Committee Meeting: Reviewers attend a full-day pitch event to evaluate the pitch presentations of the applicants selected to advance during the Industry Subcommittee Review Meetings. Contact participating research institutions directly for the process of the internal application format.
  5. Economic Development Commission Meeting: Applications recommended for funding will be presented to the Colorado Economic Development Commission for final approval.

Scored sections are evaluated on a 0 to 5 scale.

  • 5 – Excellent: The applicant has included all of the required information and has made a very convincing argument in support of the criterion being scored.
  • 4 – Above Average: The applicant has included all of the required information and has made a reasonable argument in support of the criterion being scored.
  • 3 – Good: The applicant has included most of the required information and has made a fair argument in support of the criterion being scored.
  • 2 – Fair: The applicant has included most of the required information but has not made a fair argument in support of the criterion being scored.
  • 1 – Poor: The applicant has not included enough of the required information to make a fair argument in support of the criterion being scored.
  • 0 – Nothing Provided: The applicant neglected to include any relevant information.

Rejected applications

Rejected applications may be re-worked and resubmitted in the next grant cycle. There is no appeals process, but applicants can request feedback as directed in the decline notice.

Award distribution

Once an application is approved, applicants must execute a formal grant agreement with OEDIT prior to obligating or spending any grant funds. Project milestones and budgets will be defined in the agreement. Unused funds must be returned to OEDIT and the program fund.

Conditions of funding

Review the Colorado Special Provisions. The expenditure of both grant and matching funds must comply with the approved project budget. Once you have been notified of an award, you may begin spending matching funds. Grant funds may not be spent until a grant agreement has been executed, meaning it has received final signature by the State Controller or designee.

The intent of this program is to license technologies to organizations that will actively pursue commercial development of the product or technology with the majority of operations in Colorado. Therefore, in the event that a technology supported by a Proof of Concept award is licensed to an organization not commercializing, developing, manufacturing or producing products or services based upon such licensed technology in Colorado, the research institution shall reimburse OEDIT by payment of a sum equal to 20% of any gross licensing revenue resulting from such a license each year until OEDIT is reimbursed for the full amount of the award. Such reimbursements will be used to support future advanced industry grant programs and activities.

In applying for this grant, you are providing information to the State of Colorado. As the submitter, you have an obligation to carefully review all information provided to ensure it is accurate to the best of your knowledge and it does not contain any omissions, misrepresentations or factual errors. The reviewers of this application reserve the right to validate or check any information provided by the applicant, and if errors, omissions or misrepresentations are found, to modify the responses to correct for these deficiencies in evaluating the application and/or cancel any grant awards based on such deficiencies. Deliberately providing factual errors, omissions or misleading information to the State of Colorado as part of this application may be subject to penalties and sanctions as allowable by law.

Program Manager

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