MassCEC's Catalyst Program provides grants of up to $65,000 to researchers and early-stage companies looking to demonstrate initial prototypes of their clean energy technologies. 

This program is currently CLOSED.

 

Eligible applicants must be either a principal Investigator (“PI”) at a Massachusetts-based nonprofit research institution or a Massachusetts-based early stage clean energy company with no more than $1 million in combined financing, grant funding and revenues within the past 5 years and have four or fewer full-time equivalent employees. Student teams with a faculty member or researcher who will act as the PI and will be responsible for the management of the grant and institution’s reporting requirement are also eligible to apply. 

This program is currently CLOSED.

For full program details, please refer to:

The Spring 2021 Catalyst RFP

To apply, please download the application form and submit it to companycatalyst@masscec.com.

The slides from our most recent Quarterly Funding Opportunities webinar for InnovateMass and Catalyst can be found here.

Deadline to Submit Questions March 7, 2021
MassCEC to Post Responses to Questions March 9, 2021
Proposals Due March 26, 2021 (by midnight)
Applicants Notified of Finalist Status Late April 2021
Finalists' Presentations Week of May 10, 2021
Finalists Notified of Award Status June 2021

 

For any questions, please attend the webinar or email companycatalyst@masscec.com.

The Catalyst Program is jointly administered by MassCEC and MassVentures with the primary intent of stimulating the commercialization of clean energy technologies developed in the Commonwealth. Awarded funds are used to demonstrate the feasibility of technologies in specific industry applications in order to obtain increased industry and investor interest. Recipients must use funding for projects that move their technologies towards commercialization.  This includes gathering initial data to demonstrate proof of concept, how the technology compares to existing technologies and competitive advantages of the technology or to develop a prototype for the technology.

Key Goals:

Advance innovation: Provide early-stage, clean energy researchers and startup companies with grant awards and business mentoring to transform new discoveries from the research stage into commercially viable technologies.

Recent Awardees:

 

Round 20 Awardees (Fall 2019)

Project

Project Location

 

Gencores LLC

Light-Weight Core Materials for Light-Duty Vehicles

Cambridge

Gridtwin Energy

Software for Renewables Interconnection

Cambridge

Multiscale Systems Inc.

Light-Weight Material for Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Worcester

Northeastern University

Floating Offshore Wind Turbine Structures

Boston

Verdox Inc.

Carbon Capture Battery

Winchester

Flux Marine Ltd.

Electric Marine Propulsion

Boston

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Energy Efficient Membranes for Industrial Applications

Cambridge

Round 19 Awardees (Spring 2019)

 

 

Heat Pump Control Co.

Smart Control for Heat Pump Applications

Northborough

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Ultra-clear and Insulating Aerogel for Energy Efficient Windows

Cambridge

Techstyle Materials, Inc.

Development of a Multifunctional Material Coating Prototype

Somerville

Transport Phenomena

Compliant Vapor Chamber to Enable High-Temperature Coolant in Data Centers

Boston

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Enzymatic Self-Healing Concrete

Worcester

MA Maritime Academy

Numerical and Experimental Research on Mooring Systems for Offshore Wind

Buzzards Bay

Pioneer Valley Coral & Natural Science Institute

Feasibility Study of Advanced Wastewater Treatment via Wireless Electrodes

Amherst

 

Since the program began, Catalyst has awarded over $6.3 million to 124 projects that have gone on to raise more than $244 million in follow-on funding and resulted in 112 new pieces of intellectual property applications (IP). One out of every 4 university awardees has created a new company.

There are several resources available to startups in Massachusetts, in addition to MassCEC grants. If your company is interested in learning more about the region's accelerators and incubators, read more here. 

 

Responses recently submitted questions:

The RFP asks about specific market size information. How specific should this information be in this proposal? Have previous submissions completed a thorough market analysis?

In general, be as specific as you can. Applicants should demonstrate that they have a realistic understanding of the target market. The depth of this market analysis varies by applicant. Oftentimes, people will undergo a more thorough market analysis under the Catalyst program in parallel with their prototype development, and Mass is happy to support those endeavors under the grant, should you be awarded.                                                                                                                 

 

If an applicant already has a product that is out there in a customer segment, and is now hoping to adapt and redesign the product to go into a different customer segment, would the applicant be eligible?

This is eligible. Please include an explanation of the status of the existing product and the need for the redesign. Prove the value and the need for the redesign as a standalone market and product.

 

How should applicants quantify carbon reductions in the proposal?

Applicants are encouraged to use tools such as the CRANE tool, or other 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. Internally at MassCEC, we do not use one specific tool to verify each person’s claims, we look at the proposal as a whole and look at the sources that the applicant used to generate their calculations.

 

Will MassCEC make awards according to the best ideas or the geography of the applicant pool?

MassCEC will look at the cohort as a whole and award the strongest proposals. The internal and external judges will provide scores and comments to MassCEC to assist in this determination.

 

How many candidates are selected?

MassCEC typically receives 25-35 proposals per round. Up to 14 of those are invited to pitch as finalists, and then up to 7 will be selected for an award.

 

How precise does the budget estimation need to be knowing that there are sometimes significant unknowns?

It is advised that applicants do their best to provide an accurate estimation at the time of the proposal. If selected and the budget has changed, that can be discussed during contracting.

 

Do we need letters of support from customers and investors?

It is not a requirement, if you submit without letters of support you are not considered ineligible. However, it is only going to bolster your proposal to have those letters of support. If you are working with a partner, a letter form that partner in your proposal would validate that the partner is supportive.

 

Can Catalyst be used as a part of a research project? Or does it have to be a commercial product?

This is a prototyping program, the goal of this program is to result in a prototype, whether that’s an alpha or beta. We do understand that research often accompanies the development of that prototype, however projects resulting in only a white paper will not be as competitive.

 

When will we know if we are awarded with Catalyst?

Applicants are notified of finalist status by November 20th. If selected as a finalist, pitches will be the week of December 14th. Grantees will be notified in January of 2021.