Innovation Investments

Several University programs provide funding and guidance to help move your technology beyond the lab and toward the market.

Early Innovation Fund

The Early Innovation Fund is a competitive funding program available to the UMN research community to fund short-term projects that advance early-stage innovations. The program provides $3,000 to $10,000 per project and will fund approximately 5 to 10 projects per cycle.

This opportunity is open to all UMN researchers and employees, including faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and staff. It is offered twice a year, in the spring and fall.

Learn more and apply for the Early Innovation Fund


Minnesota Innovation Corps, or MIN-Corpsaims to increase technology commercialization capabilities and activities across the University.

The program, funded by the National Science Foundation, offers a variety of short-term bootcamps and workshops for researchers looking to bring their discoveries to market.

MIN-Corps provides:

  • Innovation commercialization bootcamps
  • Value proposition design workshops
  • Emerging opportunities forums
  • Strategy clinics

The program also offers the STARTUP: Customer Development and Testing course, which helps undergraduate and graduate student inventors take the first steps toward commercializing their discoveries. Course participants test business model assumptions through meetings with potential customers and partners and receive recurring feedback from instructors and mentors.