• Credit: Siddhartha Pathak

Caltech Innovation Initiative Program

The Caltech Innovation Initiative (CI2) program is an internal grant program that provides research funds to high-risk but potentially high-reward projects that are focused on producing technologies that address significant challenges in the world at large, with commercial potential to address an unmet need in the marketplace.

Although the activities of this program are not limited to any particular area of science or engineering, CI2 has in the past supported energy and green technologies, information technology, neuroscience, biomedicine, biotechnology, and nanomaterial research projects.

CI2 awards are intended to provide support for up to two years with up to $250,000 in total funding (two years of support at $125,000 a year). Requests for a second year of funding are considered based on competitive review of both new and renewal proposals.

In order to provide ongoing support for the CI2 program, the following will apply to intellectual property resulting from CI2-funded projects: if licensed to startup company, Caltech will receive increased equity or a convertible note from the startup commensurate with CI2 funding support; if licensed to an existing company, the CI2 funding will be recouped from royalties Caltech receives under the license.

The CI2 Request for Proposals is sent out by the Vice Provost for Research at the beginning of each calendar year, with proposals due in early February. See below for the exact dates for 2017. The application process will be specified in the Request for Proposals. Applications are open to Caltech faculty and participation is limited to one proposal per faculty member per year. Any questions email CI2@caltech.edu. See also the Grubstake page for additional funding opportunities.

Applications should follow the template and evaluation rubric provided here

Applicants should include a signed Division Approval Form (DAF) with their proposal submission - DAF available here

Applicants should submit their proposals to CI2@caltech.edu

2017 application dates:

Request for Proposals Distributed: Tuesday January 17, 2017

Applications Due: Friday February 24, 2017 by 5pm PT

Decisions Announced: End of April, 2017



Budget: budget must include actual faculty effort and direct costs only (including tuition remission and staff benefits as applicable). Indirect costs should not be included. Applicants should included a signed DAF but no MORA is necessary. Maximum budget is $125K/year for 2 years for a total of $250K. Budgets should not include a subaward component as CI2 awards are intended to support innovative faculty research on campus.
Renewals: 2nd year renewal funding may be requested. Renewals will be reviewed competitively with, not given priority over, new proposals. Renewal proposals must include the following information:
  • Format: re-list milestones from original proposal, followed by specific progress achieved for each milestone
  • List publications and ensure CI2 funding was acknowledged
  • List all relevant patent filings
  • List all other funding sources on the project – both source and amount
  • Specify post-CI2 plans: next steps scientifically and commercially, and future funding sources