The Innovation Grant enables faculty and their research team to pursue exciting new avenues of market-driven research and participate in programs that will help accelerate innovations toward commercialization. The funding will be used to: (1) de-risk the technology by developing prototypes or conducting proof-of-concept experiments; and (2) determine a go-to-market strategy for the products or services being developed. The end point of the grant funding would be a well defined business opportunity attractive to start-up company formation or licensing to a commercial firm. The Innovation Grant and support from the Innovation Centre will assist faculty to move their discovery from the laboratory to the marketplace. 

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 rewarded.

Along with funding, the grant recipients receive:
- Support through a Catalyst Program, including customer contacts, business advice, market input, and IP strategy.
- Opportunity to participate in i-Teams, cross campus courses that involve highly qualified teams of pre-screened graduate students for Innovation Centre projects.
- Exposure through SMART Innovation Centre events and opportunities to connect with investors, entrepreneurs, the business community, and the media as appropriate.

We encourage you to apply if you have an idea that you believe could address a significant market need if successful, and you could achieve a proof-of-concept or prototype in less than 18 months.

Eligibility 

1)     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) 
2)     Researchers who are employees of SMART 
3)     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. 

Application Process

1)     Fill out the application form 
2)     Submit forms to candy@smart.mit.edu by closing date

Application Forms
Microsoft Word (.doc)
 
Budget Template
The budget template must be completed and submitted together with the application form:
For MIT Applicants : Excel Sheet 
For Singapore Applicants : Word Doc
 
Project Report Template
For all Award Projects : Word Doc 
 
For more specific questions regarding the application, contact : candy@smart.mit.edu 

Grant Administration

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.

Figure : Accelerator of Innovation

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).

Innovation Grant - Intellectual Property (IP) and Commercialization
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.