Catalyst and DICES

The Challenge: Advance Research-Stage Technologies to Commercial Viability

A key step in advancing a new technology beyond the research stage is to develop and demonstrate a prototype. Funding for prototyping is often difficult to obtain.

About Catalyst

The Catalyst Program provides grants of up to $75,000 to researchers and early-stage companies looking to demonstrate initial prototypes of their climate technologies. Catalyst is jointly administered by MassCEC and MassVentures with a goal of stimulating the commercialization of climate technologies developed in the Commonwealth. Specifically, the program is designed to demonstrate the feasibility of transforming new ideas from the research stage to commercially viable technologies to increase industry and investor interest. All awardees gain access to a vast network of partners, expert local market and policy insights, and mentoring from MassCEC and MassVentures, while all finalists receive complimentary pitch coaching and business mentoring.

About DICES

In parallel with Catalyst, MassCEC and MassVentures will award up to three additional grants of up to $75,000 each for projects led by applicants who are underrepresented in the Climatetech industry or faced economic barriers entering the environmental or entrepreneurial landscape.

Status
Open
Award Potential

$75,000

Application Deadline

March 14, 2024

Questions? Contact

Funding Schedule

The Catalyst/DICES program offers funding twice per year. Please view the schedule for the upcoming Spring 2024 application process.

All dates indicated in the schedule are subject to change at MassCEC's discretion.

Process Step Timing

Application period opens

January 26, 2024

Optional Webinar

February 8, 2024

Deadline to submit questions

February 23, 2024

MassCEC posts responses to questions

March 1, 2024

Applications due

March 14, 2024

Applicants notified of finalist status

April 23, 2024

Finalists' presentations

Week of May 20, 2024

Finalists notified of award status

July 2024

Who's Eligible

Catalyst and DICES are for technologies that are at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 2-4, according to the TRL Calculator developed by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority.

Eligible applicants include principal investigators at Massachusetts-based nonprofit research institutions or Massachusetts-based early-stage climatetech companies.  

For DICES, applicants must also fill out section II on the application form. The response to the DICES question should demonstrate how the applicant is underrepresented in the climatetech industry or has experienced economic barriers entering the environmental or entrepreneurial landscape. More information about this process can be found in Section V of the Catalyst Request For Proposals (RFP).

For full Program details, please refer to the Catalyst RFP.

Apply

Application Process

For full Program details, please refer to the Catalyst RFP.

Applications must be submitted via the MassVentures portal. 

For any questions, please email companycatalyst@masscec.com.

Request for Proposals

Learn About DICES and Catalyst

MassCEC hosted a webinar about the Catalyst and DICES programs on February 8th. The webinar includes a brief overview of MassCEC and MassVentures' programs, followed by more detail about Catalyst and DICES program and other funding opportunities.

FAQs

Last updated
February 9, 2024

1. Is it possible to apply if I have secured funding from other sources already?

Yes, you are still eligible to apply if you have secured funding from elsewhere. Start-ups and companies are required to not receive more than Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000) in combined debt or equity financing, grant funding, and revenues over the past five (5) years. There are no financial limitations for academic institutions or non-profits.  

We recommend reviewing section VI of the RFP to view full eligibility requirements.

2. Does the project or start-up have to fit within the four MassCEC focus areas?

No, the project or start-up does not have to fit within the four focus areas. We also accept projects that provide or enable significant decarbonization.  

We recommend reviewing Section I of the RFP to read more.  

3. How do I know if I am eligible for Catalyst funding?

An eligible applicant must be one of the following:  

  • A Principal Investigator (“PI”) at a Massachusetts-based nonprofit research institution. 
  • A Massachusetts-based early-stage climatetech company that has four or fewer full-time equivalent employees. 
  • A student (or group of students) led by a faculty member or researcher who will act as the PI.  

We recommend reviewing section VI of the RFP to view full eligibility requirements.

Additional Resources

The Massachusetts Founder Network aims give Massachusetts startup founders equitable access to resources that will help their companies grow.

Learn about Incubators and Accelerators in Massachusetts.

 

Recent Awardees

Since program inception, Catalyst has awarded nearly $8.5 million to 157 awardees, who have gone on to raise more than $449 million in follow-on funding and submit 159 patent applications. One out of every four university awardees has created a new company.

Lithios
Environmentally Friendly Advanced Lithium Extraction

Lithios is developing an environmentally friendly, low-cost electrochemical process, Advanced Lithium Extraction (ALE), which aims to revolutionize global lithium production by enabling access to untapped, low-grade brine resources.  

Aloft Systems Inc.
Wind Propulsion Unit for Ships

Aloft Systems Inc. is developing a self-contained Wind Propulsion Unit that will provide energy for ship propulsion without modifying the ship.

Stepwise
Cost-Saving Electromechanical Box

Stepwise is developing an electromechanical box that bypasses a costly electrical panel service upgrade via energy management, which will help enable residential electrification.

Carbix Corporation
Advanced Photo-Bio Reactor

Carbix Corporation is developing an advanced photo-bio reactor, the Carbix X-2, that captures point source emitter CO2 and transforms those emissions into raw materials, which can be used in a wide range of products, specifically building materials.  

Prisere LLC
Climate Risk Assessment

Prisere LLC is developing software to assess the reduction in insured risks to residential and commercial buildings caused by climate related events.

LumaSort
Glass-Sorting Artificial Intelligence

LumaSort is developing a robot that uses AI to efficiently sort glass from debris and by color. High speed cameras are used along with high precision air jets to select glass a single piece at a time, as desired by the glass manufacturer customer.  

University of Massachusetts Amherst (PI Lackner)
Autonomous Floating Wind Turbine

University of Massachusetts Amherst (PI Lackner) is developing the Wind Trawler, an autonomous, unmoored floating wind turbine. 

Arrakis Materials
Carbon Dioxide Sequestration Process

Arrakis Materials Inc. (DICES) is developing a geo-inspired carbon dioxide sequestration process to produce carbon-negative concrete aggregates with olivine, a cheap and abundant mineral

Florrent
Battery-Paired Ultracapacitors

Florrent (DICES) is developing ultracapacitors that pair with batteries which will enable utilities to reliably deliver power from renewable sources.

Additional Funding Opportunities