The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Manning/IALS Innovation Awards (being reviewed)



Call for Applications

UMass Applied Proof-of-Concept (POC) Seed Fund Program

 Open to ALL IALS Faculty and ALL UMass Amherst associated Startup/Pre-Startup Ventures


UMass Amherst invites applications for the UMass Amherst ‘Proof-of-Concept’ (POC) Seed Fund Program. These awards are to advance translational and applied R&D efforts from faculty groups, pre-startup companies, and individuals affiliated with UMass Amherst through the development of (1) spin-out/startup companies or (2) significant extramural translational research funding.

The objective is to support ongoing development of discoveries, new knowledge, and inventions originating from UMass Amherst research successes towards translational research funding and product candidate status. Manning/IALS Innovation Award applications are open to researchers and entrepreneurs from the UMass Amherst community.

Download the Call for Applications for complete details.

Important Dates

June 17, 2019 - Applicants will be notified if invited to submit a full application for review
July 17, 2019 - Completed applications must be submitted, details can be found in the Call for Applications.
September 2019 - Award decisions will be made, with funding starting as early as needed following awards decisions.  

Key Points

Eligibility: Applicants must be permanent full-time UMass Amherst faculty, or Co-Founders/Leadership Team Members of a startup or pre-startup venture with auspices of such a faculty member.

Funding: Up to $100,000 of direct funding based on milestones. Grant duration is for 12 months.

Significant funding for this opportunity comes from a gift to the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) by the Manning Family Foundation and from the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) Seed Fund Program. Additional contributions come from the College of Natural Sciences, the Berthiaume Center, the Isenberg School of Management, and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. Recipients of Manning funds will be designated Manning Innovation Fellows.

Administration of the POC Seed Awards is managed through IALS with oversight from the IALS Executive Committee and the Office of the Dean, CNS, for the Manning Family Foundation gift. 

Purpose: To advance translational and applied R&D efforts from faculty groups, pre-startup/startup venture teams, and individual PI’s, consistent with the campus strategic plan:

  • Grow relationships with government, industry, communities, and others by expanding industry master agreements, increasing the competitiveness of center-scale proposals, and supporting community-engaged research
  • Enhance research collaborations with companies in the region and in technology clusters such as the Greater Boston area
  • Strengthen the UMass entrepreneurial ecosystem, the value of UMass IP, and research-driven startups via education, practical assistance, and by attracting additional public and private investment

Selection Criteria: Applications will be reviewed for the potential to advance a research idea/project or startup/pre-startup venture from basic research toward application to real-world problems. See the “Full Applications” section below for details.

About the Awards: POC seed funding will support “high-potential” and “applied” projects to increase the number and quality of campus translational projects ready to receive follow-on federal, state, and private funding (Angel Investors, Venture Capital etc). The awards are intended to allow the hiring of a research staff scientist, postdoctoral fellow, or graduate student, and associated lab expenses for approximately one year. All awards are milestone-driven. Applicants reaching agreed-to milestones are eligible to apply for a second year of funding, and in exceptional circumstances a third year of funding. In addition, POC seed fund award teams will receive training and mentorship, on a range of topics designed to help them reach their milestones.

Post-Award Requirements:

  • Progress Reports: Manning / IALS awardees will be expected to submit progress reports highlighting successes, issues, and progress towards interim milestones. These reports will be in the form of short (10 min) presentations to members of the internal/external grant review board.
  • Training: Teams receiving funding for their startup or pre-startup ventures will be required to attend several 1-hour workshops focused on building knowledge of and capacity for the business aspects of research-driven new ventures.

Letters of Intent

Letters of Intent were due on June 13, 2019. If you have not been invited to submit a full proposal based on a letter of intent, do not submit a proposal.

To be included in future Manning/IALS solicitations, please send an email to

Full Applications

Invited Applications must be submitted by July 17, 2019. Submissions will be reviewed for the potential to advance a research idea/project or startup/pre-startup venture from basic research toward application to real-world problems, significant extramural funding, and/or follow-on investments. This is further defined as:

  • Identification of and commitment to achieving translational milestones
  • A realistic plan to advance the research/technology towards follow-on funding/resourcing from investors/agencies
  • For spin-out companies the key elements of a business plan which include,
    • Describing product candidates
    • The unmet need
    • A differentiation plan
    • An intellectual property plan
    • Resource needs to scale into a self-sufficient enterprise.

Confidentiality: In anticipation of external reviewers, do not include any confidential information in the proposal. If you believe inclusion of confidential information is critical to your application, email to discuss.

Each application needs to contain the following:

  • Executive summary: project title, team members and, abstract. For spin-out ventures will also include the key elements of a business plan as described above - briefly describing product candidates, the unmet need met, a differentiation plan, an IP plan, and resource needs to scale into a self-sufficient enterprise (350 words max).
  • Statement of Work: High-level objectives; Project Plan including timeline, interim milestones/deliverables and final milestones/deliverables (up to 3 pages)
  • Progress to Date/Preliminary Data: (up to 2 pages)
  • Intellectual Property Status/Strategy: (up to 1 page)
  • Budget: major budget categories and brief justification (up to 1 page)
  • Appendix A - Other Support: List other funding by source, grant number, amount start/stop dates, and a summary sentence on specific aims (up to 2 pages, up to date NIH or NSF current and pending forms are acceptable)
  • Appendix B - Biosketches: (up to 2 pages for each team member, up to date NIH or NSF current and pending forms are acceptable)
  • Appendix C - Up to 3 letters of support: (1 page each)
  • Appendix E - Bibliography and/or other Patent Information: (up to 2 pages)

Budget Guidelines: Up to $100,000 direct costs may be requested. There is no indirect cost associated with the award. Allowable expenses include:

  • Research staff scientist, postdoctoral fellow, or graduate student support
  • Laboratory supplies and consumable materials
  • Grant writer or grant consultant support (e.g., SBIR/STTRs)
  • Graphic design, web development, and marketing communications
  • UMA Core facilities usage and Collaboratory space rental
  • Other expenses will be considered on as case by case basis

Funding for faculty salary and capital equipment are not allowable expenses.

Formatting: Proposals must be submitted as a single File formatted to print on letter (8 ½” X 11”) paper with >0.5” margins in Calibri or Arial 11 or 12 point font, single spaces, with a blank line between each paragraph and left alignment.

Proposals should be submitted as either MS Word or PDF files using a file naming convention of PI LastName_FirstName_YYYY_MM (i.e. Smith_Mary_2019_05).

Submit Full Applications in the form below from June 18 to July 17.

IALS/Manning-Application Submission Form

Files must be less than 10 MB.
Allowed file types: pdf doc docx.

Questions and More Information

Information sessions will provide additional details.

This is a new program. We expect there will be questions. Please contact with questions.