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IPP Program Announcement


To print a PDF of this announcement, click here
Click here to view the Admin Rules for IPP


USTAR is the State of Utah’s technology catalyst, accelerating the growth of the innovation ecosystem from invention through product development. Guided by Utah’s economic clusters, USTAR supports technology entrepreneurs and innovators through training, funding, incubator and accelerator programs; brokering technology transfer by connecting capital, management and industry; addressing market gaps in Utah’s technology ecosystem and strengthening the state’s research capacity.


Synergistic, productive partnership between industry and public or non-profit institutions of higher education are critical for a robust innovation ecosystem. The IPP is designed to build and strengthen these relationships within the state of Utah and is developed based on best practices from other states’ industry partnership programs.

The  IPP promotes the development, acceleration and commercialization of technology and innovation by teaming industry and university research expertise to address specific technology problems or gaps identified by a company. The program is open to companies that have a substantial presence in Utah, have identified a specific technology challenge whose solution would result in economic impact for the state.  IPP proposals cannot be used to support an existing industry-university collaboration with an existing technology.
Once a company identifies an eligible project, the potential industry partner identifies the appropriate university researcher for partnering.  Alternatively, USTAR may use it’s academic network in the state to identify potential university research partners. The industry partner and the researcher or research team will develop a joint proposal to present to USTAR. USTAR funding is awarded to the academic researcher or research team through the University’s Office of Sponsored Projects.  The industry partner commits to a minimum of 1:1 matching funds by direct payment to the University, in-kind support or a combination.  The completed application must be submitted by an authorized body within the university. Proposals will be reviewed by a panel of experts and final funding decisions will be made by the USTAR Governing Authority.


  • Strengthen the industry-university partnership
  • Accelerate commercialization and market entry through partnership
  • Address technology gaps for established companies
  • Experience the practicalities of commercial technology development
  • Provide students with first hand knowledge of applied science and prompt career path opportunities
  • Increase jobs and revenue for existing companies


The following eligibility criteria apply to both the Industry partner and the university researcher(s).

  • Proposal must be jointly developed by a Utah-based company and a Utah based institution of higher learning (public or non-profit)
  • Research entity must be authorized by the institution and the proposal must be submitted through the university’s Office of Sponsored Projects.
  • An authorized representative from the company must certify that:
    • The company lacks technical capacity to resolve stated technology gap
    • The proposed university researcher/research team has the skills and equipment to resolve the technology gap
    • The company commits to provide a cost-share contribution in the form of a defined amount of funding paid to the university and/or in-kind contributions
    • The ownership of IP generated through the project has been determined in writing
    • Company must have a substantial presence in Utah:
      • If the company has 8 full time equivalent employees or less, at least 50% must be employed in Utah
      • If the company has 9-36 full time equivalent employees, at least 4 employees or 25%, whichever is greater, must be employed in Utah
      • If the company has over 36 full time equivalents, at least 10 people must be employed in Utah
      • Or, as approved by USTAR’s Governing Authority
  • Company must pledge a matching contribution to support the project, which may be provided via
    • Direct payment to university for the research project
    • and/or in-kind contribution
  • The industry partner may be required to repay the USTAR contribution to the IPP project, if, within a period of five years after the award, the industry partner no longer maintains operations in Utah.


USTAR is focused on the following targeted industries, though other industry technology sectors can apply.

Aerospace – Aerospace is concerned with aeronautics and astronautics. Areas for research include, but are not limited to, innovative approaches in aerodynamics, advanced materials, engineering of aircraft and spacecraft and the autonomous control of aircraft. This includes both manned and unmanned systems.

Automation and Robotics (including IoT and Smart City technologies) – Automation technology is the use of cutting-edge machinery in industrial applications to minimize human exertion. Robotics is the branch of automation that deals with the design, construction, operation and application of robots, as well as computer systems for their control, sensory feedback and information processing.

Big Data and Cybersystems – Big data is a term for data sets that are so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate. Challenges include analysis, capture, data curation, search, sharing, storage, transfer, visualization, querying and information privacy. Analysis of data sets can find new relationships to gather information on topics such as business trends, crime patterns, genome sequences, complex physical environments and more.

Cybersystems is an overarching term related to computerized electrical and mechanical processes, as well as information generation and large capacity, rapid access storage, as well as data encryption, data security against breaches and data retrieval technologies. USTAR wishes to inspire creation and development of new strategies to prevent attacks on computer system networks and develop new encryption tools and computer hardware with a line of sight toward the next generation of computer hardware.  

Note: software application development and software subscription services are not considered in scope for this funding mechanism.

Energy and Clean Technology – Energy and clean technology encompasses products and processes that harness renewable and nonrenewable advanced materials to dramatically reduce the use of natural resources, cut emissions and waste, and provide options for efficient energy storage and usage.

Life Sciences – Life science is defined as the study of living organisms from a cellular, molecular, or macroscopic perspective. Research in this area includes, but is not limited to advanced materials applicable to devices and drug delivery, medical device development, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, agriculture, and genetics


If you have a technology gap and would like to use IPP to explore partnering with a university researcher, please contact USTAR’s Special Programs Office at or 801.538.8672.


