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.


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.

Award Potential


Application Deadline

Not currently accepting applications

Questions? Contact

Funding Schedule

The Catalyst/DICES program offers funding twice per year. The current round is closed. Stay tuned for the announcement for dates for the next round. 

The dates in the Spring 2024 table are provided as reference for the general timeline.

Spring 2024 (now closed)
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.


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

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.


Last updated
March 3, 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.

4. How do I know if my project is eligible for Catalyst funding?

Our ability to fund your project depends on whether it meets the program's goals and eligibility requirements. The goal of the Program is to stimulate the commercialization of “Climatetech” (as defined in Section VI of the RFP) and related innovation between Technology Readiness Level 2 (technology concept and/or application formulated) and 4 (Component and/or process validation in laboratory environment). If it fits within these technological readiness levels, requires additional research and testing to fully commercialize, and meets the other eligibility requirements outlined in the RFP, we can consider it for funding. We recommend reviewing Section IV and VI of the RFP for full eligibility details.

5. With regard to formatting, may we eliminate the gray/bluish left column, e.g., in the Technology Overview Section?

Other than deleting italic prompts, for consistency, please use the rest of the template as is.

6. If my business is incorporated legally in a different state but all operations are in MA, do I meet the geographic eligibility requirement for the grant?

As long as the company’s primary manufacturing operations (if applicable), headquarters, primary sales and marketing, and primary research and development operations are located in Massachusetts you are eligible. We recommend reviewing Section VI of the RFP for full details.

7. Do interns count as full-time equivalent employees under the Catalyst program? Can I hire any more interns before and/or after the grant application?

Interns do not count toward the full-time equivalent employee eligibility. There are no restrictions for the program on the number of interns you can hire before or after the grant application.

8. Can I include a stipend/salary payment for interns in the budget proposal in the grant?

You can include the intern stipend/payment in the budget of the Catalyst grant proposal. We also have an internship program at MassCEC. You may not charge an intern’s internship hours to a Catalyst or DICEs grant if they are also getting paid through the separate internship funding program. Visit the Clean Energy Internship Program for more information.

9. Am I eligible to apply if I am currently not in MA but have plans to move to MA?

Yes, you are eligible to apply as an out-of-state company, however, you must make note in your proposal of your concrete plans for relocating to MA before the time of award announcement. Your award will be contingent on meeting the MA presence requirement in the RFP.

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, our Catalyst Program has awarded over $10.5 million to 185 awardees, who have gone on to raise more than $852 million in follow-on funding and submit 455 patent applications. One out of every four university awardees has created a new company.

Atacama Bio
Renewable Plastic Alternatives

Atacama is an MIT spinout developing plastic alternatives that can be made cost-effectively from diverse, local biomass. Their flagship offering called WPK is a paper-recyclable, consumer-friendly, zero-carbon packaging solution.

Feon Energy
High Energy Density Lithium Batteries

Feon invents novel electrolyte molecules that unlock next-generation battery chemistries promising higher energy density, enhanced safety, lower costs, and seamless scalability.

Fourier LLC
Thermal Management Solutions

Fourier is a thermal management solutions company that is bringing the extraordinary thermal conductivity of phononic ceramics to the aerospace, renewable energy and EV industries in a massively scalable way!

Kanda Industries
High Performance and Sustainable Composites

Kanda Industries designs and supplies sustainable performance solutions for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Harnessing proprietary natural fiber-based reinforcement technologies, Kanda Industries provides viable, green alternatives in a broad spectrum of high-performance applications. Focused on automotives and motorsports, it is reshaping the composite industry's approach to sustainability.

Haystack Ag
Soil Carbon Measurement

Haystack Ag takes a systems-first approach to reduce soil carbon testing costs for growers and markets while maintaining high-accuracy measurements.

Active Surfaces
Ultra Thin-Film Flexible Solar

Active Surfaces is commercializing light weight and flexible solar panels based on decades of MIT research to be used on more difficult to install building surfaces, like bumpy rooftops. Their innovative manufacturing approach drives down manufacturing costs, which is transformational for semiconductor and electronics manufacturing.

Benchmark Labs, Inc.
Environmental Forecasting

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

Circular Plastics

MacroCycle revives end-of-life plastics. They take plastic waste in the form of bottles, food trays and polyester textiles, and produce high quality and energy efficient sustainable plastic. All with zero carbon emissions, through MacroCycle's net-zero and efficient low energy process.

River Otter Renewables
Renewable Crude Oil

 River Otter Renewables’ patented process transforms sewage waste into renewable crude oil in under an hour from whatever waste is around including plant waste, food waste, sewage waste, and some plastic waste. The renewable crude oil can be used for things such as sustainable fuels for airplanes (SAFs), while reducing the creation of sludge and destroying harmful forever chemicals (PFAS).  

Additional Funding Opportunities