VentureWell: VentureWell Faculty Grants

VentureWell provides grants of up to $30,000 to help fund and support faculty with innovative ideas to create new or transform existing courses and programs to help students develop novel, STEM-based inventions and gain the necessary entrepreneurial skills needed to bring these ideas to market.

VentureWell will be seeking proposals for areas that will support the emerging generation of inventors and innovators and the ecosystems critical to their success. VentureWell funds courses or programs at the intersection of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship that lead to the creation and support of student teams. Courses and programs can range in focus from technology-based entrepreneurship, to new materials/cleantech, to biomedical and healthcare.

VentureWell awards faculty grants to colleges and universities for the purpose of strengthening existing curricular programs and/or building new courses and programs in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Through these grant funds, VentureWell supports creative pedagogical approaches that generate student teams working on technology solutions to real-world problems. One goal is for the strongest teams applying to participate in VentureWell’s E-Team Program. VentureWell has funded over 720 new courses or programs through faculty grants, and three out of four report that they are planning to continue their course or program beyond the grant period, thereby institutionalizing this experiential learning opportunity.

VentureWell encourages proposals that involve students, faculty, and advisors from engineering, science, business, design, and liberal arts disciplines, as well as groups traditionally underrepresented in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including women and underrepresented minorities. Proposals may include plans for creating or improving an individual course, course sequence, minor, major, certificate program, incubator, accelerator, and other co- and extracurricular programs.

Faculty grants support educational courses or programs at the intersection of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship that lead to the creation and support of student teams.

Focus areas include, but are not limited to:

  • General (technology-based) entrepreneurship
  • New materials
  • Clean tech/renewable energy innovation
  • Technologies that address poverty alleviation and basic human needs (including, but not limited to water, sanitation, healthcare, energy, agriculture, shelter)
  • Tech-based entrepreneurship led by women and other underrepresented populations
  • Biomedical and healthcare innovation.

The more SPECIFIC, CLEAR, and COMPELLING your proposal is, the more competitive it will be. Typically, proposals have about a 20% chance of getting funded.

Successful proposals typically meet the following criteria:

  • A focus on technology entrepreneurship
  • Experiential learning by doing, and creative approaches to solving real world problems
  • The formation of student teams focused on technology inventions with positive social and/or environmental impact
  • A supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem for student teams to pursue commercialization
  • A plan for continuation of the course or program after VentureWell funding
  • Support new, or modify existing, courses and/or programs that lead to the formation of student teams
  • Help students gain entrepreneurial skills through experiential learning
  • Have a strong likelihood of continuing beyond the grant period and becoming part of a campus culture of innovation

Examples of projects that are NOT strong candidates for faculty grant funding include:

  • Courses and/or programs without a focus on technology innovation and/or entrepreneurship
  • Pure research projects
  • Courses and/or programs that are unlikely to continue beyond the grant period
  • Existing programs where there is little change or improvement proposed (i.e. ongoing support requests)
  • Course and programs that are disconnected from the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus / in the community
  • Courses and/or programs that do not lead to the creation of student teams
  • Proposals that do not demonstrate support for the most promising technologies and teams beyond the classroom/lab/club

2017 guidelines (2018 not yet available):

Number of Applications
Amount of Funding

Up to $30,000, one-to-three-year duration


Applicants are encouraged to consult with their Associate Deans for Research prior to internal submission to assure they meet eligibility criteria and their projects meet stated program objectives.

Submission Process

Step 1

For consideration as a finalist, investigators must submit the following proposal materials as a single PDF email attachment to Stephanie Endy at no later than 5:00pm on August 21, 2018:

  1. A one-page, 12-point font, one-inch margin cover letter, including PI name, department/division, school/college, project title and brief summary of the project, and
  2. A federal-grant-style biosketch (typically NIH or NSF).
Step 2

Final nominees will be notified of their selection by August 31, 2018.

Step 3

Final proposal must be received by the Office of Research Administration by October 31, 2018 at 5:00pm EST.

Step 4

Final proposal must be received by the sponsor by November 7, 2018 at 5:00pm EST.

(NOTE: This date is anticipated.)


Abstract or LOI to ORA Chosen Proposal Announced ORA Final Proposal Due Date Sponsor Submission Deadline Days Until Due
08/21/2018 08/31/2018 10/31/2018 11/07/2018 CLOSED