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TAP: Technology Acceleration Program

USTAR TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATION PROGRAM (TAP)

FY17 SPRING PROGRAM ANNOUNCEMENT

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

To watch a recording of the TAP information webinar, click here
To print a PDF of the webinar presentation, click here

UTAH SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND RESEARCH (USTAR) INITIATIVE

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 and 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.

TECHNOLOGY ACCELERATION PROGRAM (TAP)

The Technology Acceleration Program (TAP) is a USTAR competitive grant program that supports private sector technology development for Utah-based companies. While designed for start-ups and early stage companies, mature companies can apply to TAP for development of a new technology or product. Proposed work can include, but is not limited to, research and development, proof of concept, product validation, and product development. TAP grants must be used to accelerate the development and commercialization of a technology and project proposals must identify specific technical milestones leading to the proposed outcome.

In addition to the award, TAP awardees will receive non-material support, such as referral to USTAR’s partner networks, to assist in achieving technical and business milestones with the goal of commercial success.

ELIGIBILITY

  • Company must be Utah-based. To be considered Utah-based, a company must:
    • Be registered with the Utah Division of Corporations as an active, domestic, for-profit business entity in good standing
    • Maintain its principal place of business in Utah
  • TAP proposals should align with the targeted industry sectors identified by the USTAR Governing Authority (see below)
  • Applicants may not submit a TAP proposal if current TAP or UTAG grant will not be completed by the application deadline.
  • Proposed technology milestones for TAP funds must be at an initial technology readiness level (TRL) of 3-5. Milestone outcomes cannot exceed TRL 6. For information regarding TRLs, visit the Technology Readiness Levels page.
  • Misrepresentation of TRLs in order to apply for TCIP (TRL 6 and above) and TAP (TRL 3-5) simultaneously will result in immediate disqualification

Targeted Technology Sectors

USTAR is focused on the following targeted technology industry sectors for FY17 (July 1-June 30):

Automation and Robotics – 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, and Internet of Things (IoT).

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

Advanced Materials – Advanced materials are all fibers, coatings, composites, etc. that are engineered to enhance the efficiency of a product and include new materials or improvements to existing materials. Advanced materials can be applied to the creation of carbon composites, 3D printing advances, climate control, solar technology, water purification, sports, military equipment and textiles.

Big Data – 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 correlations to gather information on topics such as business trends, crime patterns, genome sequences, complex physical environments and more. USTAR does not fund app development or software solutions that do not have significant technical development requirements.

Energy and Clean Technology – Energy and clean technology encompasses products and processes that harness renewable and nonrenewable 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, medical device development, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, agriculture, genetics and healthcare IT.

APPLICATION PROCESS  

Stage 1. Provide a letter of intent that includes your proposal title, technology sector and estimated budget request to USTAR by March 13th at 5:00 p.m. A letter of intent is not required to submit a full proposal. Send letter of intent to TAPinfo@Utah.gov.

Stage 2. Applications will be accepted electronically at TAPUtah.com. Applicants will be required to create a profile and agree to all terms and conditions for the program. The website accepting online applications is optimized for the Google Chrome browser. The application requires submission of a GRAMA disclosure, W9, quad chart, white paper and scope of work. All submitted documents must be in PDF form. Applications are due March 29th at 5:00 p.m

The white paper should be no more than six pages, 1.5 spacing and no less than 12-point Arial font with one inch margins. The white paper should include:

