For further information on both AmplifyMass and MassCEC's Catalyst Programs, please refer to the webinar that MassCEC's Technology Development team hosted on August 29, 2019. A PDF version of the slideshow presented in the webinar is available here.
Q: What constitutes a cost share funding request and an adder funding request?
“Cost share support” is defined by this program as grant funding that an applicant is seeking from MassCEC that is required by the prime award. In other words, the prime award is contingent upon the applicant contributing a specified amount of funding, called cost share funding.
“Adder funding” is defined by this program as grant funding that an applicant is seeking from MassCEC that is not required by the prime award, but would be used to expand or enhance the clean energy project scope funded by the prime award. In assessing requests for adder funding, MassCEC places special consideration on what the project will be able to accomplish with the adder funding that it wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Adder funding budget items should clearly and directly expand or enhance additional clean energy project outcomes and be linked to project work (i.e. not used for overhead). The AmplifyMass application form allows space for adder funding justification.
Q: Can the AmplifyMass grant be used to cover overhead costs?
MassCEC generally prefers for AmplifyMass funding to go directly to project development costs (such as equipment purchases, hiring of PhD students, etc.). However, it is understood that requested overhead coverage is often unavoidable, particularly for university applicants where there are institutional overhead policies in place. Therefore, the AmplifyMass grant can be used to cover overhead costs in certain situations. The appropriate percentage of the grant allocated to overhead costs varies depending on the institution and can be negotiated with MassCEC after application submission. For company applicants, on the other hand, MassCEC would expect the request to cover overhead far less frequent, and the amount requested to be a much lower percentage of the total grant.
Q: What does the “significant Massachusetts presence” requirement mean?
If you are an academic institution, you must be a Massachusetts academic institution. If you are a company, you must have a majority of the following located in Massachusetts (i.e. 3 out of 4, or 2 out of 3 if only 3 are applicable):
Primary sales & marketing
Primary manufacturing operations
Primary research & development operations
If you are a Massachusetts-based academic institution or company currently working as a subcontractor under a prime award to a different entity, you are still eligible to apply for AmplifyMass.
Q: What is the definition of "clean energy"?
MGL c. 23J s. 1 defines this as “...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...”
Q: What is the amount of an AmplifyMass award?
Awards range between $5,000 and $300,000. Awards that are not tied to a specific prime awarding agency are capped at $100,000.
Applicants are encouraged to ask for what they need with the expectation that they may not receive the full amount requested, based on availability of MassCEC funds. MassCEC has internal guidelines for funding based on project parameters, including leveraged funds, which are used to determine the amount of funding a project may be awarded. We have created this tool that applicants may use to better estimate their eligible funding amount based on their project parameters.
Q: How long after submitting my AmplifyMass application should I expect a response from MassCEC?
MassCEC employs a diligent review process of each application, in the order that they are received. MassCEC will respond shortly after submission to confirm receipt of your application. Depending on the volume of applications, the review process can take a variable amount of time depending on the subscription to the program (up to six months). MassCEC may contact you sooner if there are questions on your application. Please keep this timeline in mind when applying to AmplifyMass in order to meet your cost share commitments related to your prime award.
Q: How long does the AmplifyMass application take to complete?
The AmplifyMass application is intentionally designed to leverage the prime award application and is therefore very straightforward. The application form is 5 pages and should take no more than 2-3 hours to complete. Please do not exceed the space limits provided in the application form.
Q: At what point in my prime award application process should I apply to AmplifyMass?
The ideal time to apply is concurrently with or soon after you have submitted your prime award application. While we are happy to review draft prime award applications and concept papers, we cannot commit to funding any proposal for which we have not reviewed the full application as submitted to the prime award agency. Applicants are welcome to apply for AmplifyMass at any point in their prime award review process up until the execution of a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with the prime award agency. However, applicants are advised to keep in mind that the AmplifyMass review process can take up to six months.
Q: If the prime agency (such as the Department of Energy, ARPA-E, etc.) discouraged me from submitting a full application, am I still eligible to apply for AmplifyMass?
Yes. As long as your concept paper was not deemed non-compliant or non-responsive, you are eligible to apply.
Q: If my concept paper or application was rejected by the prime award as non-compliant or non-responsive, am I still eligible for AmplifyMass?
Q: If I did not submit an application to AmplifyMass prior to receiving award notification, can I still apply to AmplifyMass?
You are still eligible to apply, provided that you have not yet executed a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with the prime awarding agency. You should fill out the AmplifyMass Application and provide the required attachments. Bear in mind, however, that awards are subject to availability, so the sooner you are able to apply, the more likely you are of receiving a cost-share award.
Q: I am currently conducting an ARPA-E or other project under a federal grant. Am I eligible to apply for AmplifyMass?
No. Only applicants who have not yet executed a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with the prime awarding agency are eligible to apply. If you are considering applying for a plus-up award or a new award, however, you may be eligible. See question below.
Q: If I received an AmplifyMass award in the past, am I eligible to apply again if I receive another prime award or an increased prime award?
Yes. If you have received a new award for a unique project, you are eligible to apply for AmplifyMass. Award selection will be subject to satisfactory performance under the previous AmplifyMass award.
Q: If I am applying to the prime awarding agency for plus-up funds to an existing award, am I eligible to apply for AmplifyMass? What if I received an AmplifyMass award for my original project?
You are eligible to apply, provided that you have not yet executed a Cooperative Agreement or similar agreement with the prime awarding agency specifically for the plus-up funds. You should follow the same application process as if you were applying for a new award. You will only be eligible for AmplifyMass funds to support the plus-up project, not the portion of the project which has already been awarded.
