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.
The Early Innovation Fund is designed to help advance the technology readiness of an innovation through a variety of means, including support for: materials or resources to advance an innovation (e.g., buying materials); testing services; a student worker; dissemination or implementation of innovations; and/or entrepreneurial coursework/exploration (e.g., travel for customer conversations that are part of MIN-Corps or I-Corps programs).
In-vivo animal testing
Material testing/equipment renting
Pilot scale demonstration
Purchasing raw materials
Small product inventory
Software development (minor)
Validation in lab or simulated environment
Tech Comm is open to proposals for other types of projects (not listed above) focusing on innovations that are past the basic research stage.
- Clear, achievable goals/milestones
- Completed within 6-12 month duration
- Lead investigator who is employed at UMN
- UMN-owned innovation and/or intellectual property (IP)
- One-time reporting after project completion
- Applicants receive an intellectual property (IP) analysis along with feedback.
- Awardees receive commercial market and patent search reports.
- Potential to connect the team to additional funding opportunities where applicable.
How to Apply
April 15, 2022 - Application opens
May 16, 2022 - Submissions due
Mid-summer 2022 - Awardees announced
Apply here: z.umn.edu/EarlyInnovationFund