Alpha Fund Prototype Grant Application

Program Description
The Alpha Fund is an advanced prototype fund designed to support the development of early-stage products, systems, and services. Proposed prototypes should incorporate a clear degree of technology intensity.  This fund is awarded primarily to teams of faculty/staff, graduate students, and alumni.  Proposals should convey solid technical and other relevant data to support a proof of concept.  We have a preference for projects that come from Northeastern’s research labs. Up to a total of $5,000 will be awarded per application. One award per applicant per cycle.

We also have funds to support applications from Undergraduate Teams, but only those that have first gone through and successfully completed an Undergraduate Prototype Fund Grant.  

If a
 grant is awarded, an R&D Mentor will be assigned. Alpha Fund recipients must review work with the assigned R&D Mentor on a monthly basis for the duration of the grant.  Upon an award, the team must provide an update to its Budget and Milestone Spreadsheet every three months until its milestones are complete.  This follow-on reporting is a requirement.  Team should not accept an Alpha grant unless they commit to milestone reporting.

Additional awards are given contingent on completion of milestones from the first application plan and positive feedback from the R&D Mentor.  A statement from the Mentor must be included in the application.

Grant Application
Your application should include: 

A three to five page write-up that contains the following information: 
  1. What is the most promising use-case for this technology? Choose ONE use case and be specific about the problems experienced by users or machines in it, and the benefits of your solution.
  2. What is the size of the target market for your use-case? (rough estimate)
  3. What other solutions or products are currently available to address this use-case/problem? 
  4. What is the status of any Intellectual Property (IP) you currently have or might claim in the future related to your technology for the stated use-case?  
  5. Please go to the Grant Template. Please specify budget details and milestone. Download a copy of it to your computer and fill it out.  How will you spend the the grant funds?  What are the major milestones, with details on activities. NOTE: Funds cannot be used to pay employee or team member salaries.  It is expected that for Alpha, the team has most of the technical skills needed to develop its proposed prototype.  3rd party services (such as 3D printing) or specialty programming support will be considered. 
  6. Who is involved in this project and what are their qualifications in terms of designing and building the prototype?
  7. If this is a second, subsequent Alpha application, the team must obtain a statement from its R&D Mentor regarding completion of the prior proposal milestones.
  8. Provide some type of illustration or graphical construct of your prototype.  
  9. Provide the names of any key Mentors or Faculty that have been helping you in your planning.

Contact Information

Review Process
Alpha Fund requests will be reviewed by a panel of industry-experienced and R&D-experienced judges from the Northeastern network. Decisions will be communicated within a month of the application deadline.  Please understand that we tend to receive many applications for Alpha Grants and are committed to supporting all that are clearly worthy, clearly written, and with reasonable, achievable milestones.