PATHS FOR MARYLAND  ENTREPRENEURS & INNOVATORS

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MARYLAND INDUSTRIAL PARTNERSHIPS PROGRAM

Earth Networks

Germantown-based Earth Networks developed the thermodynamic models for its WeatherBug Home energy management and demand response product through MIPS by working with Jungho Kim, professor of mechanical engineering at UMD.

Alertus Technologies

Through MIPS, Beltsville-based Alertus Technologies completed a prototype of the company's Alert Beacon® emergency notification system by working with Steven Tretter, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Maryland.

AviHome

Through MIPS, Salisbury-based AviHome worked with UMES associate professor Jeannine Harter-Dennis to develop a chicken house flooring system that dries the area underneath the chickens, eliminates the need for litter, and reduces ammonia emissions.

AnthroTronix

Through the MIPS program, Silver Spring-based AnthroTronix worked with UMD faculty members Catherine Plaisant and Allison Druin to develop JesterBot, a therapeutic tool for children with speech, learning or physical disabilities.

Before You Apply

Help with Proposals and Matchmaking

We strongly suggest that you meet with a member of the MIPS staff before writing your proposal, even if you are familiar with the MIPS program.  A staff member can advise you on planning a proposal and assist you with submitting the application.  A preliminary review could be invaluable; for example, some applicants fail to include readily available information that might make the difference in qualifying for an award.

MIPS personnel and other professionals in the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) can assist companies in finding and selecting appropriate faculty researchers for the companies' projects.

University of Maryland, College Park:

University System of Maryland and Additional Colleges and Universities

How to Apply

Redox Power Systems works with Eric Wachsman, director of the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC), to characterize the strength, performance and reliability of enhancements Redox is making to its solid oxide fuel cells.

Multi-year Projects

Both one-year (one-phase) projects and two-year (two-phase) projects are eligible for MIPS funding. In the case of a two-year project proposal, the evaluation is made upon the technical and economic development merits of the entire project. One MIPS evaluation factor is the total cost of the project to MIPS; therefore, other considerations being equal, a one-phase project may be more attractive to MIPS than a two-phase project.

If a two-phase project is selected, it is funded for the first year. Its status is reviewed by MIPS near the end of the year, and if satisfactory, a proposal for year two is requested. The second year or phase is awarded on a non-competing renewal basis, subject to satisfactory progress having been made in the first year of the project.  The Phase II proposal is awarded and authorized using an amendment to the existing contractual agreement. Thus, the terms and conditions remain the same for both phases of the project.

Evaluation Forms

All reviewers are provided with standard MIPS evaluation forms. Copies of these forms are provided here as information for potential applicants.

The researcher and the company will jointly prepare the proposal. If a proposal is not funded, a MIPS staff member can debrief the proposal team and assist the team in making improvements for re-submittal in the next round of awards.

Application Requirements

Note: The information below is an overview of requirements for MIPS funding applications. Actual requirements are subject to change. An official MIPS application must be submitted. Application packets always contain the most up-to-date requirements. To receive an application, please contact the MIPS office.

MIPS makes every effort to keep the proposal process simple for applicants.However, in order to make well informed and fair judgments in a competitive situation, the Evaluation Board will need certain basic information, including:

  • Description of the proposed project;

  • Faculty and student on-campus involvement;

  • Company's participation in project performance;

  • Schedules and budgets;

  • Company's intentions for commercialization;

  • Potential benefits to the company, the state and the university;

  • Company's matching commitment;

  • Agreement to progress reporting during and after project.

  • Company must be in good standing in the State of Maryland

Startup Firms
If your company is a start-up firm, you are required to submit with your application a summary of your business plan (2 or 3 pages). This should include: year established, nature of business, advantages of your product or service, company objectives, management, market factors and sales plan. A current financial statement and a financial pro forma are also required.  Submission of a full business plan is optional.

Small Firms
If your company is a small firm, enclose a product brochure or other pertinent literature about your company. If you are proposing a new product or venture that is outside of your area of experience and expertise (such as a distributor of medical instruments proposing to develop, manufacture and sell a line of home security equipment), you are required to submit a business plan summary and a financial pro forma for the contemplated new venture. See "Start-up Firm" above.

Out-of-State Companies
An out-of-state company that does not have a substantial portion of its manufacturing or service or research and development operations in Maryland, but is planning to establish such operations in Maryland within the year in which an award is received, should write a letter advising MIPS of this intent and enclose the letter with its application. The letter should include information about the planned Maryland facilities and workforce.

Any MIPS award to an out-of-state company will require the company to pre-pay both the MIPS and company portion of the award.  MIPS will reimburse the company for the MIPS portion after the Maryland facility requirements have been met.

Intellectual Property

Detailed information about intellectual property ownership, and the handling of licensing and royalties, is addressed in the MIPS information packet (contact MIPS staff to receive one). Each proposing company must agree in advance to abide by the intellectual property model which applies to its specific situation.

