Kickstart Awards - MTRAC for Life Sciences




Kickstart Awards are a part of the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub - a statewide program that accelerates the transfer of technologies from Michigan's institutions of higher education to the private sector for commercialization.

Made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, U-M Innovation Partnerships, U-M Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI), Kickstart Awards offer early-stage funding to enable biomedical researchers across the state of Michigan to develop proof of concept for innovative technologies. This award is aimed to enhance the commercial potential of a technology owned by any Michigan-based non-profit to the point of demonstration of utility and possible inclusion in the MTRAC for Life Sciences or other research funding programs.

Innovation Partnerships is seeking proposals which address a discrete milestone that is critical to the advancement of research to the point of product development. The Kickstart awards offer funding for preliminary studies or development activities that will lead to products with applications in health care. Funding range is up to $42,500 direct costs. All budgets will require a 50% cost share from the investigator/institution. A reduced, tiered cost-share is required from universities with less than $150 million in research expenditures. For projects from these universities, please contact John Dishinger ( for the appropriate templates. The awards are given semi-annually, with proposals due May 1 and November 1 of each year.

Contact John Dishinger (; 734-763-0614) to schedule a pre-submission consultation.

Process Overview

  1. Provide a pre-submission application
  2. Meet with Innovation Partnerships staff to determine key milestone and success metrics
  3. Receive Institutional/Departmental approval for cost sharing
  4. Submit full proposal via InfoReady website
  5. Award decision will be provided within 6 weeks
  6. Reporting and mentorship

It is essential that all Kickstart Award projects address a key milestone that is measurable and demonstrable. This key milestone will increase the commercialization potential of the overall research project to the point where it can be considered a strong candidate for further translational research funding and ultimately commercialization. Please see the full RFP document (right-hand side of this page) for details about the appropriate stage of development for Kickstart funding by product vertical. Following completion of a pre-submission application, research teams will work directly with Innovation Partnerships staff to determine an appropriate research plan and key milestone before submitting a complete proposal for review. Mentorship will be provided during the award period to guide further commercialization efforts.

All interested faculty must complete a pre-submission application before submitting a full proposal. The pre-submission application and full proposal template can be found under the "Application Files" heading on the upper right of this page.

MTRAC for Life Sciences is devoted to offering resources and support to world-class biomedical researchers from institutions across the state of Michigan to help them successfully commercialize their technology. If you have any questions regarding the Kickstart Award or are interested in other resources within Innovation Partnerships please contact John Dishinger (; 734-763-0614).

Kickstart Pre-submission Application

Please use the provided template to describe the technology. Send the completed application to John Dishinger ( A meeting with Innovation Partnerships staff will be scheduled after receipt of the application to discuss the commercialization path and research plan. This should be completed before uploading documents via UMMS Competition Space.

Full RFP and Instructions

Right hand side of competition details page

Contact Information

John Dishinger -; 734-763-0614