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.

InnovateMass is a rolling program that welcomes applications from across the clean energy technology landscape (including clean energy generation, energy efficiency, energy storage, data for clean energy applications, and other types of technologies as defined in the FAQ section below). 

This program is currently OPEN.

Although the InnovateMass program is rolling, it will operate with quarterly deadlines for proposals. In order to secure your spot in our review pipeline for this quarterly funding cycle, please submit a complete application packet by August 16, 2021.

An informational webinar + Q&A session will be held on August 2, 2021. Register here! 

Applicant teams must include at least one Clean Energy Company (as defined in the FAQ section below) with proprietary technology to be demonstrated, who will serve as the “Lead Applicant”. The Lead Applicant must meet the definition of a small business, as outlined by the United States Small Business Administration’s “Table of Small Business Size Standards”.

Applicant teams must also include one or more demonstration project partner(s) who will provide a host site or sites for the proposed project.

The Lead Applicant does not have to be a Massachusetts-based company, however, if the Lead Applicant is not a Massachusetts-based company, then at least one project site must be in Massachusetts and the proposed technology must fall within one of the four focus areas:

1. High-performance Buildings

2. Clean transportation

3. Offshore wind

4. Net Zero Grid

Lead Applicants must have a headquarters location in the United States.

If the Lead Applicant is a Massachusetts-based company, as defined in the RFP and in the FAQ section below, then the there is no requirement that the project site(s) be in Massachusetts.

Although the InnovateMass program is rolling, it will operate with quarterly deadlines for proposals. In order to secure your spot in our review pipeline for this quarterly funding cycle, please submit a complete application packet by August 16, 2021.

This Program invites participation in a two-part application process: applicants must first submit an application that consists of a completed InnovateMass Application Form and required documentation (the “Application”) that meets the criteria outlined in the Program RFP.

For assistance in forming an applicant team composed of 1) a company looking to demonstrate its clean energy technology and 2) an entity willing to host the demonstration of the technology, the InnovateMass team invites you to join our Slack Channel. This channel is for interested stakeholders to post at any time and share thoughts and ideas on potentially feasible innovative demonstration projects, or how you would like to join as a co-applicant as a host site.

The InnovateMass RFP

To apply, please complete and submit the following documents to innovate@masscec.com

InnovateMass Application Form

Attachment B - Project Workplan Template (Include completed excel file in application email)

Attachment C - TRL/CRL Calculator (Include completed excel file in application email)

Letter(s) of Commitment (see RFP for guidelines)

In the event the application is selected, the applicant will be invited to pitch their proposal to a panel of program judges. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and pitches will be held on a periodic basis. 

Applicants can expect the following approximate schedule:

Process Step

 

Submit application

----------

Applications undergo technical and programmatic review; applicants are notified of finalist status

Within 6 weeks of application submission

Finalists undergo pitch coaching

1.5 to 3 months from application submission

Finalists pitch to panel of judges

2 to 4 months from application submission

Final award decisions made

Approximately 6 weeks from quarterly pitch session

Contracting concludes/projects begin

Approximately 2 months from award notification

 

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

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.

How do I know if my technology qualifies as cleantech under this program?

For the purposes of this program, “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...).

How will I know if my technology will be considered to fall within one of the four focus areas?

Applicants are encouraged to use best judgement when determining if the proposed technology falls within one of the four priority areas. Applicants are encouraged to use pillar area justification in the application materials. Please contact MassCEC with questions. MassCEC will determine if applications and projects are eligible, based on the terms outlined in the RFP.

What qualifies as a Massachusetts based company?

Please refer to section IV. Eligibility of the RFP for complete eligibility requirements. To qualify as a Massachusetts based company, the company must have a majority of its business operations in Massachusetts; whether that be an office, headquarters, incubator space, lab space, manufacturing, or sales and marketing.

What expenditures may the proposed InnovateMass budget be used for?

It is MassCEC’s policy not to compensate for general administration, overhead, or general-purpose expenses including general purpose materials or facilities. Budget items must be:

  • Uniquely associated with the proposed project
  • Justified as to why it is a necessary and reasonable part of the project
  • Incurred after the execution of a grant agreement with MassCEC

All budget items generally fall into one of three categories: 1) eligible cash expenses; 2) eligible cost share expenses; or 3) other budget items ineligible for grant funding or cost share.  It must be clear why each budget item is necessary for the project. 

Please refer to the “Eligible Budget Items” section of the RFP to see a list of expenses that may be included in the InnovateMass project budget.

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.

Are software proposals eligible?

Software proposals are eligible but should endeavor to highlight the novel innovation at the core of the proposed technology.

May entities submit more than one Application and be part of more than one Applicant Team?

Yes, Applicants may submit multiple applications and participate in multiple Applicant Teams.

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 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.

Does winning an AmplifyMass or Catalyst award affect eligibility for InnovateMass?

No, it does not affect eligibility. However, we do not typically award two projects to the same entity at the same time.

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.

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.

Round 8a Awardees (Winter 2019)

Project

Amount Awarded

Total Cost Share

Location

Titan AES

Second-Life Lithium Ion Battery Monitoring System

$250,000

$1,600,000

Salem

Montague Bikes

Park & Pedal Pilot Program

$250,000

$125,000

Cambridge

Onboard Data

The Smart & Connected Campus

$250,000

$138,540

Cambridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Round 7b Awardees

(Summer 2019)

Project Amount Awarded Total Cost Share  Location

Via Science, Inc.

Increasing Grid Resiliency and Adoption of Energy Storage though Data Science and Machine Learning

$145,000

$72,500

Somerville

Medley Thermal, LLC

Dynamic Electrification of Steam Heating

$244,396

$129,205

Somerville

Mori

Novel Pilot Line for Shelf-Life Extension of High-Margin Fresh Produce

$200,000

$100,000

Somerville

Alternate Power Source Norwood Residential Control + Energy Storage System $194,700 $100,300 Mansfield