  1. Introduction (suggested 1/2 – 1 page length): describe the overall technology or product and the market need. Technology description should include the current TRL, and the anticipated TRL upon completion of the TAP award.
  2. Technical approach (up to 2 pages suggested): Identify the technical milestones that must be achieved under this award. Include a description of the technical challenge, why addressing this technical challenge is critical for commercialization, the technical approach, technical risk and mitigation plan. A brief discussion of the technical risk and timeline for completion should be included. All milestones must be completed within 12-18 months.
  3. Team (1 page suggested): Describe the technical and management capabilities of the team. Include background and experience that will lead to milestone accomplishment. Describe the governance structure of your business, your business team and their credentials and experience.
  4. Market assessment and commercialization plan (up to 2 pages suggested): Provide a brief description of the intended market, competitors, innovation in your product that will allow it to compete in the market, as well as market size and potential revenue. Describe your commercialization plan, specifically addressing the path to market, regulatory path (if applicable), additional resources required and how they will be acquired.
  5. Economic Impact (1/2 – 1 page suggested): 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.
  6. Funding (1/2 page suggested): Please identify any private or government funds raised to date or pending. Include the source of funds and total amount raised. Describe potential matching funds. If USTAR funds have been used to date please specify the date awarded and amount. Travel outside of Utah must not only be necessary for milestone completion, but must also carry justification as to why the activity can not take place in the state and why the said destination is such. If work will be conducted outside the state of Utah, document the rationale and the portion of budget that will be used outside of Utah.

Stage 3. USTAR reserves the right to invite selected applicants to give a brief presentation to a review panel. A presentation template will be provided in that instance.

STATE FISCAL YEAR

The state’s fiscal year is July 1 – June 30.  

FUNDING SPECIFICATIONS

USTAR receives an annual appropriation. Therefore funding for TAP 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.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

An independent panel of technical experts, business and investments experts and government staff will review TAP proposals facilitated by USTAR. Panelists will be prescreened for conflict of interest. Proprietary material should be marked as such. An initial screen will be conducted by USTAR staff to ensure proposals meet the eligibility criteria.

Peer review panels will review proposals based on the following criteria:

  • Technical merit
  • Strength and maturity of company and management
  • Potential for economic impact, as measured by:
    • Job creation
    • Product sales
    • Potential revenue due to expansion of current business or development of new businesses
    • And projected time to revenue or job creation
  • Market need, technical and management experience and qualifications
  • Reasonableness of cost proposal (size and allocation of budget is appropriate for the work proposed and matching funds available)
  • Reasonableness of proposed milestones and timelines
  • Any other factor indicative of applicant’s ability to produce measurable and timely impacts on the state in areas related to the economic development performance metrics used to evaluate USTAR activities.

SCORING RUBRIC FOR TAP

Technical Merits (score 1-5)

Technical merits (score 5)

  • Appropriate TRL 3-5
  • Milestones are specific and measurable and aligned to technology goals
  • Technical approach demonstrates a strong understanding and application of technology development best practices
  • Technical approach has high likelihood of success, is well defined and considers alternative approaches if the original is not successful
  • Reasonable timeframe for development

Technical merits (score 3)

  • Semi-appropriate TRL
  • Milestones are not specific or measurable, but align to technology goals
  • Technical approach demonstrates basic understanding and application of technology development best practices
  • Technical approach has a high likelihood of success and is well defined but no or little discussion of alternative approaches
  • Timeframe is not well defined or is unattainable

Technical merits (score 1)

  • Not the appropriate TRL
  • Milestones are not specific or measurable and do not align to technology goals
  • Approach does not illustrate understanding of tech development best practices
  • Technical approach lacks detail or has low chance of success with no discussion of alternative approaches
  • Development timeframe is not reasonable

Potential Economic Impact in Utah (score 1-5)

Economic Impact in Utah (score 5)

  • Company will expand high wage jobs in the state in the next 2-3 years
  • High revenue and sales demonstrated in 2-3 years
  • Significant funding leveraged from private or public sources and ongoing funding opportunities demonstrated

Economic Impact in Utah (score 3)

  • Company will create high wage jobs in the state over the next 5-7 years
  • Moderate sales and revenue expected in 5-7 years
  • Moderate funding secured from private or public source with ongoing funding opportunities outlined

Economic Impact in Utah (score 1)

  • Minimal job creation in Utah in 7-10 years
  • Revenue outlook is minimal and with long lead time, 7-10 years
  • None or minimal funding raised from public or private sector with no ongoing funding opportunities provided

Market Need/Commercialization Plan (score 1-5)

Market need for the product (score 5)

