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Welcome to
MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation 
2017 Fall Grant Cycle!

We are excited to launch the application process for the 16th year and are looking forward to your submissions!


Ideas to Impact:  The Deshpande Center transforms promising ideas at MIT into innovative products that impact the world and cutting-edge spinout companies. The Center makes modest but pivotal investments in research that is being done by some of MIT’s most talented scientists and engineers.  We also provide industry input via our Catalysts, professionals that bring the market perspective and guide the outcomes of the research.

Our Ignition Grants and Innovation Grants are open only to MIT faculty and students; grant applications must be submitted by MIT employees with Principal Investigator (PI) status. Our grants help bridge a funding gap between government support for basic science and the availability of private-sector funding for emerging innovations.  The cumulative value of an initial grant plus subsequent renewals cannot exceed $250,000.  

Ignition Grants: The Center awards one-year Ignition Grants of up to $50,000 to MIT researchers who are doing promising yet still-unproven work on inventions with a potentially large impact. By funding positions for graduate students/post-doctoral researchers, a grant allows the team to conduct exploratory experiments, validate a concept, and/or develop a working prototype.  Grantees who make significant progress toward validating the commercial viability of their invention are encouraged to apply to renew their funding via an Innovation Grant.

Innovation Grants: MIT researchers whose inventions are sufficiently developed can bypass the Ignition Grant stage and apply directly for a one-year Innovation Grant up to $150,000. Please note that though you may apply for more than $50,000, depending on availability of funds, grants may be capped at $50,000.  This grant supports the refinement and enhancement of an innova­tion, systematically explores potential markets, and assesses the commercial viability. The goal is to attract sufficient investment to commercialize a product and launch a spinout company and/or to license the technology to an existing company.


  • February 27, 2017 -  Pre-proposal call
  • March 27, 2017 -  Pre-proposals due (submit by 5PM EDT) 
  • May 1, 2017 -  Full proposal notification
  • June 1, 2017 -  Renewal and Full proposal applications due (submit by 5PM EDT) - by invtation only
  • June 14 and 15, 2017 -  Full proposals presentations - by invitation only 
  • August 2017 -  Grant awards notification
  • September 1, 2017 -  Grant award start date
  • October 2017 -  Grant awards announced to the public

Eligibility and How to Apply: 

Grants are open only to MIT faculty and students; grant applications must be submitted by MIT employees with Principal Investigator (PI) status.

All non-renewal applicants must submit a pre-proposal to this online grant submission system; see below Instructions. All pre-proposals will be reviewed by the Selection Committee. 

The grant selection committee, comprised of Catalysts, members from the TLO and faculty, will choose the most compelling projects and invite those PIs to submit a full grant proposal.  Written feedback will be provided on all pre-proposals, including those that are not selected.  Additionally, all committee members abide by the Center's confidentiality agreement and conflict of interest requirements.  All proposals are not considered public disclosure.

Researchers continuing the grant application process will be assigned a Deshpande Center Catalyst. The Catalyst is an industry mentor who will assist them in developing their submission package, which must include a full grant proposal and a budget. Applicants are also required to make a brief presentation to the Selection Committee.

Applicants will be notified of grant awards in August 2017.

Proposals should not be entered into KC before grantees are notified of awards. Once grants are awarded, information will need to be routed to OSP (Office of Sponsored Programs) through KC before final approval. The Deshpande Center will contact grant recipients when this process should be initiated.

Online Submittal Instructions:

Step 1: Make sure to click on the signup button at the top of the page and we ask that you use your email address.
Step 2: Once you complete the signup process, you will get an email to confirm your registration. Make sure to check your spam box, just in case! Please add us to your good sender list so that you can continue to receive messages from us.
Step 3: Upload all required application material using the MIT Deshpande Center templates on the site, as per the instructions upon login.

Proposal Templates can be downloaded from the Resources Page (link is at the top of this page)

Contact:  If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Karen Golmer

The MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation
Email:  or Phone: 617-324-2764


Phone: 617-253-0943
Fax: 617-253-8442
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Room 1-229
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-253-0943
Fax: 617-253-8442
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Room 1-229
Cambridge, MA 02139