The MSU Innovation Center is proud to manage and administer the University Early Stage Proof-of-Concept Fund known hereafter as the ADVANCE Grant Program sponsored by Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) on behalf of all public universities throughout the State of Michigan.
This University Early Stage Proof-of-Concept Fund is designed to closely align with other programs (e.g. MTRAC, T3N, First Capital Fund), as well as angel and venture capital within the State to provide a pipeline of de-risked technologies and fundable startup opportunities for further advancement. The ADVANCE Grant program like MTRAC, will provide a strong incentive for faculty with early stage technologies at the Michigan public universities to engage with their university’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and commercialization activities. Technologies, TTOs and inventors that receive funding under the ADVANCE Grant Program will benefit through achievement of critical early stage milestones such as proof-of-concept or market opportunity validation which will lead to follow-on commercialization activities.
Purpose of Funds
Data have shown that successful university TTOs must now actively advance portfolio technologies instead of merely screening, protecting, and marketing technologies. There is currently a gap in the capital continuum in the State that the ADVANCE Grant Program will fill. These funds will be used at an early stage (TRL 1-4) to determine the most actionable market application, the most viable business model, and confirm the proof-of-concept for a targeted application with our customer discovery process. These funds will be matched and complimented 1:1 by university “gap” funds to further de-risk these early stage technologies. Funds will be used for a variety of opportunity development tasks such as market studies, consultants, customer discovery efforts, and detailed IP analysis and prototype development.
Successful projects will advance or “move the needle” toward a commercial opportunity through achievement of early commercial or business milestones such as proof-of-concept or market or business model validation. Achievement of these early milestones, which are difficult to attract funding for through alternate sources, will make them more attractive for licensing and enhance the selection process for projects eligible for translational programs like MTRAC or Coulter. The funds will also allow the TTOs to continue their customer discovery and market assessment of projects as a natural complement to the technical readiness work of MTRAC to maximize commercialization success and also focus effort for effective startup formation processes and attraction of pre-seed funding, SBIR/STTR and other new venture funding. The ADVANCE Grant Program is targeted at high-value technology sectors represented by the research portfolios at the public universities across the State including but not limited to:
- Innovations in Life Science and healthcare including diagnostics, therapeutics, and medical devices;
- Advanced Automotive Manufacturing;
- Biotechnology and Agricultural Processing Technology;
- Advanced Materials;
- Alternative Energy; and
- Homeland Security and Defense Technology.
Operation of the Funds
The ADVANCE Grant program is run as a semi-rolling funding program. Proposals may be submitted at any time by the university Technology Transfer Office (TTO) or if there isn’t a TTO, by the university research office at universities throughout the State. On approximately a bi-monthly frequency, the proposals submitted will be reviewed by the Project Evaluation Committee.
- Applicants must be from institutions of higher education in the State of Michigan.
- The relevant technology must have an invention disclosure filed and have an identified commercial application.
- Grant applications may be submitted at any time. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
- Typical applications for these funds will be prototyping, customer discovery, market application research, animal studies, detailed IP analysis, etc.
- Project funding requests are encouraged up to $40,000 of which $20,000 is supplied by the Program and $20,000 matched by the university. Grant dollars supplied by the program must be matched dollar for dollar by the university.
- Projects involving optioned or licensed technologies are ineligible for funding.
Funding will be provided through a subagreement from MSU (Non-MSU awards). The subagreement will be issued within ten days of the university receiving an ADVANCE Award letter. The subagreement must be signed within one month of receipt of the draft subagreement; otherwise there is the potential for the award to be rescinded.
One no-cost extension for the maximum of three months per project will be considered for extenuating circumstances.
Project proposals will be judged and scored on the following criteria:
- Fitness against the objectives of the ADVANCE Grant Program;
- Technical and Commercial feasibility of the proposed scope of work; and
- Ability of the proposed scope of work to meaningfully advance or determine the feasibility of the university invention toward a commercial outcome as measured by a license or startup formation.
Applications have a rolling deadline. Please download documents listed below:
Step 3: Submit all ADVANCE proposal documents as one PDF to firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 5: Submit all ADVANCE proposal documents as one PDF to email@example.com. Submit the Commitment Form as a separate PDF.
