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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

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Innovation Partnerships works to connect U-M faculty and startups with a variety of funding resources to support the commercialization of U-M research discoveries and technologies. From connections to corporate research sponsors, to translational research programs to help move your innovations to the marketplace, and even startup investment funds, we have the relationships in place to help U-M faculty and startups achieve their commercialization goals.

Active RFPs

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
EPRI is looking to accelerate decarbonization and emerging clean technologies in the areas of clean energy technologies, electric system and customer reliability and resilience, electric system flexibility, end-use and economy-wide carbon reduction, market transformation and an open category around innovation.
Eligibility: U-M researchers and faculty
Timeline:  Application Deadline – rolling through October 2, 2024

Ono Pharmaceuticals
Ono Pharmaceuticals is looking to support research collaborations with a focus on rare genetic disorders. Click here to learn more about the teams’ areas of interest and application process.
Eligibility: U-M researchers and faculty
Timeline: Rolling applications

Meet Our Team

Kate Remus

Senior Associate Director & Business Development Group Lead

Seohee You

Great Lakes Discovery Scientific Collaboration Director

Corporate Sponsored Research

Our Corporate Research Alliances team is available to assist faculty exploring corporate sponsored research relationships at any stage in the process, from early ideation, to negotiation of IP, licensing, and business terms through agreement execution.  We also manage ongoing large research collaborations with a number of corporate sponsors, and can discuss how your research could connect with one of these existing research alliances:

T3N Postdoctoral Fellow Support

The Technology Transfer Talent Network (T3N) is a Michigan Economic Development Corporation-supported program that provides support for U-M postdocs who are working to advance technologies with significant commercialization potential.  For more information, please contact the ventures team.


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MTRAC Translational Research and Commercialization Programs

Translational research funding is key early-stage grant money to enable the transition from successful academic research to an innovation that is sufficiently developed, de-risked, and on the path to commercialization. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) has provided funding for five MTRAC Translational Hubs across the state. Innovation Partnerships manages two hubs, MTRAC for Life Sciences and MTRAC for Advanced Transportation, and collaborates with hubs run by other institutions for Advanced Applied Materials, Advanced Computing and AgBio. 


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MTRAC (Life Sciences)

The Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is a statewide program supporting translational research projects in life sciences with high commercial potential, with the ultimate goal of positively impacting human health. Innovators from all schools at the University of Michigan, other institutions of higher education, non-profit research centers, and hospital systems across Michigan are eligible to submit projects for funding consideration. The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub administers two cornerstone funding programs to address technology development at early proof-of-concept and translational research stages: Kickstart and MTRAC. The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub has awarded millions of dollars in funding over the past four years.

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MTRAC (Advanced Transportation)

At a time of rapid transformation in the transportation industry, the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation catalyzes the continued development of mobility technology for the modern world. MTRAC is a statewide program that funds projects which commercialize university research into products or services that shape the future of transportation technology or address poorly met transportation market needs.

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Commercialization Gap Funding

The Innovation Partnerships Gap Fund provides small grants to faculty tied to the commercial advancement of U-M technologies and research discoveries.  Typical gap fund activities include customer discovery efforts; retaining consultants to help model and test a new concept or to address compliance, regulatory, security or other market issues; and building market prototypes to demonstrate customer potential. Gap funds address the commercial validation of promising technologies and startup opportunities  and complement the technical readiness focus of translational research funding. Contact the ventures team for more information.


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Accelerate Blue Fund

The Accelerate Blue Fund (ABF) is an early-stage venture fund run by Innovation Partnerships that exclusively invests in University of Michigan (U-M) licensed startups.

The goal of Accelerate Blue is to bridge the funding gap between initial launch and angel/VC funding for startups based on University of Michigan intellectual property (IP). The Fund is an opportunity to further enhance U-M’s leadership position in research, technology innovation and commercialization by creating a critical new resource to support U-M startups. In addition to risk-tolerant early stage capital, ABF provides extensive business mentoring and IP support through U-M Innovation Partnerships.


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Support for U-M Faculty and Startups

Innovation Partnerships offers a broad range of startup fundraising support services. Our Ventures team can help you craft an effective startup fundraising campaign by refining your pitch and creating a targeted shortlist of likely investors. Our financial analyst can arm you with invaluable data from investment transactions in your competitive space. We can connect you with our network of nearly 700 investors across the globe. Our close ties with the local investment community and collaborations with the Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund, MINTS and OUP will accelerate you along the path to investment. 


Our Mentors-in-Residence professionals assist with the raising of startup capital, identifying and connecting startup founders with talent including executives, the identification of early customers and partners, general business, commercial, and financial strategies, business structure and planning and other valuable services.

Startup Project Review Team

Our Venture professionals are available to meet in a group working session with your team to review important milestones for every step of your startup journey. Sessions can be focused on major strategic decisions, review and refinement of company pitch decks, go to market strategies, funding plans or to discuss other important company opportunities. Contact your Ventures professional to set up a session. 

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NSF I-Corps Hub: Great Lakes Region

The NSF I-Corps Hub: Great Lakes Region aims to spur innovation, collaboration, and economic impact in the region. Supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this regional alliance is a network of educational institutions and other partners that educate, support, and connect academic researchers to the entrepreneurial ecosystem across the region.


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Additional U-M Startup Funding Resources

The University of Michigan has several seed funds available for startups; each fund has its own investment parameters regarding what types of companies they will invest in and return priorities and objectives. Contact our Ventures team to discuss the right funding opportunities for your U-M startup.

Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund

The Michigan Biomedical Venture Fund (MBVF) invests in biomedical startup companies with U-M licensed IP in the domain of therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, or health IT. The MBVF is a collaborative effort between the U-M College of Engineering’s Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) and U-M Medical School’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation (FFMI) program.

Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups

The University offers a venture investment program called MINTS, Michigan Investment in New Technology Startups, that, with our recommendation and a qualified venture fund partner, can invest up to $2 million in qualified U-M startups.

Osage University Partners Network

U-M Innovation Partnerships is also part of the Osage University Partners (OUP) university network and is one of eight original universities selected because of our process and track record in helping to create valuable U-M startups. OUP invests on our behalf in U-M startups typically at the A round stage and provides us with valuable assessments of our startup opportunities.

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The U-M entrepreneurial ecosystem also provides programs and opportunities.


U-M Entrepreneurship Programs

For More Information

Contact the Innovation Partnerships Ventures Team for details and assistance with any of the funding resources mentioned to determine which funds would be appropriate for your venture, as well as facilitate introductions to investors and strategic partners.

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