The FUEL program is designed to help CSU innovators access funding to accelerate commercialization of innovations developed at CSU.  Each academic year, the FUEL program will select a cohort of CSU inventors that are at an early stage of development that need proof of concept data to validate the commercial potential of their innovations.

Support consists of two essential components:

  • R&D Seed Funding up to $200K
  • Participation in targeted Commercialization Workshops.


FUEL Grant Program Application Period is CLOSED.


The FY22 Application period will open in Summer/Fall 2021.

The State of Colorado Advanced Industries Proof of Concept (AI-POC) Grant Program is part of the LAUNCHPAD FUEL program.  More information on the AI POC requirements may be found below.  External matches are not required, but applications with their own match will receive priority status in the review process.

Learn More About the Program

What is the FUEL Program: The Two Essential Components
R&D Seed Funding:

  • The cornerstone of the program provides FUEL participants proof of concept grants of up to $200K for up to 2 years of support.   Most of the funds for this program are provided by the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade’s (COEDIT) Advanced Industries Accelerator (AIA) Proof of Concept (POC) program. While the state of Colorado program requires a 1:3 matching requirement for access to State funds (for every 1 dollar provided by the applicant, 3 dollars will be provided by OEDIT), CSU Ventures will ensure matching funds are provided for applications with no identified match.
    • Applications that have identified their own sources of funding for a match will receive priority status in the review process.
  • FUEL grants are intended to support commercially focused innovations requiring additional R&D critical for product validation and proof of concept.


Commercialization Workshops:

  • The second main component of the FUEL program are the commercialization workshops and seminar programs provided to each FUEL cohort.  Teams in the FUEL cohort will participate in workshops for market/customer discovery (MARKET, MAP, and RESEARCH TO MARKET (R2M) workshops) and access to capital (FUND Workshop), all designed to increase their potential for success.
    • MARKET workshop- Learn strategies to identify the best markets to launch the first product based on your technology, as well as to assess the competition you will face in those markets.
    • MAP workshop- Develop commercializaiton maps that break down the process of moving a product into the market in to discrete steps.
    • RESEARCH TO MARKET (R2M) Workshop– R2M is intended to ensure product-market fit for each funded team. R2M leverages proven methods to clarify customer problems in specific markets and helps teams optimize R&D strategies to enter those markets.  This program includes workshops, intensive classroom instruction, as well as $3K travel grants available for customer discovery.
    • FUND Workshop– Learn critical strategies to attract Federal SBIR/STTR funds, State of Colorado Early Stage Capital and Retention funds, as well as investor opportunities. Hear from others that have successfully funded their enterprise and work directly with them in one-on-one or small team workshop engagements to develop your funding strategy.
Who is Eligible to Participate
The AI POC grant funding is available to any Colorado State University non-temporary, salaried, stated classified or general faculty employee.  Individuals with other types of appointments (e.g. temporary, non-salaried, and/or retired) must be approved by the department and college and then should be listed as the co-principal investigator with a non-temporary, salaried employee serving as the prime principal investigator.  Graduate research assistants and post-doctorals are considered temporary, non-faculty appointments.  Faculty affiliates are non-salaried appointments.
Program Specifics
  • FUEL funding proposals may request up to $200,000 for up to 2 years of funding support
    • Matching Funds: While previous year’s funding required applicants to identify matching funds for the grant program, CSU Ventures and our CSU partners will provide matching funds for applications with no identified matches.
    • Applications with their own identified match will receive priority status in the review process
  • Awardees of the FUEL program funding will be expected to participate in the MARKET, MAP, R2M, AND FUND commercialization workshops
  • Applicants invited to submit full applications will be emailed the full application template


Program Timeline - FY21 Cohort
CSU Ventures LAUNCHPAD FUEL Program timeline
State of Colorado Advanced Industries Grant Program Information Links
About the State of Colorado's Advanced Industries (AI) Accelerator Program
The AI program was created in 2013 by the Colorado Legislature to promote the success of seven designated industries in the State of Colorado.  These industries include: Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Bioscience, Electronics, Energy and Natural Resources, Infrastructure Engineering, and Technology and Information.  A portion of these funds are made available for proof of concept (POC) research occurring at Colorado research institutions and are allocated through the technology transfer offices. For FY2021, CSU Ventures has been allocated over $600,000 to award to POC projects at Colorado State University.

The AI POC grant funding is intended to identify and pull technologies developed at research institutions and connect them to the private sector where they can be developed into products.

Learn more about the State of Colorado Advanced Industries Programs