The Grant program is opened to SMART researchers and also to faculty at all Singapore Universities and Research Institutes.
The Innovation Grant and support from the Innovation Centre will assist faculty and their research team move their discovery from the laboratory toward the marketplace. The funding can be used to:
- De-risk the technology by developing prototypes or conducting proof of concept experiments and
- Determine a go-to market strategy for the products or services being developed
The end point of the grant funding should be a well-defined business opportunity attractive to start-up company formation or licensing to a commercial firm. The primary grant will be the Innovation Grant of up to S$250,000. However, for projects deemed too early, where the go-to market strategy is not clearly understood or the technology is at a very early stage, an Ignition Grant of up to S$50,000 will be awarded.
- Singapore Researchers from institutes of Higher Learning in Singapore (e.g. NUS, NTU, SUTD, SIM, SMU, A*STAR Institutions, Polytechnics, CREATE Institutions, SGH, DUKE-NUS, NUH (etc)
- Researchers who are employees of SMART MIT Faculty , the following criteria applies :
- An MIT faculty who does not participate in SMART can receive an Innovation Grant as long as there is a Singapore Collaborator and all (100%) of the funds remain in Singapore.
- An MIT faculty who participates in SMART can receive funding at MIT as long as there is a Singapore Collaborator.
- Anyone who receives SMART Innovation funds should be aware there is a preference for commercialization in Singapore.
- Click on the “Apply for Innovation Grant” tab and you will go into an Innovation Grant Application Website. (This also includes Ignition Grant)
- Sign up to create a profile.
- Download the application form as well as the budget form.
- Once you are ready to submit , log back into your profile and fill in the mandatory items.
- Attach the completed application proposal and the budget form
- Submit (Please note after submission, no more changes can be made)
- Please do send any other queries you have to firstname.lastname@example.org
Once a Project is selected, the Centre Director will facilitate the formation of an Oversight Board for each Project, which includes the faculty PI and his/her research staff, assigned Catalyst (i.e. volunteer business expert) and in some instances business students as part of an iTeam project. The Project will be managed to meet milestones established in the Grant approval process to de-risk the technology, produce prototypes, conduct proof-of-concept experiments and devise a go-to-market strategy. The Centre creates a “safe” environment for faculty entrepreneurs and their postdocs/graduate students to accelerate the product development, with business assistance from the Catalyst and Centre Director. Much of the research will occur at the faculty PI’s laboratory but where appropriate, prototyping and other aspects of product development may be contracted to third parties. Funds may be used to support expert consultants or to perform market studies. The Centre may utilize the resources and capability of the Polytechnics to produce prototype devices. All grant recipients are strongly recommended to attend the 3-day commercialisation Bootcamp conducted by SMART/MIT.
The figure below is a functional diagram showing the flow of project development within the Centre. First (item 1), the Project and PI (with his/her technical team) are selected.
The Project is then mentored by the Centre with the PI, Catalyst and in some instances the Centre Director forming the Oversight Board(Item 2). The Catalyst is selected from a pool of volunteers established by the Centre who has expert business knowledge in the particular technological area. (Specific guidelines will be followed by the Catalyst to avoid conflicts of interest.) The Catalyst works with the PI and his research team to define the go-to-market strategy. For some Projects, an i-Team of students assists in defining the go-to-market strategy. The PI and his/her technical team utilize the Grant funds to meet technical milestones to de-risk the technology. The Centre Director, aided in some instances by a Project Manager, will oversee this process. The Oversight Board for each Project will meet quarterly and review the Projects progress; progress will be reported to the Centre Director. When appropriate, other networking will be promoted with the MIT Entrepreneurial Cluster (possible presentation at the Deshpande "IdeaStream" event, or participate in discussion at the MIT Enterprise Forum, or be mentored by the MIT Venture Mentoring Service). The local VC community will also be introduced to the Project and semi-annual reports will be provided to the Centre’s Advisory/Selection Committee.
The plan is to accelerate the Project to the stage of maturity where a company can be formed or a licensee identified (item 3). With ample networking opportunities fostered by the Centre in both Boston and Singapore, it is hoped that a lead VC and a candidate CEO can be identified. The lead VC and CEO will work together to form and finance the company under mentorship from the Centre. (The candidate CEO may be resident for a short time in the Centre waiting for the Company to be formed).
The IP protection, ownership and commercialization for Innovation Grant funded projects are summarized below:
Background IP which refers to IP developed and reduced to practice before the Innovation Grant funding will be owned by the “Home Institution”. The “Home Institution” is the employer of the particular faculty inventor.
New IP created or reduced to practice using the Innovation Grant funds, will be owned by the Home Institutions. (If, for example, a faculty from NTU is the sole inventor, the invention will be owned by NTU).
Patent Management and Commercialization. If NUS, SMART, or MIT is the patent holder of the New IP, the New IP will be managed and commercialized by NUS ILO. For all other cases, the New IP will be managed and commercialized by the Patent and Licensing Office of the Home Institution.
Royalty Split. The relative split in royalty between Background and New IP will be negotiated between the various parties. The share of royalty for the New IP will be split according to a formula set in the Master Grant Agreement from the National Research Foundation as amended 8th November 2013 (a copy of the relevant sections of the Master Grant Agreement is available upon request) and by policies of the relevant Home Institution.
The "Catalyst Program" was established to nurture and mentor entrepreneurs. "Catalysts" are selected from the local Singapore business community who have expertise working with emerging technology companies. The "Catalysts" are volunteers and are involved in one or at most two Projects and will act as a volunteer member of i-Teams to develop a go-to-market scheme for his/ her particular project. The Catalysts will meet with each Grant funded research team monthly and help establish a go-to-market strategy.