Innovation Catalyst Grant

The Innovation Catalyst Grant is a proof-of-concept program managed by the Innovation & Business Engagement Hub, focused on providing targeted gap funding, training, mentorship, and support to UC Santa Cruz researchers in order to help de-risk and/or validate the implementation and adoption potential of early-stage technology innovations. 

The overall objective of the program is to better position innovations to move out of the university, and catalyze the process leading to transformative change and societal impact.

The Innovation Catalyst Grant helps to fill the longstanding gap in the innovation capital landscape between basic research funding and early-stage investment, while also providing university researchers with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate the pathway to innovation implementation and adoption.

In addition to considering a broad range of technology innovations, for the 2024 cycle, the Innovation Catalyst Grant will also include a special Climate Action Solutions Track focused on technology innovations addressing California’s most pressing climate challenges. Funding of up to $50,000 in direct costs will be available for selected projects, with a total of $300,000 available in the 2024 cycle (up to $100,000 for the core program and up to $200,000 for the Climate Action Solutions Track). 

The 2024 cycle is closed, and our recipients have been announced. Please stay tuned for details for the forthcoming 2025 cycle.

Any UC Santa Cruz employee with principal investigator (PI) status leading an eligible project is welcome to apply. An Innovation Catalyst Grant project must focus on a technology innovation that:

  1. has already advanced beyond the basic research stage at UC Santa Cruz;
  2. has no existing intellectual property license obligations; and
  3. now requires proof-of-concept support to demonstrate implementation, adoption, and
    commercial feasibility. 

Download the Request for Proposals, containing full program details.

Access the InfoReady application page

Please reach out to with any questions.

The Innovation & Business Engagement Hub hosted an online information session on December 15, 2023. 

Last modified: Apr 30, 2024