Q. Which universities may I work with?
A. You may work with any of the public universities in the state including Michigan State, Western, Michigan Tech, Wayne State, Central, Eastern, Ferris State, Grand Valley State, Lake Superior State, Northern Michigan, Oakland, and Saginaw Valley Universities as well as UM Ann Arbor and Flint.
Q. Which universities are in the Michigan Corporate Relations Network (MCRN)?
A. Michigan State, Western Michigan, Michigan Tech, Wayne State and University of Michigan (Ann Arbor and Dearborn)
Q. How do I get connected to a university researcher?
A. To get connected to the appropriate university researcher, complete the SCIP/TCA pre-application form making sure to pinpoint your company research needs in section VI. The SCIP/TCA team will conduct an initial search on your behalf at the MCRN universities using the expertise portal. You are encouraged to conduct your own expertise search using the tool here: http://www.experts.scival.com/RegionalPortal/mcrn/. Be aware that not all public universities in Michigan are on this portal. Once a shortlist of potential resources is created we will contact the researcher(s) through the appropriate university business engagement office. The office will then help link you to an appropriate university researcher for you to meet and discuss common interests that may translate into a project.
Q. What if my company wants to work with a university other than the one located closest geographically because of a specific technical need?
A. You are welcome to work with any public university in the state regardless of geographical location or proximity to your business.
Q. Will grant funds through the SCIP/TCA be awarded all at once?
A. All funding will be awarded upon the university’s receipt of the matching funds. Companies that are awarded grant money are required to provide their full share of the award upfront to the designated university as a condition for SCIP/TCA to release its share.
Q. Can in-kind equipment/services be used for part or the entire company match?
A. No. There may be complementary activities performed by the scientists at the company that are described within the application, but match funds (dollar to dollar) must be provided directly to the university partner.
Q. Can a project include market research and analysis and or business modeling?
A. SCIP/TCA will deliver a Market Specific Overview and Action Plan to select clients as part of the offering. The plan includes secondary market research analysis, including market size, competitive landscape, 5 forces model and SWOT analysis plus a list of actionable recommendations for the company to consider. All this effort is put together from a team of highly skilled students and a professional project manager. Any other business related project including primary market research will be considered in a case by case for a SCIP/TCA award and will depend on its ability to accelerate product readiness and commercialization perspectives.
Q. Does it matter where the match money comes from? Can SBIR or STTR funds be used as match?
A. The source of the funding does not matter as long as it is not another State of Michigan program; if the company has received funds from the federal government or any other source, they can be applied as match. However, these must be new funds to cover the cost of the current research. A company cannot reapply funds that have already been used for a university project. This would mean that the SCIP/TCA application would be pending at the same time as another application such as a SBIR or STTR. It is important to keep your university partner informed so you can plan the schedule together. One goal of SCIP/TCA is to foster new relationships between Michigan universities and companies.
Q. When will companies be notified whether or not they have been selected for SCIP/TCA?
A. Companies will be notified on a rolling basis whether or not they have been selected to participate in SCIP/TCA. Participation does not guarantee awarded project funding. For companies that have not already identified a university or project but have supplied all of the required information, timing of notification depends on various factors such as SCIP/TCA ability to identify resources, their willingness and availability to connect to the company and in finding common ground to collaborate on a project. For companies that have identified a university partner and a project, it will take approximately 2 – 4 weeks for the company to be notified on whether grant money will be awarded or not, provided the company supplies all of the required information.
Q. What if a company has no prior experience working with a university?
A. A company is not required to have any prior experience in working with a university. SCIP/TCA encourages the creation of new relationships and helps guiding the application process along with the applicable researcher.
Q. Will companies who already have relationships with universities be favored?
A. Companies who have relationships with universities will not be favored over companies that don’t. Part of the SCIP/TCA mission is to form relationships between companies and universities who may not have previously worked together.
Q. How many projects will be funded each year?
A. Between 10-20 projects will be funded each year.
Q. Can funding be used for anything other than university resources?
A. Funding awarded through SCIP/TCA and the company match must go directly to the university resources, typically research projects. Other university testing and or university facility use supporting research and/or commercialization will be considered. Grants provided by SCIP/TCA are meant to make university resources, typically research and development, more affordable for companies who may not otherwise have the means to pay for it.
Q. Who will be reviewing the applications for SCIP/TCA?
A. The SCIP/TCA team housed at the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy (IRLEE) at the University of Michigan. Each MCRN university and MEDC will periodically review the approved and unapproved applications.
Q. Will proposals be evaluated on technical merit or research merit?
A. Evaluation on technical merit or research merit is dependent on the individual project and university researcher. Your proposed project must be compelling and spur meaningful collaboration between the company and university partner. Complete judging criteria can be found in the SCIP/TCA project development requirements.
Q. Will university partners be publishing any information resulting from the research project?
A. Publishing terms and conditions will be subject to the university that a SCIP/TCA applicant is working with. Each university will handle proprietary information and intellectual property in a case-by-case manner, according to the university’s policies.
Q. Can a company apply for multiple-year funding?
A. No. Research projects funded through SCIP/TCA must be one year or less.
Q. If a company is not awarded funding through SCIP/TCA, can they reapply for the next cycle of funding?
A. Yes. SCIP/TCA will provide recommendations that can be used to strengthen their action plan and request funding in the next cycle.
Q. If a company is awarded by SCIP/TCA, can they reapply for another research project the following year?
A. Yes. But chances to get awarded a second time around are slim.
Q. Are IRB (Institutional Review Board) approvals and IP-sharing agreements required before a SCIP/TCA application is submitted?
A. No, projects that require the approval of an IRB (work involving human subjects) or IACUC (work involving animals) can be submitted without those approvals in place, but documented approval is required before funds will be approved and released. The same is true for IP-sharing agreements; an agreement between the university and the company does not need to be in place for participation and project definition, but it must be documented before funds will be released.
Q. What if my project is not a good fit for the SCIP/TCA?
A. Companies are encouraged to contact the closest MCRN business engagement office even if they find that their project is not a good fit for SCIP/TCA. MCRN’s goal is to increase collaborations between Michigan universities and companies. By working with your local university, you may learn of other opportunities to help your company. MCRN may have resources that can foster collaboration between the company and a university within the network. MCRN has also created a list of other business support programs in the state that may be able to support your company’s project.