If you received an AmplifyMass award for your original project and are now applying for a plus-up project, you may be eligible to apply to AmplifyMass again. However, the sum of your AmplifyMass awards for both the original award and the plus-up award may not exceed the cap of $500,000.
Q: If I receive a letter of consideration for AmplifyMass but am not selected by the prime awarding agency, am I still eligible to receive an AmplifyMass award?
No. Only applicants who have been notified that they have been selected for an award are eligible to receive an AmplifyMass award from MassCEC. AmplifyMass awards are contingent upon the prime award.
Q: I work for a non-profit institution in Massachusetts and am applying for a prime award. Am I eligible for AmplifyMass?
Yes. Non-profit institutions based in Massachusetts can apply to AmplifyMass under the same rules as academic research teams.
Can I apply for AmplifyMass prior to applying to a specific Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA)?
In most cases, you must apply for cost share support related to a specific Funding Opportunity Announcement from a federal or non-federal prime awarding agency. However, exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Q: How does MassCEC decide who receives AmplifyMass awards?
Applications undergo a review process that evaluates the following criteria:
Technical merit and innovativeness;
Potential impact to the energy sector or to greenhouse gas emissions;
Potential impact to the Commonwealth;
Value of MassCEC support; and
General programmatic fit in the context of the pool of active applications.
This review process entails several steps. MassCEC first ensures that applicants meet the program’s eligibility criteria. Applications are then submitted to subject-matter experts for technical review. Finally, applications are surveyed by an internal award selection committee to identify the most compelling proposals among the competitive AmplifyMass pool, based on the criteria listed above.
Q: What does it mean that the AmplifyMass awards are “subject to availability?”
Each fiscal year, a specified dollar amount is budgeted for AmplifyMass. Once that budget has been spent, no further awards can be made. The budget is subject to annual review and renewal. While program staff endeavors to ensure that budget is available throughout the entire fiscal year, MassCEC cannot guarantee program availability at all times. In the case that a large number of MA-based awardees are awarded in the same application round, MassCEC reserves the right to reduce the amount of each individual award in order to provide awards to a larger number of awardees.
Q: What is a “Total Addressable Carbon” analysis?
AmplifyMass applicants are asked to provide an analysis of the “Total Addressable Carbon” (TAC) of their project. The TAC is an estimate of the greenhouse gas emissions that can be reduced, avoided, or remediated assuming wide adoption of a technology or practice. The TAC analysis is designed to give both the applicant and MassCEC a strong sense of what sources of greenhouse gas emissions the proposed project would impact, and how large those potential impacts could be.
Applicants are encouraged to leverage credible public data sources such as the United States Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory (especially for greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide), the EPA's Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculator, and others. Analyses may be based on a state-wide, national, or international framing. Applicants should seek primarily to identify the total carbon emissions currently associated with the sector targeted by their technology or practice (for example, transportation or residential heating). For example, a technology to reduce the cost of solar panels would impact the approximately 1,250 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emitted every year from electricity generation in the United States.
To the greatest extent possible, applicants should also seek to estimate an “optimistically plausible” amount of those emissions that could be reduced, avoided, or remediated given widespread adoption of the proposed solution. Order-of-magnitude estimates are acceptable, as the goal of the analysis is primarily conceptual rather than precise. Applicants are encouraged to consider both direct and indirect effects as appropriate and to explicitly describe assumptions, especially assumptions related to cost reductions or barriers to adoption.
Acceptable alternatives to a TAC analysis include an avoided-energy analysis for energy efficiency technologies and LCOE reduction analyses for energy generation technologies.
Q: If I’m an out-of-state university, can I still apply to AmplifyMass for projects in Massachusetts?
No. Only Massachusetts universities can apply as a university research team for AmplifyMass funding.
Q: Can I have partners on my application that are based outside Massachusetts?
Yes, applicants are encouraged to partner with other entities (universities, companies, etc.) both within and outside the Commonwealth. However, the award will only be disbursed to the Massachusetts-based organization and all agreements will be signed with the Massachusetts-based organization. The Massachusetts-based organization must be playing a significant role in the ARPA-E project and MassCEC reserves the right to use its discretion in making this determination.
Q: I am planning on submitting multiple concept papers to a FOA on different technologies. Am I eligible to apply to AmplifyMass for every concept paper?
Yes, provided that each concept paper is for a unique and distinct technology, and meets the clean energy definition, Massachusetts presence, and small business eligibility requirements described in the solicitation, individual entities may submit multiple applications to AmplifyMass.
I am an awardee of another MassCEC program, such as Catalyst or InnovateMass. Am I eligible to apply to AmplifyMass?
Yes, provided that the scope of work being proposed under the AmplifyMass project is unique from that conducted under the other MassCEC award and does not replicate work that MassCEC has previously funded, you are eligible to apply. However, MassCEC reserves the right to disqualify applications which have not been compliant with previous MassCEC awards.
Q: Can I submit an application for the same project to both AmplifyMass and another MassCEC program, such as Catalyst or InnovateMass?
Yes, provided that you have not been awarded funds under another MassCEC program for the same scope of work. Receipt of a prime grant is required for a project to be eligible for AmplifyMass, however the presence of additional outside funding does not disallow a project from eligibility for InnovateMass or Catalyst. MassCEC has no restrictions against considering applications for the same project in multiple programs but will only award a project under at most one program. Because AmplifyMass has a rolling review schedule whereas InnovateMass and Catalyst operate on twice-yearly schedules, applicants are encouraged to consider both programmatic fit and timeline considerations when determining which program(s) to apply under.