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 and water technologies. 

This program is 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.

Spring 2019 Catalyst Solicitation 

Spring 2019 Catalyst Proposal Template

Catalyst Program One-Pager

Key Dates and Proposal Support:

The application period opens on January 28, 2019, and proposals are due on March 14, 2019 before 4:00pm EST. Finalists will be invited to pitch their idea in May 2019, and winners will be notified in June 2019.

MassCEC held their quarterly webinar series featuring the Catalyst Program, as well as MassCEC's AmplifyMass program, on February 26, 2019. Click here to watch the video online. You can also access the presentations slides here

The Catalyst Program is jointly administered by MassCEC and the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) with the primary intent of stimulating the commercialization of clean energy and water innovation 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.

Since the program began, Catalyst has awarded over $5 million to 107 projects that have gone on to raise more than $155 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.
  1. Can organizations outside of Massachusetts apply with their technologies?
    • The applicant may have partners outside of Massachusetts, however the entity that will be contracting with MassCEC must be based in Massachusetts, whether at a research institution or small business or company.
  2. Would you be able to help provide connections with potential customers to receive product feedback before writing the grant application?
    • Our ultimate goal is to facilitate clean energy and clean energy partnerships within the state, while we cannot ensure the level of feedback you may receive, you may send inquiries to companycatalyst@masscec.com and we will do our best to make those connections.
  3. What is the typical duration of the Catalyst program?
  4. If I am studying at an out-of-state institution, but I’m an MA resident, am I eligible to apply? Or, if I’m studying at an out-of-state institution, but my start-up has founders that are MA residents, can we apply?
    • All companies and research institutions must be MA-based for the Catalyst Program. If you were going to start a company in MA and license the technology from an institution outside of MA, that would be acceptable. The award contract needs to be with a MA entity – either MA company or MA research institution. The address of the company matters, but your address of residency does not.
  5. Do solar applications count as clean energy?
    • Yes, but we want to see projects that are going to reduce emissions compared to business as usual. For example, if your proposal is along the lines of putting solar panels in a place where in the people were not previously able to access electricity, then that is not necessarily a compelling emissions reduction case--- because these types of projects do not avoid GHG emissions that otherwise would be released. A strong applicant demonstrates emission reductions compared to business as usual.
  6. What level of confidential information should I share with MassCEC?
    • MassCEC and MTTC are public agencies subject to public records laws. If we receive a public record request, we are obligated to share anything we have received via email or have on file. In general, we do not enter into non-disclosure agreements. Applicants should do their best to explain their technology as clearly as possible so that we understand the full scale of technical merit each proposal entails but should refrain from sending us confidential or proprietary information. 
  7. Does the title page count towards the page limit for the application?
    • No, the first page does not count. The proposal text should not extend 11 pages and the attachments should not exceed 5 pages.
  8. Is it possible for someone at MassCEC to review my application prior to the due date?
    • No. In order to maintain a fair program process, we cannot allow any applications prior to the due date. If you have a specific question we are more than happy to talk to you about it via email or at our Catalyst Program office hours (see “How Do I Apply” section on our website).
  9. Can two groups submit an application together? Do all partners need to be based in MA?
    • We encourage partnerships and collaborations and not all partners/team members need to be based in MA. However, the primary applicant does need to be MA-based. You also still need to follow all of the other program guidelines. For example, companies need to have less than 4 members on the team and would still have to have less than an acquired $1 million in financing and revenues.
  10. Does all the grant money have to be spent within the state of MA?
    • No, although that is our preference. All checks have to be sent out to a MA-based entity.  But it is acceptable to have a special testing or manufacturing center that is outside of MA or outside of the country.
  11. Can I submit an application for the same project under multiple MassCEC programs (i.e. Catalyst and Amplify)?
    • Yes, you are welcome to submit the same project to multiple MassCEC programs as long as that project is eligible for each of those programs. However, it’s very rare for MassCEC to give multiple grants to the same entity concurrently. Indicate which one is your preference otherwise it is up to us to decide what we think is the best fit.
  12. Do applicants need to submit "Attachment 1: Authorized Applicant's Signature and Acceptance Form" with the proposal and, if so, does it count against the 16 page limit?
    1. Yes, applicants do need to submit the Authorized Applicant's Signature Form.  And no, it does not count against the 16 page limit.  

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