How to Apply

Advanced E-Team




Course and Program Grant Guidelines
2004-2005 deadlines: December 3, 2004 and May 13, 2005
Please print these guidelines for reference.

About NCIIA Course and Program grants

Course and Program grants are awarded to institutions for the purpose of strengthening existing curricular programs or building new programs in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Successful Course and Program grant proposals present creative pedagogical approaches that generate and deploy E-Teams, bringing real-life applications into the classroom setting and beyond.

Course and Program grants range in size from $2,000 to $50,000; the grant period is one to three years. Annual application deadlines are in December and May.

Proposal evaluation criteria
We favor proposals for courses and programs which:

  • Introduce curricula that incorporate affordable design, social entrepreneurship, and other approaches that meet basic human needs and environmental issues.

  • Stimulate the formation of E-Teams and promote the E-Team learning experience

  • Encourage E-Teams to generate new technologies and businesses to meet basic human needs and address environmental issues, creating economically self-sustaining business and non-profit models.

  • Generate balanced teams or curricula that are multidisciplinary, involving students and advisors from technical, business, and humanities disciplines, as well as groups traditionally underrepresented in invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship, including women and minorities

  • Create opportunities for high quality group learning experiences.

  • Move beyond academic exercises to real-life business interaction, and create viable collaborative opportunities for participants from both academe and industry.

  • Demonstrate an institutional commitment to and plan for supporting the proposed course or program on an ongoing basis beyond the grant period.

  • Show access to necessary resources from the institution (e.g., computers, work space, lab equipment).

  • Demonstrate the commitment of the institution and faculty members to support the efforts of E-Teams that wish to continue their work after the course ends.

Projects that make a difference
The NCIIA places a high value on grant proposals that demonstrate concern for the earth and the health and welfare of humans. We encourage our members to find creative approaches to addressing such issues as poverty, disease, and environmental degradation through affordable design, technologies that solve critical problems and meet basic human needs (such as food, water, shelter, health, safety, and education), and pedagogical approaches that encourage awareness of and interest in these global issues. Course and program grant proposals may focus on introducing these issues to students with a design course, adding socially-focused E-Teams to an existing entrepreneurship course, or developing an entirely original program to engage students in problem-solving endeavors.

Use of grant funds
Grant funds may be used for supplies, equipment, or expenses related to curricular development and course or program realization. Grant funds do not cover institutional overhead or faculty salaries, but can provide faculty stipends of up to $5,000. We award grants to institutions under the supervision of the principal investigator, who allocates funds as needed. Equipment and other resources purchased with grant funds become the property of the institution.

Eligible expenses>>

Ineligible expenses>>

IP requirements
The NCIIA fosters student invention and entrepreneurship with the expectation that some student innovators will commercialize their services or products. We require sponsoring institutions to sign an agreement with The Lemelson Foundation when a grant is awarded. The agreement states in part that ownership of discoveries or inventions resulting from activities financed by NCIIA grants will be governed by grantee institutions’ intellectual property policies. If a school does not have an intellectual property policy, then the institution must develop an E-Team agreement that establishes ownership of ideas resulting from E-Team work. The NCIIA and The Lemelson Foundation take no financial or ownership interest in the projects funded by these grants. We supply copies of the grant agreement on request.

View our database of intellectual property policies>>

How to apply for a Course and Program grant

  1. Find out what we fund and confirm that your project is a match.
    NCIIA grant proposals are reviewed by panels of busy professionals who volunteer their time. Please respect their efforts by ensuring that your project aligns with the mission and the requirements of the NCIIA. The links below provide the background information you will need.

    About the NCIIA>>
    About The Lemelson Foundation>>

    Course and Program grants awarded in 2003-2004>>

    Searchable database of all NCIIA Course and Program grants>>

  2. Make sure your institution's membership is current through the grant application deadline.
    Only faculty and staff from current NCIIA member institutions are eligible to apply for Course and Program grants. If your institution's membership expires before the grant application deadline, the system will not accept your application.

    Confirm your institution's membership status>>

    Apply for NCIIA membership on behalf of your institution>>

  3. Assemble your team
    Be sure those participating in your project reflect the skills required to perform the project well. Gather contact information (telephone numbers, mailing, and e-mail addresses) for all participants. You will need the support of and contact information for the following:

    • Principal Investigator (PI): the faculty/staff member taking primary responsibility for the project
    • Administrative Contact (AC): a grants administrator or fiscal officer authorized to commit the institution to the terms of the grant. Often, the AC works in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs or the Office of Contracts and Grants.
    • Departmental Chair

      NOTE: The PI and the AC may not be the same person.

      Important! On page two of the online application is the Verification of Support for Grant Application. When you complete this section, your AC, PI, and Department Chair will all receive e-mail messages requesting verification of their support. They must reply to this message for your proposal to be reviewed. This process takes time. Do not wait until the last minute to complete this section!

  4. Prepare your proposal and plan your evaluation
    For your grant proposal, you should prepare
    • An abstract of 250 words or less
    • An uploadable narrative description of the project, limited to 5 single-spaced pages in 12-pt Times font. You will upload this file in MSWord or PDF format. See link below for narrative requirements.
    • Proposal appendices, limited to 1MB per appendix. You will upload these files in PDF, Word, Excel, URL, jpeg, tiff, or gif format only. See link below for appendix requirements.

    Planning your evaluation
    Reporting is an essential element in the NCIIA grant award process. Principal Investigators for NCIIA grants are responsible for reporting on grant activities within a specified time frame. A formal written report is required of every grant recipient; failure to report may jeopardize your institution’s eligibility for future grants. If you receive a grant, the reporting date will be shown in your award letter. Advance planning of your report helps you establish an assessment plan not only for benefit of the NCIIA, but for your own information and reporting to your institution. If you determine ahead of time specifically what you wish to evaluate, you will be able to gather appropriate data while your project is still in progress, rather than relying on anecdotal evaluation at a later date. Assess, the NCIIA's assessment resource tool, may help you find an appropriate evaluation method.

    Course and Program grant narrative requirements>>

    Course and Program grant appendix requirements>>

  5. Log on and submit your proposal
    After you have prepared your abstract, narrative, and appendices, log on to the online grant application tool and submit your proposal. Don't forget to save your work as you reach the end of each page. You can login repeatedly and make changes until the deadline. Deadlines for 2004-2005 are December 3 and May 13.

    When you have completed all requirements for your proposal, the proposal will be submitted for review. You will receive an acknowledgement e-mail from the NCIIA. If you do not receive this message, call 413/587-2172 or e-mail us. December applicants will be notified of panel decisions by early March. May applicants will be notified by early August.

  6. Explore additional NCIIA resources
    Visit the NCIIA Resources page for links to NCIIA resources that will support your projects. Also consider participating in the NCIIA Annual Meeting, held each March in locations around the US. You may wish to present results from an NCIIA-funded project, or learn from colleagues who have participated in other NCIIA-related activities.


If you have further comments or want more information, please contact us.

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