The Jacobs Institute Innovation Catalysts

October 13, 2017 | 10:58 am

Overview

Every semester, students bring a wide range of innovative projects to life at Jacobs Hall and throughout Berkeley’s vibrant design ecosystem. The Jacobs Institute Innovation Catalysts, made possible by the Eustace-Kwan Family Foundation, is a new student grant program that provides an avenue for these ambitious student innovators to unlock further potential in their projects.

Berkeley students are invited to propose projects that they aim to develop over the course of a semester. Selected grantees will work on their projects with the support of resources from the Jacobs Institute and CITRIS Invention Lab, and as part of a cohort of fellow student innovators.

Reflecting a focus on shared investment within the institute’s student design community, the Jacobs Institute Student Advisory Board (SAB) will play a key role in the grant selection process. SAB members, who represent diverse perspectives from the student community, will review and make recommendations on all grant submissions.

Program structure

The Innovation Catalysts are awarded on a biannual basis, in January and September; several grants will be awarded during each grant cycle.

Two types of grants are offered in the Innovation Catalysts program:

  • Ignite grants are for in-progress projects, with existing prototypes and demonstrated potential for impact. Up to $2000 will be awarded for each project. Are you working on a project that you can’t imagine stopping once the semester ends? Apply for an Ignite grant!
  • Spark grants are for early-stage projects or ideas. Up to $500 will be awarded for each project. Do you have a great idea and seek funding to make it a reality? Apply for a Spark grant!

The grantees in each grant cycle will form a cohort, with members serving as peers and resources for each other. In addition to the grant stipends, grantees will receive support from the Maker Pass ecosystem at Jacobs Hall and the CITRIS Invention Lab, including advising and mentorship from staff and access to fabrication equipment in both spaces (all UC Berkeley affiliate grantees receive complimentary Maker Passes during the grant cycle). Winners of Ignite grants will also receive support to develop audio/visual documentation of their work.

Grantees commit to:

  • Making significant progress on their project during the grant cycle
  • Having a majority of their team on UC Berkeley campus during the semester that the grant is awarded
  • Staying engaged with the Jacobs Institute and their grant cohort throughout the semester, including by attending a mid-semester check-in with the Jacobs Student Advisory Board
  • Publicly presenting their work as part of the Jacobs Design Showcase at the end of the semester, and providing visual and text material about their projects, to be featured in the Jacobs Institute’s marketing and communications

Eligibility and selection criteria

Applicant eligibility: Applicants can apply as individuals or in teams of up to five members. A majority of the applicant team must be comprised of UC Berkeley students during the grant cycle. Both undergraduate and graduate students, from all departments and programs, are eligible.

Project selection criteria: The Innovation Catalysts will support a wide range of projects, reflecting the diversity of talents and interests in the Jacobs student community. That being said, the Jacobs Student Advisory Board and leadership team will especially look for projects that have the potential for high impact, align with the Jacobs mission and values, could benefit from the resources at Jacobs Hall and the CITRIS Invention Lab, and have well-written proposals. 

Timeline

Important dates and events for the inaugural spring 2018 grant cycle are as follow:

  • December 20, 2017: Application deadline.
  • Late January 2018: Grantees are notified and announced.
  • February to May 2018: Grantees work on their projects. The cohort will have a kickoff event in February and a mid-semester check-in meeting in March with the Jacobs Student Advisory Board (exact dates TBD).
  • May 9-10, 2018: Grantees present their work at the Jacobs Design Showcase. End of grant cycle.

Application process

Submit your project proposal via this link by the application deadline of December 20, 2017. The form will request basic information about your project and then ask you to upload a detailed proposal. You can modify your application until the application deadline.

The proposal should follow the general formatting and content guidelines below:

Formatting guidelines

  • No applicant names, as the review committee will do blind reviews of the proposals
  • Single PDF file, no larger than 10 MB
  • File name should be [Project]_[Ignite Grant or Spark Grant]_Spring 2018 (e.g., “Transmogrifier_Ignite Grant_Spring 2018″)
  • No minimum or maximum page limits, though we expect that 3-5 pages, not including supplemental materials, will be sufficient

Content guidelines

  1. Basic information
    • Name of your project
    • One paragraph summary about your project
  2. Detailed description
    • Current status of your project and what work has already been done for it
    • How your project fits with the Jacobs Institute mission and vision
    • How an Innovation Catalyst grant would help your project progress
  3. Project plan
    • Proposed project timeline for spring 2018
    • How you will track project progress (e.g., metrics and midway goals)
    • Expected deliverable in May 2018
  4. Budget
    • An itemized project budget that shows how you plan to use your stipend
    • Other funding that your project has received (e.g., other grants, funding from a principal investigator, etcetera)
  5. Supplemental media
    • Required for Ignite grant proposals and optional, but encouraged, for Spark grant proposals
    • Could include sketches, photos, video, etcetera
    • Could be interspersed throughout the proposal or included as appendices

Learn more

Information sessions for the Innovation Catalysts program, which will address the program structure and provide advice on writing proposals, will be held on:

  • Tuesday, October 24th 5-6pm in 220 Jacobs Hall
  • Friday, November 17th 1-2pm in 220 Jacobs Hall
  • Monday, December 8th 12-1pm in 220 Jacobs Hall                  

Sign up to receive announcements related to the Innovation Catalysts program. Contact Amy Dinh, Student Services Advisor, at amydinh@berkeley.edu for questions.