The InnovateMass program provides up to $250,000 in grant funding and technical support to applicant teams deploying new clean energy technologies or innovative combinations of existing technologies with a strong potential for commercialization. Successful applicants will propose projects that address important energy challenges, help to grow the state’s clean energy economy, and contribute to Massachusetts’ continued clean energy leadership.
Only technologies that have achieved Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 will be considered eligible for an InnovateMass grant.
Application Teams may comprise both public and private entities, including clean energy companies, research and development institutions, academic institutions, state, local, and quasi-governmental agencies, school districts and nonprofits.
Teams must include a technology developer – typically a clean energy company – and a demonstration site/host, with one entity designated as the “Lead Applicant” that will contract directly with MassCEC.
At least one member of the Application Team must be located in Massachusetts. While there is no requirement that the demonstration project site be in Massachusetts, applications will be judged on the project’s projected environmental and economic benefits to the Commonwealth.
MassCEC's InnovateMass program is accepting applications for a special round of the program: Resilient Stations Challenge. More information can be found here.
To stay up to date on when the main application process re-opens, please sign up for our email updates and select Clean Energy Business Opportunities.
If I’ve applied in the past, but was not awarded, may I re-use the same letters of intent from my project partners?
Yes, if the letters are still applicable with any changes you’ve made in your application and if the relationship is still active. The letters should demonstrate an active relationship and cooperation with critical partners, which will last at least the duration of the proposed project. To this end current letters are preferred, as it indicates that the cooperating parties are still in the relevant positions and the relationship is ongoing.
How do I know if my technology qualifies as cleantech under this program?
For the purposes of this RFP, “Clean Energy Companies” are considered to be companies that have “...advanced and applied technologies that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of energy from non-renewable sources, including, but not limited to: energy efficiency; demand response; energy conservation and those technologies powered in whole or in part by the sun, wind, water, biomass, alcohol, wood, fuel cells, any renewable, non-depletable or recyclable fuel...” Definition based on enabling legislation for MassCEC, Chapter 23J, Section 1 of the General Laws of Massachusetts (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleII/Chapter23J/Sect...).
Is salary factored into cost-share?
Yes – direct labor on the project is an eligible cost share expense. Please note that cost share may only be up to 80% in-kind.
Can a company that originated or has offices outside of Massachusetts apply to InnovateMass?
The location of the lead applicant does not matter, as long as at least one member of the Application Team is located in MA. One of the objectives of the InnovateMass Program is to attract business from outside the state, but this is also tied in with our desire that these projects directly benefit citizens of MA and the cleantech industry itself in MA. The project benefits in-state will be strongly weighed in assessing applications.
How many letters of support does a typical applicant have?
On average, the typical applicant provides 1 to 3 letters of support. These are typically from partners directly related to the proposed InnovateMass project, such as a demonstration site or manufacturing partner.
What role does the 3rd party technical support from MassCEC play?
The InnovateMass Technical Assistant (TA) supports awardees through all phases of the project, from workplan development through the final report. They act as the day-to-day project managers representing MassCEC. MassCEC meets with the TA on a monthly basis to get a project status update on each awardee.
Can you provide more detail regarding what you are looking for in the concept paper?
The concept paper should provide enough technical detail to give reviewers a general understanding of how the technology works; however, InnovateMass staff are not looking for a full technical paper. InnovateMass is a commercialization acceleration program; therefore, the concept paper should clearly lay out the commercialization potential of the technology, the key innovation(s) of the technology, and the potential benefits of the demonstration project and/or the technology to the Commonwealth.
InnovateMass was specifically designed to provide targeted, strategic support to companies facing the so called “commercialization valley of death,” a widely-recognized funding gap that exists between early-stage support offered by angel investors and later-stage support historically provided by venture capital and strategic investors.
Funding is made available once a year, typically in the fall. While most InnovateMass funding rounds accept applications covering a wide array of clean energy technologies, the program may issue specific energy challenges to foster innovation within particular sectors that are priority areas for the MassCEC, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Additionally, the program provides third-party project management and technical support to ensure that projects are successful. The program technical consultant will meet regularly with awardees to review workplans, discuss and resolve technical and other project-related barriers and review performance monitoring and evaluation plans.