NEW E-Team Program The E-Team Program is for college and university-based innovators and entrepreneurs. An expansion of our previously awarded E-Team grants, the E-Team Program provides early-stage funding of up to $75,000, along with training, coaching, and investment opportunity for teams working on market-based technology inventions.
Upcoming application deadlines: May 10, 2013
Course and Program grants help faculty strengthen existing programs or build new courses in invention, innovation, and technology entrepreneurship. Award amounts are up to $50,000.
Upcoming application deadlines: May 10, 2013, November 8, 2013
Sustainable Vision supports transformational educational programs and/or courses where breakthrough technologies are created and commercialized for the benefit of people living in poverty in the US and abroad. Award amounts are up to $50,000.
NCIIA funds projects with the potential to change the world and welcomes participation from faculty and students engaged in technology invention, innovation and entrepreneurship. NCIIA places special emphasis on the following sector and market focus areas. Projects outside these areas of focus are also welcome to apply.
Polytorx | Developed Helix, a new steel fiber additive for concrete reinforcement. US market.
Ecovative Design | Developed Ecocradle, a biodegradable alternative to polystyrene/Styrofoam packaging. US market.
Whole Tree | Creates technical innovations (such as auto parts) from renewable natural resources, such as coconut husks. US market (materials sourced from developing markets).
NCIIA has recently placed additional emphasis on the broad cleantech sector. Historically we have seen many cleantech applications to our E-Team Program, in areas like solar lighting, sanitation, water, and engineered products based on agriculture waste material. We currently have special Stage One E-Team Program funding available for projects in this sector. I-Conserve | Wireless sensor that monitors and adjusts household energy use to maximize efficiency. US market.
Greenlight Planet | Solar-charged, battery-powered LED lanterns that are healthier, more economical, less dangerous, and less polluting then petroleum lanterns. Emerging markets.
Solar Ivy | Solar panel array for use on building facades. US market.
Twig Light (Daylight Solutions) | Uses existing waste energy to produce clean electric light inside homes. Emerging markets.
Afghan briquettes project (Afghans for Tomorrow) | School-based initiative that provides classes and lessons for children, and also teaches children to produce fuel briquettes as a business opportunity.
Antenatal screening kit | Delivers low-cost healthcare to women in remote locations, using a variety of custom markers pre-filled with reagents for screening tests. Piloted in Nepal.
Global Healthare Technologies Program | Course at Northwestern University where students work with front-line healthcare workers to design medical devices specifically for the developing world.
NCIIA is an active supporter of university biomedical engineering programs. We run two competitions for biomedical engineering students, BMEStart and BMEIdea, from which many students progress to our E-Team Program. Many of our E-Team Program reviewers bring technical expertise in biomedical engineering, ensuring appropriate grant application assessments.
Intelliject | Convenient epinephrine auto-injector that can be carried in a wallet. US market.
Marrowminer | Innovative device and method for rapidly harvesting bone marrow and the stem cells bone marrow contains.
Onebreath | Low-cost ventilator for use in developing nations and disaster relief efforts.
PneumoniaCheck | Effective and inexpensive device for obtaining samples to test for pneumonia. Emerging markets.
This grant supports a new course in entrepreneurship at Michigan State University (MSU). Currently, the College of Engineering at MSU generates a number of invention disclosures every year from student-faculty teams, but the question of whether a business opportunity exists or not isn’t typically addressed.
The new course will introduce select students and faculty working on IP-generating projects to the entrepreneurial process (opportunity identification, IP strategy, market research, operations, financial analysis, etc.); provide students with a multidisciplinary team experience by including business students on each of the projects; and provide teams with experience in developing formal product feasibility and business plans, submitting them to Michigan’s Great Lakes Entrepreneurship Quest Competition and gaining “real-world” feedback. The program is integrated with university engagement in local economic development programs and has support from those programs for mentoring and support of successful student teams.
Laparoscopic surgery is a growing surgical technique in which operations in the abdomen are performed through very small incisions (0.5-1.5 cm) compared to the larger incisions needed in traditional, open surgical procedures. Patients that undergo laparoscopic surgery enjoy shorter hospital stays and reduced instances of surgery-inflicted morbidity.
This E-Team is taking laparoscopy a step further, developing a set of laparoscopic tools that enable surgery with extremely small incisions leaving no visible scars by enabling assembly of complex tools inside the patient. Existing scar-free techniques are burdened by steep learning curves and high costs, but the E-Team’s device, called ENGAGE™, requires minimal surgeon re-training and aligns with current insurance reimbursement plans.
Approximately two million babies die each year from acute respiratory infections (ARI), almost all in developing countries. Many neonatal ARI patients in the developing world do not receive proper treatment because hospitals can’t afford ventilators, which cost $6,000 on average.
To combat the problem, this E-Team, calling itself infantAIR, is developing BabyBubbles, a low cost ventilation system for use in developing countries. The device uses a continuous positive airway pressure system, which works by maintaining positive airway pressure during spontaneous breathing, increasing lung volume at the end of exhalation, preventing the collapse of the airway structure, and improving oxygenation. The device helps to keep a baby’s lungs fully inflated so he or she can breathe naturally.
The team is aiming to implement the device in Rwandan hospitals first, followed by worldwide dissemination.
Update: In the summer of 2012, the infantAir team won $2m in funding through the Gates Foundation.
The laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove the gallbladder, is one of the most frequent surgeries performed in the United States, with an estimated 922,000 performed annually. Although laparoscopic removal significantly decreases surgical risk and recovery time, difficulties can arise when removing a gallstone-ridden gallbladder through a twelve-millimeter port. An important step in the surgery occurs when the physician puts the gallbladder into a laparoscopic retrieval bag (endobag); gallstones bulge at the bottom of the bag and can become wedged in the removal site.
To solve the problem, this E-Team is designing an endobag that employs cross-linked synthetic fibers nestled between pieces of polyurethane to create a structure similar to a novelty finger trap. When the surgeon pulls up, the contents inside the endobag lineate (form lines) due to the resulting radial force, preventing bulging of the gallbladder during extraction. The device integrates with the current procedure and tools; no new techniques or equipment are necessary.
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign, 2010 - $20,000
This E-Team is developing IntelliWheels, an after-market addition to off-the-shelf wheelchairs that significantly decreases the effort it takes to propel manual wheelchairs. IntelliWheels uses a gear shifting system to make pushing a wheelchair easier: the user moves forward, backward, and turns by pushing on the hand rims on either side like normal, but two automatic transmissions continuously change gears to keep the user operating in the most efficient way possible. This happens automatically, without the user thinking about it or needing to do anything.
The team built one prototype already, but it did not perform well. The team is now looking to build on what was learned from the first prototype and continue the development of IntelliWheels into a viable product and business focused on the US market.