2018 Innovation Seed Grant Competition

Big Ideas through Small Technology 

The Innovation Seed Grant Competition is designed to encourage the Mid-Atlantic region’s brightest minds to design or prototype innovative technology through the usage nanotechnology related tools and equipment.

Prizes

Up to $15,000 worth of grants in laboratory/equipment time to be used at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology. Grant amounts will be based on the number of hours proposed for the project and the normal Fee structure used to reserve equipment at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology.

Winners will also have the ability to present their ideas to a group of Venture Capitalists during the annual Singh Nano Conference in October of 2018.

The 2018 Grant competition has ended. Winners will be announced on March 30th.

This competition is open to students, individuals and small companies (less than 50 people).

  • Proposal Submission Deadline – March 2nd by midnight
  • Winners Announced – March 30th
  • Winner Presentations to Venture Capitalists – October 2018
  1. Projects may include both new technology and improvements to existing technology.
  2. Grants can ONLY be used at the Singh Center for Nanotechnology lab/equipment time. Grants DO NOT cover other facilities or labs around the University of Pennsylvania campus, including but not limited to the LRSM Building.
  3. All work done through the a Seed Grant MUST be self-performed (i.e. neither Singh Center Staff assisted work or remote projects would be covered under the grant)
  4. Grants can be used for both direct facility usage by awardee, with initial equipment training and consultation provided by Singh Center Staff. (NOTE: Forfeiture of the grant will occur if the company/team is inactive four months.)
  5. Grants MUST be used from April 1st 2018 – March 31st 2019 or they are forfeit.
  6. Awardees MUST signs the standard Singh Center for Nanotechnology Use of Facility Agreement, if awarded a grant.
  7. Companies can only be awarded up to a total of two Seed Grants.

A Judging Panel with expertise in engineering, science, computing, and business, will use the following criteria in their evaluations:

A Judging Panel with expertise in engineering, science, computing, and business, will use the following criteria in their evaluations:

    • How novel is the idea? How does the solution compare to other concepts addressing the same problem?
    • Technical Feasibility. How technical viable is the idea? Do the number of work hours proposed make sense given the proposed solution?
    • Probability of Success. Does the submitting Individual or Team have the necessary skills and drive to bring this innovation to market?
    • Impact of Grant Funding. How much of an impact will the award provide to the submitting individual or group in bringing the innovation to fruition?
    • What is the current demand for this type of innovation?
    • Market Size. How big of a market is there for this innovation?
    • Societal Impact. How would this innovation impact society? Could this lead to other technical breakthroughs?

The Proposal must be submitted as a PDF or MS Word File of no more than 4 pages.

The four-page proposal should include the following:

  1. Description of the idea and an explanation as to why it is new.
  2. Motivation and societal impact of idea.
  3. Technical feasibility of the idea.
  4. Usage of Singh Equipment and an estimation of the number of hours required to complete the project. This should include:
    • High level Work Breakdown Structure and Project Management Schedule that should include, but is not limited to:
      • List of each key tools along with a description of how each tool will be used during each quarter
      • Estimation of the number of hours required to complete each step of the project using each tool
    • Smallest feature size
    • Materials to be used on the samples, such as resists, metals, and dielectrics
  5. What you think the most significant technical challenges are and why.
  6. Description of Background Intellectual Property required, if applicable.
  7. Business Case, including the market potential and commercial viability of the project. For projects focused on societal change, please provide a description of the potential impact on society.
  8. A 1-2 paragraph biography on each of the primary company/team members that will be working on the project.

(Please Note: Every Wednesday from 2:00 – 4:00 pm, the Singh Center for Nanotechnology runs an Open Forum for anyone working with this technology, with the primary focus on providing advice on device fabrication. All are welcome to attend the Open Forum and we encouraged all companies/teams to take advantage of it, should you need assistance in nailing down the particulars for your proposal or would just like some general feedback or assistance at any time. For more information, please contact Eric Johnston at ericdj@seas.upenn.edu )

All participants are responsible for keeping their intellectual property and all other confidential information confidential. Please refrain from submitting any confidential information.

For University of Pennsylvania Applicants Only

Applicants are responsible to determine if any part of their project ideas constitutes Penn IP and if so, disclose it to Penn Center for Innovation (PCI).

 

Should any technology underlying a project idea participating in the Site be identified as Penn-owned intellectual property (IP), it will be treated in accordance with Penn’s policies governing IP including the Penn Patent Policy. With respect to any project idea that does not contain Penn-owned IP according to the Penn Patent Policy, the Applicants will be free to pursue the development of that project idea on their own time and at their own expense with no further obligation to the Penn Site. However, all commercialization activities including the formation of a company whether through Penn services or outside, will be subject to compliance with the Penn Patent Policy and Conflict of Interest Policies. Further, participation in the Innovation Seed Grant Competition does not confer any ownership or any rights to technology or concept, which are identified as Penn-owned IP. Selection to participate in this program does not grant to the Applicant a license to the technology.

THIS Innovation Seed Grant Competition AND ANY ACTIVITIES AND SERVICES THAT ARE OR MAY BE PROVIDED IN CONNECTION THEREWITH ARE PROVIDED “AS IS.” PENN MAKES NO REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY AND ALL WARRANTIES, CONDITIONS, OR REPRESENTATIONS (EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ORAL OR WRITTEN), WITH RESPECT TO THE Innovation Seed Grant Competition, DELIVERABLES, OR ANY PART THEREOF, INCLUDING, AS TO CONDITION OF TITLE, NONINFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILTIY, OR FITNESS OR SUITABILITY FOR A PARTICULAR PUPOSE. PENN WILL NOT BE LIABLE TO ANY PARTICIPANT/TEAM MEMBER, INCLUDING MENTORS, EXTERNAL REVIEWERS, LECTURERS, INSTRUCTORS OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY BREACH OF CONFIDENTIALITY, LOST PROFITS, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO DATA, LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOSS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS, LOSS OF COPYRIGHT PROTECTION, OR OTHER ECONOMIC DAMAGE), WHETHER ARISING IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, AND REGARDLESS OF WHETHER PENN WAS ADVISED, HAD OTHER REASON TO KNOW, SHOULD HAVE ANTICIPATED, OR IN FACT KNEW OF THE POSSIBILITY THEREOF. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH ARE INDEPENDENT OF, SEVERABLE FROM, AND TO BE ENFORCED INDEPENDENTLY OF ANY OTHER ENFORCEABLE OR UNENFORCEABLE PROVISION HEREOF.

 

By participating in this Innovation Seed Grant Competition each Applicant agrees as follows: I recognize, acknowledge and understand that participating in the Innovation Seed Grant Competition carries with it certain inherent risks that cannot be eliminated, including the risk of loss of patent, trade secret or other IP protection for a project idea. Notwithstanding the risks, which I recognize and accept, and in consideration of being permitted to participate in any way in the Innovation Seed Grant Competition, I , for myself, my heirs, personal representatives or assigns, do hereby waive, release and discharge the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and its trustees, officers, employees and agents, from any and all claims for personal injury, accidents or illness (including death), and property damage, arising in any manner out of my participation in the Innovation Seed Grant Competition, including transportation to and from any activities associated with the Innovation Seed Grant Competition. I further acknowledge that the risks stated herein are not intended to be all inclusive and that my participation is voluntary and that I knowingly and voluntarily assume all risks known or unknown. I am eighteen (18) years of age or older.

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology gratefully acknowledges the National Science Foundation’s NNCI program through NSF Grant Award No.15-519 for its contributions towards this effort.