The Deshpande Center awards two types of grants—Ignition grants and Innovation grants—based primarily on the stage of an MIT investigator’s research. The cumulative value of an initial grant plus subsequent renewals cannot exceed $250,000. Grants are also available for joint projects between MIT and Masdar Institute.
The center awards one-year Ignition Grants of $50,000 to MIT researchers who are doing promising yet still-unproven work on inventions with a potentially large impact. By funding positions for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, a grant allows the team to conduct exploratory experiments, gather data to validate a concept, and/or develop a working prototype of an invention.
Grantees who make significant progress toward validating the commercial viability of their invention are encouraged to apply to renew their funding via an Innovation Grant.
MIT researchers whose inventions are sufficiently developed can bypass the Ignition grant stage and apply directly for a one-year Innovation Grant. This type of grant provides the support needed to refine and enhance an innovation, systematically explore potential markets, and assess the commercial viability of specific applications. The ultimate goal is to attract sufficient investment to commercialize a product and launch a spinout company and/or to license the technology to an existing company.
Initial funding requests for an Innovation Grant cannot exceed $150,000. Total funding for an Innovation Grant cannot exceed $250,000 over the lifetime of the grant (including renewals).