VentureWell awards faculty grants to colleges and universities for the purpose of strengthening existing curricular programs and/or building new courses and programs in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Amount: Up to $30,000
Through these grant funds, VentureWell supports creative pedagogical approaches that generate student teams working on technology solutions to real-world problems. One goal is for the strongest teams applying to participate in VentureWell’s E-Team Program. VentureWell has funded over 720 new courses or programs through faculty grants, and 3 out of 4 report that they are planning to continue their course or program beyond the grant period, thereby institutionalizing this experiential learning opportunity.
VentureWell encourages proposals that involve students, faculty and advisors from engineering, science, business, design, and liberal arts disciplines, as well as groups traditionally underrepresented in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including women and minorities. Proposals may include plans for creating or improving an individual course, course sequence, minor, major, certificate program, incubator, accelerator, and other co- and extra- curricular programs.
Faculty grants support educational courses or programs at the intersection of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship that lead to the creation and support of student teams. Focus areas include, but are not limited to:
General (technology-based) entrepreneurship New materials
Clean tech/renewable energy innovation
Technologies that address poverty alleviation and basic human needs (including, but not limited to water, sanitation, healthcare, energy, agriculture, shelter)
Tech-based entrepreneurship led by women and other underrepresented populations
Biomedical and healthcare innovation
Faculty Grants are awarded to US-based colleges and universities. Faculty and staff from VentureWell-member colleges and universities are eligible to apply. Proposals may include non-member partners from education, non- profits, industry, NGOs, governments and/or the investment community, etc. If you have questions about the status of your institution’s VentureWell membership, please head here:
The more SPECIFIC, CLEAR and COMPELLING your proposal is, the more competitive it will be. Typically, proposals have approximately a 20% chance of getting funded. Successful faculty grant proposals include these elements:
Examples of projects that are NOT strong candidates for faculty grant funding include:
All program applications, consisting of a five page narrative, workplan, budget, resumes, letter(s) of support and other supporting documents, must be submitted using VentureWell’s online tool. Anyone on the team may serve as the applicant. ALL proposal deadlines end at 11:59 pm Eastern Time on
the specified due date. To start, you’ll need to have a VentureWell account. Creating an account is easy, and anyone can do it. To access an existing account or to create a new one, click here. You may start, save, stop, and return to your online proposal at anytime before submitting.
VentureWell requires proof of institutional support of your proposal.
The following institutional representatives must verify their support of your proposal by responding to an automated email request from the grants system and entering their initials online. This process is triggered within the online proposal process). Faculty grant proposals CANNOT be submitted until these required advisors have verified their support. If you have any questions or concerns about this sign-off process, please contact us.
Principal Investigator (PI)
The Principal Investigator takes primary responsibility for the proposal and will have overall responsibility for the grant and reporting. Ideally, a tenured or tenure-track faculty and/or staff member serves as the Principal Investigator. Co-PIs are allowed, but one lead PI must be identified. Students may not serve as Principal Investigators.
Administrative Contact (AC)
VentureWell defines the Administrative Contact as a grants administrator or fiscal officer authorized to commit the institution to the terms of the grant. Often, the AC is someone in your institution’s Office of Sponsored Programs/Research or an administrator able to manage grant funding within a department or school. Principal Investigators, other faculty, and students may not serve as the AC.
Applicants should contact their Office of Sponsored Research or the equivalent well ahead (2+ weeks) of the grant deadline to inform them their intention to submit a proposal. Most universities require a full proposal for administrative review and approval before it can be submitted to VentureWell.
Department Chair (DC)
The Department Chair (or equivalent) will need to indicate his/her awareness of and support for your proposal as a demonstration of institutional commitment to the proposal.
Dean of Faculty (DF)
The Dean of Faculty (or equivalent) will need to indicate his/her awareness of and support for your proposal as a demonstration of institutional commitment to the proposal.
History and Context
Team and Partners
*Note: Proposals should go beyond listing entrepreneurial support resources and demonstrate that a structured path is available for some teams to further develop a path to market.
Create a simple table in the narrative that includes:
Justifying your proposed budget including specific budget justifications is a critical piece in helping reviewers understand how you intend to spend grant funds. Provide your justifications in the “justifications” section in the budget template or in a separate sheet; the more detail in the justifications the better. Grant funds may be proposed for expenses related to curricular development and course or program realization. Equipment and other resources purchased with grant funds become the property of the institution.
Eligible expenses examples:
Ineligible expenses examples:
VentureWell strives to notify applicants of the status of their proposals via
email within 90 days of the submission deadline. All Principal Investigators will receive notification via email as to whether or not their proposal has been selected for funding. VentureWell will send an approved budget and award letter agreement for signature to the Administrative Contact identified in the proposal. Once this award letter is signed and returned to VentureWell, funds can be disbursed.
Occasionally, reviewers invite a team to resubmit their proposal in a future cycle for re-consideration, after certain concerns or questions are addressed.
Applicants invited by reviewers to resubmit should contact us to discuss the reviewer feedback in detail and make sure they understand the questions and concerns raised. Resubmitted proposals must include a cover letter titled “Addressing Previous Reviewer Concerns” that specifies where within the proposal previous concerns have been addressed. This cover letter will not count towards the 5-page narrative maximum.
Reporting requirements will be outlined in the award letter. Principal Investigators for VentureWell grants are prompted via email (once each year) to complete reports online. Failure to submit reports may jeopardize your institution’s eligibility for future grants and pending payments. If you receive a grant, reporting deadlines will be detailed in your award letter.
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For feedback on your idea, you may submit a one-paragraph proposal summary to firstname.lastname@example.org well in advance of the proposal deadline.
For questions contact email@example.com