For more information, please email the ADVANCE Grant Program Manager Ann Spalding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADVANCE Grant Awardees
Fall 2020 Awardees
Awarded September 21, 2020
- Dr. Zachery Asher, Western Michigan University – “Automotive Sensor Layout and Fusion Refinement for Improved Corner Case Performance” – ($25,000 MEDC; $25,000 match)
Awarded October 23, 2020
- Dr. Muhammad Rabnawaz, Michigan State University – “Commodity Polyethylene for High Performance 3D printing Applications” – ($25,000 MEDC; $25,000 match)
Awarded November 30, 2020
- Dr. Rodrigo Fernandez-Valdivia, Wayne State University – “Ultra-specific and Ultra-sensitive Platform for Highly-reliable and High-precision sars-CoV-2 Detection and COVID-19 Diagnostics” – ($35,000 MEDC; $17,500 match)
Awarded December 15, 2020
- Dr. Jun Hee Lee, University of Michigan – “NGST: Next-generation Spatial/single-cell Transcriptomics” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Awarded December 29, 2020
- Dr. Tamara Bush, Michigan State University – “Uber Wheelchair: An Autonomous Wheelchair with On-demand and Self-driving Services for the Mobility Challenged” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
- Dr. Qi Hua Fan, Michigan State University – “Develop an Oil-Water Separation Material Based on Renewable Biochar” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Summer 2020 Awardees
Awarded August 20, 2020
- Dr. Jing-Pin Jin, Wayne State University – “Methods to detect a novel diagnostic marker for acute myocardia ischemia” – ($25,000 MEDC; $25,000 match)
Spring 2020 Awardees
Awarded May 5, 2020
- Dr. Tamara Bush, Michigan Sate University – “A device for hand rehabilitation feedback and remote monitoring after surgery” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
- Dr. Daniel Taylor, Ferris State University – “Prototype of an adaptor to connect spectacles with cochlear implants” – ($23,284 MEDC; $23,284 match)
Awarded June 2, 2020
- Dr. Andrej Lenert, University of Michigan – “Development of a prototype radiation-assisted PV thermal management system” – ($25,000 MEDC; $25,000 match)
- Dr. Shorya Awtar, University of Michigan – “PRE-ACT: PREemptively Controlled ACTive Systems to Mitigate Motion Sickness I Autonomous Vehicles” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Winter 2020 Awardees
Awarded January 14, 2020
- Dr. Joan Dunbar, Wayne State University – “”Validate and Commercialize Hybrid Magnesium Cement” – ($7,000 MEDC; $7,000 match)
- Dr. Sonali Kurup, Ferris State University – “Small Molecule EGFR/AURK Inhibitors for Multi-resistant Lung Cancer” – ($23,609 MEDC; $23,609 match)
- Dr. Aljoscha Roch, Michigan State University – “Material Development for Advanced Fused Filament Fabrication” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Awarded March 30, 2020
- Dr. Changyong Cao, Michigan State University – “Novel Triboelectric Nanogenerators for Powering Wireless Sensors by Harvesting Wave Energy” – ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Awarded March 31, 2020
- Dr. Daniel Cooper, University of Michigan – “Squeeze Cutting: A Cutting Tool That Produces Easy to Recycle Chips” – ($25,000 MEDC; $25,000 match)
- Dr. Marina Tanasova, Michigan Technological University – “Next Generation Probe for Fructose-Specific Transporters”- ($11,000 MEDC; $11,000 match)
- Dr. Carl Boehlert, Michigan State University – “Optimizing the Thermomechanical Treatment on Patented Titanium-Chromium Alloys for Targeted Industrial Applications” – ($25,000 MEDC; $25,000 match)
Fall 2019 Awardees
Awarded September 30, 2019
- Dr. Federica Brandizzi, Michigan State University, – “Improvement of Crop Nutritional Value and Growth through Enhancement of Essential Amino Acid Levels” – $40,000 ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Awarded November 13, 2019
- Dr. Muhammad Rabnawaz, Michigan State University, – “Dirt-Free Coatings for Solar Panels and Sensors” – $41,654 ($20,827 MEDC; $20,827 match)
- Dr. Nicholas A. Kotov, University of Michigan, – “Materials and Surface Texture Sensing LIDAR Prototype for Recycling Robotics” – $40,000 ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Summer 2019 Awardees
Awarded June 28, 2019
- Dr. Muhammad Rabnawaz, Michigan State University – “Food Safe Water-and-Soil-Repellent Paper Substrates for Food Packaging” – $37,812 ($18,906 MEDC; $18,905 match)
