Formerly the Advanced Industries Proof-of-Concept
Grant Program

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 $100K
  • Participation in targeted Commercialization Workshops.

New in 2019

The Advanced Industries Proof of Concept (AI-POC) Grant Program is now a part of the LAUNCHPAD FUEL program.  External matches are not required, but applications with their own match will receive priority status in the review process.

The 2020 FUEL program application process is now closed.


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 $100K 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 (LAUNCHPAD’s Research to Market (R2M) workshop), access to capital (LAUNCHPAD Funding Workshop), and how to pitch to potential investors or partners (LAUNCHPAD Pitch Workshop), all designed to increase their potential for success.
    • LAUNCHPAD 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.
    • LAUNCHPAD Funding 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.
    • LAUNCHPAD Pitch Workshop– Learn how to best prepare a story and pitch it.  You will engage in a hands-on immersive approach to tailor your pitch to specific funding audiences and receive advice from startup professionals and investors.
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 $100,000 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 R2M program as well as in the FUEL Commercialization Workshops
    • R2M information will be provided to awardees
  • Applicants invited to submit full applications will be emailed the full application template
    • Full application is due by 11:59pm on September 9th, 2019
Letter of Intent Template & AI POC Budget, Timelines, and Fact Sheet Link
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 FY2020, CSU Ventures has been allocated over $400,000 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

Letter of Intent Instructions (2019-2020 cohort)
  • To begin the application process, please submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) to info@csuventures.org by 11:59pm on August 2nd, 2019, using the LOI template (provided below).
  • Competitive applications demonstrate significant economic impact or competitive advantage for Colorado and the advanced industries by accelerating the pace of applied research and leading to the rapid commercialization of products and services.
  • Please read the Program Essential Components, Program Specifics, and Important Dates PRIOR to completing the LOI template (provided below).
  • For any questions about the FUEL Grant Program, the Letter of Intent, or the application process, please email initial questions to info@csuventures.org.  Your questions will be forwarded to the appropriate contact.
Important Dates (2019-2020 cohort)
  • August 2nd, 2019 – LOIs due to CSU Ventures by 11:59pm
  • August 12th, 2019 – Select applicants will be invited to submit a full application
  • August 22nd, 2019- FUEL Prep Workshop I- What is the FUEL Program?
  • September 2nd, 2019 – Budgets due to CSU Office of Sponsored Programs
  • September 9th, 2019 – Full applications due to CSU Ventures by 11:59pm
  • Week of September 23rd, 2019- Applicant pitches to judging panel
  • October 7th, 2019- Notify applicants of funding decisions
  • December 12th, 2019- FUEL Prep Workshop II- What is R2M?
  • January 15-17th, 2020- Research to Market (R2M) Introductory Meetings
  • February 12-13th, 2020- Research to Market (R2M) Closing Meetings
  • March 3-4th, 2020- Funding your commercialization path workshops
  • Weeks of April 7th and April 14th, 2020- Pitching Workshops, Sessions 1 and 2 (Date TBD)
  • April 23rd, 2020- CSUV Demo Day