Mi-TRAC Mid-Stage Funding

Mi-TRAC Awards are a part of the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub – a statewide program that accelerates the transfer of technologies from Michigan’s institutions of higher education to the private sector for commercialization. Made possible by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, and co-managed by FFMI and U-M Office of Tech Transfer, the awards provide mid-stage, translational research funding and resources for proof-of-concept and late-stage translational studies with a high potential of commercial success.

Mi-TRAC Awards offer funding in the range of $100K-$250K, with all awarded projects requiring a cost share from the investigator/institution. They are given once a year in January, with the call for proposals deadline in September. CLICK HERE to submit a proposal. Award winners receive regulatory guidance, business plan development, and mentorship from industry and investment experts.

Projects funded by Mi-TRAC Awards enhance the internal innovation pipeline for long-term success in commercialization. And while invention reports and IP licensing are important milestones for Mi-TRAC projects, positive impacts to human health – as well as job creation – are the ultimate measures of success. We invite you to browse our portfolio of successful projects and faculty innovators.

Frequently Asked Questions

Proposals will be accepted from investigators at any Michigan institute of higher education, non-profit research center and hospital system.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub offers two funding tiers – “Mi-Kickstart” awards offer early-stage funding in the $25K-$30K range, and “Mi-TRAC” awards offer mid-stage funding in the $100K-$200K range. Mi-Kickstart awards are given quarterly, with proposals for these early-stage awards due November 1, February 1, May 1, and August 1 of each year. Mi-TRAC awards are given once a year, with proposals for these mid-stage awards typically due in September.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub is using the University of Michigan’s Competition Space to manage the proposal submission process for both Mi-Kickstart early-stage and Mi-TRAC mid-stage awards. Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of scientific-merit, potential health care impact and significance, the potential for commercialization, and the likelihood of obtaining further support. It is highly recommended to contact Michelle Larkin, MSE, MTRAC Program Director & Sr. Biomedical Innovation Specialist (michcote@umich.edu or 734-615-7886) to discuss your proposal before submission.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub provides resources to support translational projects in the life sciences with high commercial potential. Funding focuses on four specific market segments, or “verticals”: devices, diagnostics, therapeutics and healthcare IT. Mi-Kickstart early-stage awards fund preliminary studies, development activities, and milestone setting. Mi-TRAC mid-stage awards include funding for proof-of-concept and late-stage translational studies, regulatory guidance, business plan development and mentorship from industry and investment experts.

Project budgets depend on the scope of work and technology. Funds dispersed depend on achievement of prospectively agreed upon milestones, which are project specific. Previously funded Mi-Kickstart proposals range in budget from $25K to $30K , and Mi-TRAC proposals have ranged from $100-200K .

Note that all budgets will require a 50% cost share from the investigator/institution. Contact Michelle Larkin, MSE, MTRAC Program Director & Sr. Biomedical Innovation Specialist (michcote@umich.edu or 734-615-7886) for details related to budgets, cost share options, indirect costs, etc.

Allowable budget expenditures include: salary and fringe benefits for project personnel, materials and supplies, equipment, travel and other (to be discussed with MTRAC staff on a case-by-case basis). Tuition support is not available through the MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub.

The MTRAC for Life Sciences Innovation Hub Oversight Committee comprises global biotech business experts, as well as leaders in translational science and tech transfer from the participating institutions across Michigan.

The review process consists of multiple steps. Mi-Kickstart proposals are reviewed and awarded quarterly by the Oversight Committee. For Mi-TRAC proposals, a review team (a subset of the Oversight Committee) performs an initial review of proposals, selecting those that have significant commercial potential for an in-person presentation. Projects which are not selected for further review are provided with feedback, and often redirected to apply for Mi-Kickstart early-stage funding.

The selected Mi-TRAC proposal teams then present their idea directly to the Oversight Committee at the committee’s annual meeting in Ann Arbor in January, and awards are granted shortly thereafter.

In addition to reviewing and selecting proposal awards, members of the Oversight Committee and their colleague networks serve an informal mentorship role to research teams as their projects progress. Members of the Oversight Committee may also choose to be the lead mentor for a specific project depending on need.


Have questions about Mi-TRAC mid-stage funding? Contact Michelle Larkin, MSE, MTRAC Program Manager & Sr. Biomedical Innovation Specialist, at michcote@umich.edu or 734-615-7886.