The U-M-BICI Collaboratory seeks to sponsor research at U-M that addresses societal needs and priority areas of economic development. Proposals are evaluated on the basis of scientific merit, potential societal impact and significance, and potential for commercialization. U-M screens proposals to ensure compliance with U.S. export controls and other technology regulations. 


Permanent, full-time U-M faculty in the professorial ranks (assistant, associate, full, or research) may apply. Eligibility requires a commitment to pursue potential commercialization and to collaborate with the Collaboratory leadership team to pursue milestones and follow-on funding to translate technologies into new products.

Technology Foci

The Collaboratory seeks to sponsor research primarily in the areas of:

  • Advanced manufacturing  Structural materials and related processing technologies; medical robots (electronic and mechanical)
  • Electronics and IT  Flexible electronics; silicon-based photoelectronics; sensors
  • Materials  Energy materials; flexible materials; photoelectric materials; composites
  • Environmental protection  Water treatment; environmental monitoring and monitoring technology
  • Life science technology  Medical imaging equipment and molecular probes; biomedicine

In addition, the Collaboratory is receptive to discussing potential sponsorship of any innovative research that promises societal impact and commercial opportunity, including but not limited to electronics and IT, advanced materials, and modern agriculture. We invite you to contact us to discuss your research programme to see if it might be a good fit.

Proposal Submission Timing

Proposals are accepted at any time (on a rolling basis), by invitation, and during occasional calls for proposals.

Sponsorship Categories

The Collaboratory sponsors two types of projects, Exploratory and Regular. Figure 1. shows how each type typically corresponds to technology readiness levels (TRLs). The Collaboratory does not offer pre-defined sponsorship amounts, but tailors sponsorship levels to the research and commercialization needs of each project.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact us for assistance and guidance in completing applications, including choosing the appropriate project type. All application materials should be submitted to

  1. Exploratory Projects are projects that need to resolve fairly limited and defined technological issues in order to assess whether they are likely to have commercial potential. Examples could include critical function experiments, validation in a lab environment, or prototype development. Findings help BICI and PIs decide whether to consider a proposal for Regular Project funding. Exploratory Project funding is up to $75,000 for up to one year, renewable by mutual agreement. Award decisions are made by the U-M-BICI Collaboratory Management Committee, comprised of U-M faculty and BICI personnel. Recipients are required to prepare one interim report and a final report.
  2. Regular Projects are projects that BICI is committed to developing into commercial products. Typical awards range from $300,000 to $500,000, which includes indirect cost, but may be more or less depending on the specific need. Projects are renewable annually and may run for multiple years. Proposals may be submitted at any time, during a call for proposals, or by invitation after a successful Exploratory Project. Award decisions are approved by the Management Committee as well as BICI’s Investment Fund in Beijing. Recipients are required to prepare monthly progress reports and attend operating reviews.   
Figure 1. Project Types and Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs)


Funds may be used for salary support of faculty and graduate students, tuition, as well as other research staff, but may not be used for general staff or administrative support. Operating supplies, minor equipment items, prototyping expenses, imaging time, intellectual property filing, and travel directly associated with the research activity are eligible budget items.