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University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships
University of Michigan Innovation Partnerships

MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation

The Michigan Translation Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) for Advanced Transportation Innovation Hub is a statewide program supporting translational research projects with high commercialization potential, with the ultimate goal of launching new technologies into the mobility and transportation sectors. Innovators from all public schools of higher education in the state of Michigan, and non-profit research centers are eligible to submit proposals for grant funding consideration. 

The program offers early-state funding opportunities through the MTRAC Advanced Transportation annual grant program. Since the inception of the program, over 65 project teams have gone on to form 27 startup companies and achieve over $96 Million in follow on funding (equity and grant). Four key areas of support are provided through the one-year program for awardees:

  • Advance early-stage translational research transportation/mobility technology development milestones for commercialization 
  • Advance market adoption readiness to meet industry/market needs
  • De-risk technology development path
  • Provide high-touch support for University researchers and their teams

MTRAC Advanced Transportation is industry agnostic and can apply to mobility and transportation technologies across air, sea, land, infrastructure and space. Funded projects must be related to and have an initial commercial application in transportation and/or mobility. 

Awarded funded technologies have included but are not limited to: Electrification, Battery Technology, Charging Technology, Connectivity solutions, Sustainability, Infrastructure Tech, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), Manufacturing Solutions, Robotics, And Supply Chain technologies. 

The program offers an initial supported proposal development process, pitch preparation, and market research. Awarded projects go on to receive a one-year grant funded and resource supported commercialization program with connections to industry partners, coaching from the MTRAC Team including mentors, licensing team members, an Industry and VC Advisory Board as well as many other helpful commercialization resources and connections.

The MTRAC Advanced Transportation Innovation Hub is part of  Innovation Partnerships at the University of Michigan. It has a 2023 operating budget of $1.5M with half of the funds coming from the State of Michigan’s Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and the remainder coming from participating institutions. The program reinforces the commitment of the MSF, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and U-M to entrepreneurship as a dynamic catalyst for economic growth, allowing for greater collaboration and ultimately increasing the number of start-ups, jobs, industry licenses, and investment for Michigan.

3 logos: Innovation Partnerships, MTRAC and MEDC

For more information contact:

Don Manfredi
Associate Director of Ventures

Phone: 734-536-5752
Email: dmanfred@umich.edu

Anne Partington
Commercialization Program Director, MTRAC Transportation

Phone: 248-210-8147
Email: aparting@umich.edu

MTRAC Application, Award, & Funding Timeline

2023-2024 Grant Application Now Open through April 18, 2023!

Connect with us now to discuss proposal ideas and schedule an Advanced Transportation proposal ideation session!

Link to MTRAC Advanced Transportation Informational Video

Full proposal applications are accepted from January through April and finalists are notified in May. Finalist teams pitch their idea to the oversight committee in June. The funding cycle begins September 1, 2023 and runs through August 31, 2024.

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Award RFP Submission Link . . . January 18 – April 18, 2023

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Award Semi-Finalists Selected . . . May 12, 2023

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Semi-Finalist Pitch to Oversight Committee . . . June 23, 2023

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MTRAC Awardee Notification . . . June 26, 2023

Funding Cycle . . . September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024

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Webinars . . . Coming Soon

Oversight Commitee

The oversight committee consists of industry and investment experts who will provide consultation and mentoring to awarded teams.

Sara Blackmer
Solyco Advisors

Patti Glaza
Invest Detroit

Brett Hinds
Ford Motor Company

Paul Krajewski
GM

Jeff Makarewicz
Toyota Motor North America R&D

Don Manfredi
University of Michigan

Justin Shroeder 
Roush Enterprises

Bradford Orr
University of Michigan

Clay Phillips
MI-SBDC

Bryce Pilz
University of Michigan

Chris Stallman
Fontinalis Partners

Manny Stockman
Osage University Partners