Applicants are required to initiate a discussion with USTAR’s Special Programs Office prior to beginning the proposal. With USTAR consent, industry applicants are directed to the USTAR website to obtain the application materials. Components of the application include:  

  1. White Paper (create document with each subsection) Do not exceed six pages, 1.5 spacing and no less than 12-point Arial font with one inch margins. (See specifics on graphs, tables and supplemental material below.) The white paper must be presented in NON-CONFIDENTIAL terms and must include the following:
    • Introduction: Describe the overall technology background, problem being solved in terms of unmet need, innovation (disruptive-transformational-incremental improvement over state-of-the-art), rationale and overall approach.
    • Technical Strategy: For each project milestone describe the technical approach, the expected outcome(s) and specific deliverable(s). Include limitations and alternative approaches.  The timeline for completion must be stated. The entire project period must not exceed 18 months.
    • Commercial Market Strategy: Describe the business model and commercialization strategies of the company, such as the intended market, competitors, innovation in your product that will allow it to compete in the market, as well as market size and realistic revenue stream if company is successful. Related to the commercialization plan, address the path to market, regulatory path (if applicable), additional resources required and how they will be acquired.
    • Economic Impact: Characterize the potential economic impact on the state of Utah if your company is successful in taking the technology to market. This can include job creation, product sales and potential revenue. The economic impact description should also include anticipated time to market. Indicate if resources, such as manufacturing or supplies, will be sourced within Utah.
    • Cited references are public domain articles and scientific literature.  These are not counted in the page limit.
    • Graphs and Tables are best embedded in the text and count toward the page limit. The font may be 10 pt or larger.  
  1. Scope of Work – (download template) This is a breakdown of the project by milestone.  Use the provided template to present your research plan according to milestones, their corresponding deliverable(s), budget and timeline.  Use the chart template to illustrate milestone activity relative to the total grant period. An example chart is provided.
  2. Budget and Budget Justification: (download templates)
    • Follow the budget template; there are 3 worksheets
    • Use of funds for travel outside of Utah is discouraged. If necessary for milestone completion, document the specific activity, the rationale and the portion of the budget that will be used.
    • Any required equipment in the budget that exceeds $5,000 will require justification.
    • In the justification, identify any private or government funds raised to date or pending. Include the source of funds and total amount raised. If USTAR funds have been used to date, please specify the date awarded and amount.
    • If anticipating additional funding to supplement the proposed project, describe the amount and source specifically.
    • USTAR IPP funding cannot be used to cover preparation or filing of patents
    • Budgets are restricted to director costs; USTAR does not pay overhead under any circumstances.
    • Matching funds are required for IPP. Complete the budget justification template and state the matching dollars and the source.  For in-kind support give the dollar value and the type of support offered. Cost sharing funds may be provided via:
      • Direct dollar contribution from the institution
      • In-kind contribution such as:
        • Cost of subject matter experts (SME)
        • Materials and equipment
        • Work/research space
        • Travel and other expenses budgeted for the project
        • Or other contributions, as approved by USTAR
        • Funds derived from USTAR programs cannot be used for   cost-matching
  3. Key Personnel Biosketch: (download template) Use one template for each key person not to exceed 5 pages per Biosketch.
    • Personal statement –  background and experience that will lead to milestone accomplishment
    • Technical and/or management contribution to the project


The state’s fiscal year is July 1 – June 30. Please use Fiscal Year designation (FY18, FY19 or FY20 as appropriate) in developing your budget and Scope of Work.


USTAR receives an annual appropriation from the State budget. Therefore, funding for IPP is dependent on USTAR’s appropriation. There is no minimum/maximum or suggested amount. Budgets and proposals should be driven by the cost associated with the milestones.  


A panel of experts convened by USTAR will use a scoring  system to evaluate and rank grant applications and determine grant amounts. The scoring system covers:

  • A determination that the project goals are reasonably obtainable with the proposed technical approach and milestones; within the anticipated timeline
  • Proposed objectives will be achieved in a period not to exceed 18 months
  • Potential for economic impact, as measured by:
    • Potential revenue due to expansion of current business or development of new business line
    • Product sales
    • Projected time to revenue or job creation
  • Commercialization plan/market need of technology
  • Technical capabilities and experience of the team
  • Realism of the proposed costs and commitment of matching funds
  • Management team’s capabilities and experience that will lead to market success
  • Technical team’s capabilities and experience that will support market success

All reviewers are provided with standard USTAR evaluation and NDA forms. Proposals will be reviewed on the following criteria:

Scoring Rubric for USTAR Industry Partnership Program (IPP)

Technical Merits (score 1-5)  weighted 25%

Technical merits (score 5)

  • Milestones are specific and measurable, and aligned with technology goals.
  • Approach demonstrates a strong understanding and application of technology development best practices and are not to exceed 18 months.
  • Technical approach has high likelihood of success, is well defined and considers alternative approaches if the original is not successful.
  • Timeline for development is reasonable.