- Dr. Haseung Chung and Dr. Patrick Kwon, Michigan State University – “Magnetic-field Assisted Finishing (MAF) Using Exfoliated Graphite Nanoplatelets (xGnP) for Finishing Reel to Reel Sheet Metal Project” – $40,000 ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
- Dr. Corey Stephenson, University of Michigan – “Development and Evaluation of Novel Fungicidal Succinate Dehydrogenase Inhibitors” – $25,000 ($12,500 MEDC; $12,500 match)
Awarded July 22, 2019
- Dr. Matthew Ross, Western Michigan University – “Cash ‘n’ Career Commercialization” – $40,000 ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Spring 2019 Awardees
Awarded March 17, 2019
- Dr. Andrew Tai, University of Michigan – “Interrupting Transmission of Multiple Flaviviruses Using an Engineered Viral NS1 Protein” – $70,792 ($35,396 MEDC; $35,396 match)
Awarded April 30, 2019
- Dr. David Douches, Michigan State University – ”Over-coming Self-incompatibility in Diploid Potatoes by CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out of HT” – $40,000 ($20,000 MEDC; $20,000 match)
Fall 2018 Awardees
Awarded August 14, 2018
- Dr. Timothy Scott, University of Michigan – “Multi-Wavelength Irradiation System for Ultra Rapid Additive Manufacturing” – $57,920 ($28,960 MEDC; $28,960 match)
Awarded September 5, 2018
- Dr. Ann Chapleau and Dr. Jennifer Harrison, Western Michigan University – “Goal Attainment Scaling: A Mobile App Solution” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
Awarded October 5, 2018
- Dr. Steven Cundiff, University of Michigan – “High Speed, User-friendly Optical Spectroscopy for Mixtures” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
- Dr. Mojtaba Akhavan-Tafti, University of Michigan – “Autonomous Electromagnetic Energy Converter” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
- Dr. Sherif El-Tawil, University of Michigan – “High Performance Steel Fibers for Ultra High Performance Concrete” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
Summer 2018 Awardees
Awarded May 31, 2018
- Dr. Timothy Grotjohn, Michigan State University – “Reducing the Production Cost of Diamond Substrates for Gemstone, Optical and Electronic Uses” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
- Dr. Erik Shapiro, Michigan State University – “Clinically Viable Magnetic Particles (SLIPs) for MRI-based Cell Tracking” – $60,122 ($30,061 MEDC; $30,061 match)
Awarded June 20, 2018
- Dr. Muralidhar Ghantasala, Western Michigan University – “Torque Sensing for Automotive Applications” – $30,000 ($15,000 MEDC; $15,000 match)
- Dr. John Walton, Michigan State University – “Novel Method to Make Bicyclic Peptides for Agricultural and Pharmaceutical Applications” – $76,734 ($38,367 MEDC; $38,367 match)
- Dr. Aloke Dutta, Wayne State University – “In Vivo Screening of Potential Neuroprotective Compounds by Magnetic Resonance Imaging Technique” – $11,250 ($5,635 MEDC; $5,625 match)
Awarded August 7, 2018
- Dr. Zhaojian Li, Michigan State University – “Cloud-Based Driving Monitoring and Analytics” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
- Dr. John Patten, Western Michigan University – “Laser Augmented Diamond Drilling” – $8,000 ($4,000 MEDC; $4,000 match)
- Dr. Scott Wagner, Michigan Technological University – “Self-Lubricating Bearing Prototype Using Novel Friction Stir Powder Metallurgy Process” – $25,000 ($12,500 MEDC; $12,500 match)
- Dr. Ann Chapleau, Western Michigan University – “Goal Attainment Scaling: A Mobile App Solution” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
Awarded August 16, 2018
- Dr. Prem Chahal, Michigan State University – “Laser Assisted Growth of SiC Devices on Sapphire Substrates” – $56,648 ($28,324 MEDC; $28,324 match)
- Dr. Qi Hua Fan, Michigan State University – “Development of Scalable Linear Ion Sources for Thin Film Processing” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
- Dr. Mikhail Redko, Michigan State University – “Streamlined Synthesis of Sweeteners from a Novel Method to Delignify Biomass” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
Spring 2018 Awardees
Awarded, January 25, 2018
- Dr. Chinedum Okwudire, The University of Michigan – “Boosting Speed and precision of Desktop 3D Printers via Software-based Vibration Compensation” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
“We have developed an entirely software-based vibration compensation technique that allows up to 2x faster printing without causing surface waviness or registration errors. The technology enables faster, more precise and more reliable 3D printing.”