  • Clear potential market identified
  • Company can provide data driven definition of market and total addressable market
  • Specific plan identified to take the technology to market
  • Technology has defined market advantage to current competitors
  • Aligns to targeted technology sectors

Market need for the product (score 3)

  • Potential market identified
  • Company can provide data driven definition of market
  • General plan identified to take the technology to market
  • Technology has some market advantage to current competitors
  • Aligns to targeted technology sectors

Market need for the product (score 1)

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

Management Team Capabilities  (score 1-5)

Management team’s capabilities/experience (score 5)

  • Demonstrates strong capabilities and experience for market success
  • Has previous experience in starting and/or scaling successful companies
  • Governance structure including a board are in place  

Management team’s capabilities/experience (score 3)

  • Capabilities and experience demonstrate potential for market success
  • Has previous experience in starting and/or scaling companies
  • Governance structure unclear

Management team’s capabilities/experience (score 1)

  • Does not demonstrate the capabilities and experience for potential market success
  • Management team does not have experience with starting and/or scaling companies
  • Governance structure has not been established

Technical Capability of Team (score 1-5)

Technical capabilities/experience of the team (score 5)

  • Has the technical background and experience to meet the milestones identified in the proposal and experience in taking technology to market
  • Has experience working together
  • Diversity of technical expertise to overcome challenges

Technical capabilities/experience of the team (score 3)

  • Sufficient technical credentials to meet the milestones identified in the proposal, but does not have prior experience with taking technology to market
  • Some experience working together
  • Some team diversity, but gaps exist in expertise to accomplish milestones

Technical capabilities/experience of the team (score 1)

  • The team does not have the adequate technical capabilities and experience for market success
  • Team does not have experience working together as a team
  • No diversity of technical expertis

Realism of Costs (score 1-5)

Realism of the proposed costs (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 and expenses are reasonable and appropriate for the work

Realism of the proposed costs (score 3)

  • Proposed budget may be insufficient or more than necessary to complete the work
  • The personnel budgets provide inadequate/ or over stated the hours for the work to be completed
  • Categories and expenses are generally acceptable

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

  • Proposed budget is not realistic
  • The personnel budgets are inappropriate
  • Cost categories and expenses are unreasonable and not appropriate for the work

AWARD

USTAR has the discretion to determine the maximum amount of grant funding awarded based on available funds and quality of applicant pool. Upon award of the TAP grant, and prior to any disbursement of funds, the company must enter into a written agreement with USTAR governing the use of grant funding. Unless addressed in the terms and conditions of the written agreement between company and USTAR, the following provisions shall apply:

  • Company must remain a Utah-based company for at least five years from initial disbursement of TAP funding
  • Company may not use TAP grant funding to provide a primary benefit to any state other than Utah
  • For all other eligibility requirements, company must maintain eligibility status for the TAP program until the project is complete, all milestones have been met, final disbursement of funding has been made, and first year reporting has been completed
  • Funding will be contingent on successful completion of milestones and availability of appropriated funds. 50% of the FY milestone amounts will be given up front with the remaining amount to be disbursed upon milestone completion and verification of deliverable

A company that violates the requirements above forfeits the grant funding and may be required to repay all or a portion of funds received as part of the TAP grant.

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 Technology Acceleration Program rules for a minimum of five years following completion of award.

Prior to disbursement of funds, awardees may be required to demonstrate that they are properly authorized to operate in the state of Utah (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, etc.). Awardees will be required to meet program milestones and to meet regularly with USTAR staff to assess progress on milestones.  

If the company moves out of Utah or is acquired in 5 years, awardee may be required to pay the state back as stated in the TAP terms and conditions.

Schedule of disbursement of funds will be defined in the contract.  Awards will be for no more than 18 months.

Award Timeline:

USTAR anticipates announcing selected proposals within 45 days of the closing date , and contracts will be given within 45 days following announcements.

Contact Information

Questions regarding TAP must be submitted in writing via email to TAPinfo@utah.gov. Inquiries made via any other method will not be accepted. In the interest of assuring fairness, all frequently asked questions and answers will be posted under TAP Questions on the USTAR website

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