MTRAC Frequently Asked Questions

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MTRAC Frequently Asked Questions

Who can submit translational research proposals to the MTRAC for AgBio Innovation Hub?

This program is open to all technologies that are AgBio related. Applicants must be from institutions of higher education, non-profit research centers, and hospital systems in Michigan. Relevant technology must have an invention disclosure filed and have an identified commercial application. Technology should be translational -- this program is not intended to extend basic research.

Is there a matching fund requirement?

Yes. A funding match of 50% is required from applicant institution.

What is the process for submission of proposals?

Proposals will be accepted from investigators at any Michigan public university, non-profit research center and public hospital system. 

MTRAC AgBio Full awards have a proposal deadline in November with a $100K budget max (and a project timeline of up to1 yr). 

MTRAC AgBio Starter awards have a proposal deadline in August and January, with a $25K budget max (and a project timeline of up to 6 mo).

Innovation Challenges (IC are Concept Paper award contests offered periodically by the MTRAC AgBio Innovation Hub.  The IC is intended to assess risk, benefits and potential time required to apply nascent and emerging technologies at qualified institutions to well identified AgBio challenges and opportunities.  The purpose is to encourage technical innovators to consider important opportunities for their technologies in the AgBio market. Awards of $1k to $10k are offered to top scoring Concept Papers.

What are eligibility requirements?

Projects must come from Michigan public universities, public hospital systems & nonprofit research centers and must have 1-to-1 matching funds.  Invention disclosure must be filed with institution of origin prior to submitting a proposal for a Starter or Full grant (it is not required for the MTRAC Innovation Challenge).  Grant funded projects must be focused on translational research.  Innovation Challenge awards focus on the potential to develop an AgBio translational research program around a new technology.

Projects involving already-licensed technologies are ineligible for MTRAC funding.

What is Translational Research?

Translational Research (TR) transitions scientific discoveries from the lab to commercial reality. TR is appropriate for significant innovations with commercial potential that are too early in the technical development cycle to be effectively commercialized.

In university research there can be a broad gap between successful scientific results and the point at which an innovation is sufficiently developed and de-risked for commercial development. This is the gap bridged by the MSU MTRAC AgBio Innovation Hub program.

What kind of projects will be funded?

Researchers can apply for funding to help drive agricultural, nonmedical biotechnology, bioproduction and biomaterials and related technologies, toward commercialization, including but not limited to support for prototype development, milestone setting, animal trials, scale-up studies, crop trials, and verification studies.

Full grant awards range up to $100k. Start grant awards range up to $25k.

How I write a successful proposal?

Interested investigators are asked to schedule a pre-proposal idea consultation with the MTRAC AgBio program. 

In all award applications, please use submission templates.

What are the other Statewide Innovation Hubs?

MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences at University of Michigan

MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Applied Materials at Michigan Tech

MTRAC Innovation Hub for Transportation at University of Michigan

MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing Technologies at Wayne State University 

How are grant awardees selected?

All grant funding decisions are made by an Oversight Committee including entrepreneurs, external industry and venture capital participants.

Contact Information

Questions not answered above? Please contact MSU MTRAC Program Director Joseph Affholter ( or MSU MTRAC Program Manager Weian Ou (, 517.884.1659).