FY 2018 Energy Innovation Seed Grant

news story image

The Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2) is focused on translating university energy research into new clean energy companies in the State of Maryland and thus simultaneously benefiting our environment and creating high paying jobs to help our State economy. MEI2 proposes a unique opportunity through the following seed grant program to bridge the gap between academic transformative laboratory research results and prototype demonstrations to obtain investor interest.  This call will support multiple seed grant awards with a maximum award ceiling of $100,000 USD. The total amount of funding available for the 2018 Seed Grant Program is $400,000 USD. The program will continue in subsequent years with Phase 2 awards possible.


Eligibility: All full-time tenured or tenure track faculty members at any Maryland state academic institution or Maryland companies affiliated with and commercializing inventions created by those faculty.

Program Focus: The intent of the program is to foster commercialization by translating energy research into a prototype device or process through technology development, creation and/or advancement of university start-up companies within the state of Maryland.

Expectations: The project should advance energy technology and economic growth in Maryland in partnership with a local university faculty or student led company. The device or process should have appropriate intellectual property protection (invention disclosure, patent application, or patent) filed with the applicant institution. At the end of one year, a report that describes work done and includes a commercialization plan will be the final deliverable for the project. The plan should include: 1) clear market assessment and strategy; 2) a viable revenue model; and 3) a strategy for financing the plan.

 Review: Funding for the seed grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. The MEI2 Investment Committee will review and select proposed projects. Applicants should not expect detailed written critiques of their proposals. Proposals will be reviewed for: 1) the likelihood of attracting outside funding, 2) innovative and scholarly merit, and 3) potential for commercial readiness.

Allowable Expenses: Research supplies; purchase or rental of equipment and materials; travel for project purposes (excluding travel to meetings or symposia); salary support for a temporary position (1year or less) technician, or research associates (post-docs), and/or graduate students.

Unallowable Expenses: Salaries for PIs; administrative support

Conditions of the Award: Money must be spent within 12 months of receipt of award to advance technology as described in proposal.

Proposal Content:

Cover Page (1 page) including:

  • Title of Project
  • Names of all Co-PI’s (specify position and affiliation)
  • Name of partnering company
  • Statement of how this project translates research into technology and enables private investment (technology validation)
  • Total amount of funding requested
  • Indemnification statement “By submitting this proposal undersigned indemnifies the University System of Maryland and all members of the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute (MEI2) Investment Committee and their respective companies or employers from any liability arising from the preparation of this proposal or any resulting activities should an award be made.”
  • Signature Line of Participating Dean(s)/Department Chair(s)

 Project Proposal (maximum 8 single-spaced pages) including:

  • Project Motivation—rationale for project and potential for investment  (2 pages maximum)
  • Project Description  (4 pages maximum)
    • Description of market and why proposed technology provides a unique or preferred solution to meet those market needs
    • Detailed description of the technology device or process summarizing previous results obtained
    • Description of intellectual property secured
    • Description of proposed technology development and why it is necessary to secure follow on investment funding
    • Brief risk assessment
    • Additional Information including References (including full titles) 1 page maximum
    • Targeted deadline for proposal Budget - (be specific about what the funds will be used for and how the PIs will allocate funds between the PIs).  1 page maximum
    • Biosketches (not included in page count) – 2-page NIH or NSF format (all senior personnel)

Proposals must be submitted electronically to Cathy Stephens (csteph5@umd.edu) as a combined .pdf by close of business (5pm) on December 15, 2017.


Published November 15, 2017