- Dr. Merritt DeLano-Taylor, Grand Valley State University – “PM-Nato3, A Novel Tool to Generate Dopamine Neurons in Human Stem Cells” – $51,050 ($25,535 MEDC; $25,535 match)
“PM-Nato3 is a novel polypeptide tool that promises to replace use of costly reagents and simplify the conversion of human stem cells (HSC) into dopamine (DA) neurons. DA neurons are lost in Parkinson’s disease (PD) and affected in schizophrenia and other disorders, and therapeutics in this realm represent a growing market of 6.7 Billion USD.”
Awarded, March 8, 2018
- Dr. Zhiqiang Cao, Wayne State University – “Durable Super-Hydrophilic Fouling-Resistant Marine Coating” – $15,000 ($7,500 MEDC: $7,500 match)
“This technology and resulting product will be the first generation of the marine fouling-resistant coating. It is the combination of hydrophilic hydrogel and commercial glue and could be easily applied on both cargo shops and leisure vessels by either professional ship yards or DIY product. It overcomes the disadvantages of current fouling-release marine coatings and greatly improves the marine bio-fouling resistant capability.”
- Dr. Daniel Kujawski, Western Michigan University – “Fatique Property of Materials & Components Using Multi-Scale Hardness Data” – $49,892 ($24,946 MEDC; $24,946 match)
“This project will improve prediction of the fatique properties of materials. The methodology will lower the expense of providing designers with material properties over the lifecycle of manufactured parts. The technique promises higher reliability from non-destructive testing and analysis.”
- Dr. Emin Kutay, Michigan State University – “Developing Customer-Ready Software for Analysis and Design of Asphalt Pavements Constructed with Traditional and Advanced Materials” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
“This project will develop a user-ready software program to be used by civil engineers designing asphalt pavements using traditional and advanced materials under regional conditions.”
Fall 2017 Awardees
Awarded, August 23, 2017
- Dr. Gregory Swain, Michigan State University – “Next Generation Exhaled Breath Analyzer for Nitric Oxide and Peroxynitrite” – $44,000 ($22,000 MEDC; $22,000 match)
“This project will develop prototype electrodes and related sensor apparatus for medical detection. The electrodes and sensors incorporate electrically conducing diamond to provide a detection platform. Use of these sensors will detect trace elements in exhaled breath for diagnosis and monitoring of lung-related conditions.”
- Dr. Eric Nybo, Ferris State University – “A Novel Metabolic Engineering Platform for Production of Anthracyclinones” – $61,000 ($30,500 MEDC; $30,500 match)
“The invention provides for genetically engineered antinomycetes that produce novel anthracyclinone and anthracycline drug molecules useful for chemical starting materials, antibiotics, or anticancer agents.”
- Dr. Massood Atashbar, Western Michigan University – “Impact Sensor and Rigid-flex Readout Electronic System” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
“This project aims to develop an impact sensor and rigid-flex readout electronics system, which helmet manufacturers can use in existing helmets to automatically record and communicate the occurrence of potentially dangerous impacts; thus reducing the chance of inaccurate judgments.”
Awarded, October 10, 2017
- Dr. Andre Bachman, Michigan State University – “TIR199: A Novel Proteasome Inhibitor” – $80,000 ($40,000 MEDC; $40,000 match)
“TIR-199 is a structural analog of the naturally occurring bacterial proteasome inhibitors called syrbactin. It is an excellent candidate as a new and improved proteasome inhibitor with high efficacy and high specificity.”
- Dr. Pavel Ikonomov, Western Michigan University – “3D Metal Device and Process” – $69,970 ($34,985 MEDC; $34,985 match)
“This technology allows customers to eliminate the additional steps and costs of machining parts on separate stations. Machining immediately after each layer of metal is deposited enables the manufacture of 3D printed parts with complex geometries without using support structures required with existing 3D printing technologies.”