Conflict of Interest

The state of Maryland has very stringent ethics standards and rules regarding conflict of interest for its employees. For this reason, each proposing company will be required to disclose any substantial ownership position in the company by an employee of the state or any other potential conflict of interest situation involving a state employee.

Funding Requirements

The minimum requirements for industry matching funds are dependent upon the company size and type.

Size categories for MIPS matching determination are established as follows:

  • Large firm: more than 1,000 full-time employees

  • Medium firm: 100 to 1,000 full-time employees

  • Small firm: fewer than 100 full-time employees

  • Start-up firm: see definition below

Definition of a Start-up Firm

General guidelines for start-up company qualifications are as follows:

  • A new company in product development mode;

  • No public stock offering;

  • Annual sales do not exceed $2,000,000;

  • A minimum of one full-time employee and no more than 20.

Matching Requirements

Cash
Matching requirements are based on the University Budget for the project.  Both MIPS and the company contribute cash, the total of which equals the University Budget.

In-Kind
Companies are required to make an in-kind contribution in addition to their cash contribution.  An in-kind contribution is the company's budget for its work on the project.  This includes salaries and wages, materials and equipment, travel and other company expenses budgeted for the project.

Large Firms
Company cash contribution is at least 50% of the University Budget.  Company's in-kind requirement is at least equivalent to 25% of the University Budget.

Medium Firms
Company cash contribution is at least 50% of the University Budget.  Company’s in-kind requirement is at least equivalent to 25% of the University Budget.

Small Firms
Company cash contribution is at least 35% of the University Budget.  Company's in-kind requirement is at least equivalent to 30% of the University Budget.

Start-up Firms
Company cash contribution is at least 10% of the University Budget.  Company's in-kind requirement is at least equivalent to 35% of the University Budget.

Equipment Gift
If the company donates equipment to the University that is needed for the project, the required equipment is to be valued according to "DESCRIPTION AND ESTIMATED VALUE OF EQUIPMENT GIFT" in the Application Form.

Equipment Loan
If the company lends equipment to the University, the value of the loan for the applicable period may be determined by fair rental value or by depreciation for the period of the loan.  This estimate should be included in "COST ESTIMATE - COMPANY EFFORT" in the application form.

MIPS Funding Limits
MIPS awards are limited to $100,000 per project per year for large, medium and small companies and $90,000 for start-up firms. The minimum is $5,000 per project per year. University overhead, as well as company overhead, are included in the matching-fund computations. Each institution of the University System of Maryland has its own overhead structure.

Selection Process & Criteria

Each proposal is subjected to a thorough review. First, it is screened by a MIPS staff member. If information is incomplete or unclear, the staff member may work with the company to solve the problem. Second, a small group of technical experts in the subject area rates the proposed project on its technical merits. Third, a small group of business experts evaluates the business, cost, and economic development aspects of the proposed project. Finally, an Evaluation Board recommends projects for MIPS matching funds.

The most important criteria for selection are: technical feasibility and economic development factors. The proposed project first undergoes scrutiny with respect to the likelihood of success from a technical viewpoint. At the same time, the project must have the potential to create or help retain jobs in Maryland, to improve the company's competitive position or to help the state's economy in some other way. Thus, each proposing company must discuss in the proposal its plans for commercializing the research results and the extent to which commercialization is expected to affect its business.

Additional considerations are given to companies which exceed their required minimum contribution, especially if it is in the form of cash. Donated equipment is considered more favorably than other in-kind contributions.

Other factors which are considered in the selection process are: level of commitment by the company, contribution to the goals of the university, affiliation with the university based incubators, association of company founders with the university, and any enhancements to university/industry interaction, such as personnel exchanges and student internships. Other factors such as equitable geographic, industry, business-size, and campus distributions may be considered in the evaluation. In the case of a start-up company, the summary business plan is subjected to careful scrutiny.

Multiyear Projects

Both one-year (one-phase) projects and two-year (two-phase) projects are eligible for MIPS funding. In the case of a two-year project proposal, the evaluation is made upon the technical and economic development merits of the entire project. One MIPS evaluation factor is the total cost of the project to MIPS; therefore, other considerations being equal, a one-phase project may be more attractive to MIPS than a two-phase project.

If a two-phase project is selected, it is funded for the first year. Its status is reviewed by MIPS near the end of the year, and if satisfactory, a proposal for year two is requested. The second year or phase is awarded on a non-competing renewal basis, subject to satisfactory progress having been made in the first year of the project.  The Phase II proposal is awarded and authorized using an amendment to the existing contractual agreement. Thus, the terms and conditions remain the same for both phases of the project.

Evaluation Forms

All reviewers are provided with standard MIPS evaluation forms. Copies of these forms are provided here as information for potential applicants.