Technical merits (score 3)

  • Milestones are not specific or measurable, but align with technology goals.
  • Approach demonstrates basic understanding and application of technology development best practices.
  • Technical approach has a high likelihood of success and is well defined.
  • Timeline for development is reasonable.

Technical merits (score 1)

  • Milestones are not specific or measurable and do not align with technology goals.
  • Approach does not illustrate understanding of technology development best practices.
  • Technical approach lacks detail or has low chance of success.
  • Development timeline is not reasonable.

Potential Economic Impact in Utah (score 1-5)  weighted 20%

Economic Impact in Utah (score 5)

  • Company will increase high wage jobs in the state in the next 2-3 years.
  • High revenue and/or sales anticipated.

Economic Impact in Utah (score 3)

  • Company will create high paying jobs in the state over the next 5-7 years.
  • Company will create low or middle income jobs in the state.
  • Moderate sales and revenue expected in 5-7 years.

Economic Impact in Utah (score 1)

  • No job creation in Utah.
  • Revenue outlook is minimal and with long lead time,  >10 years.

Market Need/Commercialization Plan (score 1-5)  weighted 10%

Market need for the product (score 5)

  • Clear potential market identified.
  • Company provided data driven definition of market.
  • Specific plan identified to take the technology to market.
  • Technology has defined market advantage to current competitors.
  • Aligns with USTAR targeted technology sectors.

Market need for the product: (score 3)

  • Market not ill-defined.
  • Data driven definition of market not convincing.
  • Plan to take the technology to market is not clear.
  • Technology market advantage over current competitors not substantiated.
  • Acceptable alignment with USTAR targeted technology sectors.

Market need for the product (score 1)

  • Market not identified, or market potential small.
  • No clear market advantage for this product.
  • Does not align to USTAR targeted technology sectors.
  • Unclear or undefined plan to take product to market.

Management Team Capabilities (score 1-5)   weighted 15%

Management team’s capabilities/experience that will lead to market success (score 5)

  • Management team demonstrates strong capabilities and experience for market success.
  • Management team has strategy and capacity to take technology to market and launch products.

Management team’s capabilities/experience that will lead to market success (score 3)

  • Management team’s capabilities and experience demonstrate potential for market success.
  • Management team has the possibility to take technology to market and launch products.

Management team’s capabilities/experience that will lead to market success (score 1)

  • Management team does not have sufficient capabilities to produce or market technology.

Technical Capabilities of Each Team (score 1-5)   weighted 15%

Technical capabilities/experience of each team that enable market success (score 5)

  • Each team has the technical background and experience to meet the milestones identified in the proposal.
  • Each team has experience working together with a history of success.
  • Each team has diversity of technical expertise to overcome challenges.

Technical capabilities/experience of the team that enable market success (score 3)

  • One or the other  team has sufficient technical credentials to meet the milestones identified in the proposal.  
  • Each team has minimal experience working together

Technical capabilities/experience of the team that will enable market success (score 1)

  • Team does not have the adequate technical capabilities and experience for market success
  • Team does not have experience working together as a team

Business Team Capabilities (score 1-5)  weighted 10%

Business team’s capabilities/experience that will enable market success (score 5)

  • The team demonstrates appropriate business experience
  • The team has successfully taken startups to market
  • The team has successfully pitched to angel investors and secured funding

Business team’s capabilities/experience that will enable market success (score 3)

  • The team demonstrates sufficient business experience
  • The team has some experience in taking start-ups to market
  • The team has experience pitching to angel investors and securing funding

Business team’s capabilities/experience that will enable market success (score 1)

  • The team does not have ample business experience
  • The team has no experience taking start-ups to market
  • The team has not been successful in pitching to angel investors or securing funding

Realism of costs (score 1-5)  weighted 5%

Realism of the proposed costs and availability of funds (score 5)

  • Proposed budget is both adequate and sufficient to complete the proposed work
  • The personnel budgets provide adequate hours for the work to be completed
  • Categories of expenses are reasonable and appropriate for the work

Realism of the proposed costs and availability of funds (score 3)

  • Proposed budget may be insufficient or more than necessary to complete the work

Realism of the proposed costs and availability of funds (score 1)

  • Not realistic in proposal of cost


Funds will be disbursed on schedule defined in the USTAR contract with the university. Awardees will be required to meet program milestones and to meet regularly with USTAR staff to assess progress on milestones. Funding will be contingent on successful completion of milestones and availability of appropriated funds. Verification of receipt of company matching funds will be required. Awardees will be contractually obligated to report to USTAR or affiliated auditors/contractors regarding jobs created and salary ranges, follow-on investment, revenue, sales and other information as outlined in the Industry Partnership rules for a minimum of five years following completion of award.


Questions regarding the Industry Partnership Program must be submitted in writing via email. Inquiries made via phone or other method will not be accepted. All questions should be directed to 

All frequently asked questions and answers will be posted under IPP Questions.

Contact Us
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