Funding opportunities

The James and Patricia  Anderson Engineering Ventures Institute is pleased to announce that we are accepting applications for funding projects leading to the commercialization of engineering technologies and innovations. We welcome both new project applications and applications for continuting funding for projects funded in previous rounds. To indicate your interest in Anderson Institute funding opportunities please complete this brief online interest form.

Applications will be accepted from faculty and students. Teams that include a Technical Lead, an Entrepreneurial Lead, and a Commercialization Mentor are strongly encouraged.

The Institute invites proposals to advance the commercialization or readiness for commercialization of a technology or innovation. Suitable objectives include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Market research to assess the commercial potential of possible products or services based on the innovation or technology
  • Proof-of-concept development and demonstration that a product or service, based on the technology or innovation, has the potential to meet market needs
  • Market research to determine the product/service capabilities needed to break into the target market segment, and implications for the technology or innovation
  • Engineering development to achieve performance objective and meet form-fit-function requirements for a commercial product or service
  • Construction of a functional prototype suitable to test in a surrogate environment
  • Independent testing in a surrogate environment
  • Engineering to overcome deficiencies identified during surrogate environment testing
  • Construction of a commercial prototype suitable to test in the market
  • Market testing the commercial prototype
  • Final development of the initial product or service
  • Marketing and market development
  • Developing or improving production, distribution and customer support
  • Expansion into new markets

Projects involving basic research are discouraged. Projects involving translational research or applied research will be considered. Projects involving commercialization of technologies and innovations that are in advanced technology development or beyond are strongly encouraged. 

  • Basic Research – Systematic study directed toward greater knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and/or observable facts without specific applications toward processes or products in   mind.
  • Applied Research – Systematic study to gain knowledge or understanding necessary to determine the means by which a recognized and specific need may be met.
  • Advanced Technology Development – Development and integration of prototypes for field experiments and tests.

Teams are expected to have a significant participation by students, faculty, staff and/or alumni of the Wayne State University College of Engineering. Teams led by an individual affiliated with the College of Engineering are preferred. Team members can be from outside the College of Engineering and/or outside of Wayne State.

Applications are accepted on a continuous basis. Following is a general timeline for receiving funding from the Anderson Institute. The entire process can take up to 18 months to complete.

  • Informal meetings to discuss the application and award process 
  • Submit initial applications
  • Applications review
  • Application and presentation refinement, working with the Anderson Institute
  • Presentations to the External Advisory Board and funding award decisions
  • Funding decisions/distributions

If you have questions or comments, please email Sorin Draghici or Gary Witus. Please cc Kierstin Fiscus on all email correspondence. 


Funding awards types and levels

The anticipated award levels depend on the stage of commercialization and how the funds will be used to advance the project and overcome obstacles to commercialization. The anticipated funding levels are:

  1. Basic Research: $0
  2. Application Research and Development: $1,000 to $10,000
  3. Commercialization Investigation: $1,000 to $5,000
  4. Commercial Product Development: $5,000 to $25,000
  5. Market Testing and Validation: $5,000 to $25,000
  6. New Commercial Venture Launch : $5,000 to $75,000

This is a funding pipeline. The Anderson Institute can fund an applicant through one, some, or all phases and funding levels above. An applicant becomes eligible for funding at a later level only upon completion of all previous levels. An applicant can enter the funding pipeline above at any stage provided the milestones associated with the earlier stages have been completed. For instance, an applicant may directly request funds for a new commercial venture launch (up to 75K) but they will need to provide in the application evidence that the previous step(s) have been completed, i.e. that a market testing and validation has been performed; that they actually have customers interested in purchasing the new product or service, etc.