MassCEC's Catalyst and Diversity in Cleantech - Early-Stage (DICES) Programs provide 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 OPEN.

 

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. 

In addition to the above eligibility criteria, applicants to the DICES Program must verify they are eligible as a woman - or minority- owned startup. See RFP Section V for details. 

This program is currently OPEN.

For full program details, please refer to:

The Fall 2021 Catalyst RFP. 

To apply, please visit the online application portal and submit all of the required materials. 

  • To apply via the online application portal, you will be prompted to create an account. 
  • You are able to start an application, save it, and return to it later. 
  • Once you submit, you are unable to edit it. 
  • Proposals are due October 4, 2021 and you must have submitted an application on or before October 4th at midnight in order to be considered.

An informational webinar will be held on August 25th from 2 - 3pm EDT. Register here. 

Deadline to Submit Questions September 9, 2021
MassCEC to Post Responses to Questions September 11, 2021
Proposals Due October 4, 2021 (by midnight)
Applicants Notified of Finalist Status November 2021
Finalists' Presentations Week of November 29, 2021
Finalists Notified of Award Status January 2022

 

For any questions, please view the recording of the informational webinar (view a pdf of the slides here) or email companycatalyst@masscec.com

The Programs are 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 to questions submitted during the fall 2021 RFP round:

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.   

                                                                                                         

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.

 

Should I include revenues in the funding requirements? 

On page 5 of the pdf RFP, it does include “revenues”. So yes, the answer is that revenues are included.

 

Can a project have external collaborators who will provide materials or other technical support to build or test the prototype?

Yes. But MassCEC Catalyst funding will be used to support the work conducted by the applicant and not the external partners. External partners can contribute whatever they wish to the project.

 

Do collaborators need to be located in MA?  

No, collaborators do not need to be in MA.

 

Do customers and investors need to be located in MA? 

No, customers and investors do not need to be located in MA. 

 

Do I have to obtain the full SDO certification prior to application?

Section V. of the RFP states that interested applicants only need to submit the 30-second self-assessment at the time of application to the Catalyst and DICES programs.

If your application is selected for an award, then you will need to become fully certified, which can take up to 30 days but, there is time between award notification and contracting for you to attain that certification. More information can be found in Section V. of the RFP.

 

Would you like applicants to submit their certification from SDO Mass into their application?

Yes, you can include the SDO certification as an attachment in the application portal. There is a place within the application portal that prompts you to upload the SDO certification (whether that be the self-assessment or the full certification, either works).

 

Where can I find the results page for the SDO self-assessment? What does it look like?

On slide 20 of the attached webinar slide deck, you can see an example of a screenshot of the “results page” from the SDO self-assessment. It’s basically just the last page that pops up after you completed the self-assessment. The “results page” includes the recommendation for you to pursue full certification for woman- or minority- owned business enterprise.