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Centers for Advanced Technology (CAT) Program

Grants to New York Universities and Nonprofit
Institutes for Applied Technology Research Centers

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Funding Source:

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New York State - Empire State Development (ESD) - Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR)

Deadline Date:

03/30/18 2:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to New York universities and nonprofit university-affiliated research institutes to operate centers for advanced technology. Nonprofit applicants must prequalify in the online grants system prior to applying. The purpose of this program is to foster technology-oriented applied research as well as economic growth within the state.

Additional program goals are to encourage applied research collaboration and innovation with industry; promote workforce development; better leverage State funds with investments from the federal government, industry, foundations and not-for-profit economic development organizations; and increase the competitiveness of New York State companies over the Center’s ten-year designation period.

The designee must use ESD funds to enhance its resources in a specific Technology Focus to help New York State companies remain competitive and solve production, applied research and development, and technical problems. To ensure the CAT’s resources are invested in areas with the greatest commercial relevance to industry, the CAT must create an Industrial Advisory Board that includes representatives from companies operating within the proposal’s Technology Focus.

Specifically, the CAT is expected to develop industry-responsive programs with three general objectives:

1. Collaborative applied research and technology transfer with industry representatives: The CAT is expected to conduct applied research and technology transfer with industry representatives, leading to quantifiable economic impact in New York State, especially at small New York State companies. This must occur within one to three years of individual project commencement and continue throughout the designation period. The CAT is also expected to help foster an environment that encourages companies to locate in New York.

2. Industry-oriented education and training: The CAT is expected to help incumbent workers expand their skill sets through short courses, seminars and workshops and to provide industry-driven research assistant opportunities for students. CATs are expected to aid in the development of undergraduate and graduate courses in their Center’s Technology Focus to help ensure students are trained to meet the needs of industry. CATs are not permitted to offer or deliver college courses for credit nor include such tuition as matching funds.

3. Outreach and networking through referral networks: The CAT is expected to partner with other appropriate organizations to develop outreach networks and ensure that companies receive access to required non-research assistance such as general business consulting. Applicants must demonstrate that the relationship with a partner organization enhances and advances the CAT’s ability to aid economic growth in New York State. (Refer to Appendix A in the RFP for definition and examples of partner organizations.) Additionally, each CAT is expected to partner with other organizations within the same technology focus area and across technology platforms as appropriate.

The CAT shall also collaborate with ESD and other economic development organizations to promote the growth and development of industries in New York State based upon or benefiting from the area of technology involved. ESD’s investment in CATs is designed to significantly expand its resources so it is better positioned to contribute to economic growth in New York State and assist industry in becoming more competitive. Allowable uses of ESD funds are presented below. Applicants are expected to include substantial investments in state-of-the-art equipment and in each CAT’s business outreach capabilities.

The CAT program is governed by Section 3102-b of the Public Authorities Law. Contractors will be bound by and responsible for complying with current laws and regulations and with any and all future statutory or regulatory changes relating to the CAT program.

Activities to Be Supported With ESD Funds:

1. General Provisions:

The purpose of ESD’s investment in the CATs is to enhance its ability to contribute to economic growth in New York State. ESD funds may only be used to support collaborative applied research with industry and industry-oriented education and training.

The best available price for the type and quality of products or services required must be sought for any ESD-funded expenditure. The applicant must retain documentation to support the solicitation process and/or choice of vendor for ESD expenses at an established threshold. Applicants procuring services must follow New York State’s Competitive Bid Requirements. In pursuit of the specific goals and objectives of the CAT program, allowable uses of ESD funds include:

-Employment of faculty and support staff;
-Employment of a person, preferably with business and/or sales and marketing background experience, to be responsible for the CAT’s business development on a full- time basis;
-Employment of graduate and undergraduate students, including fellowships;
-Purchase of equipment and/or fixtures;
-Purchase of materials and supplies;
-Travel to a company location for project-related activities, travel by the business development staff or CAT director for outreach activities, or travel to an ESD meeting or CAT-hosted event;
-Services subcontracted to not-for-profit partner organizations to assist the CAT in conducting the activities outlined in its proposal; and
-Other purposes explicitly approved by ESD prior to being incurred.

Technology Focus:

For this RFP, ESD has identified four Technology Foci that hold significant potential for expanding the New York State economy. Specific application areas of each of the Technology Foci for which ESD will consider proposals are defined below. Proposals submitted in a Technology Focus other than one of these four and/or in an application area of a Technology Focus beyond the scope of those defined herein will be rejected without review. Select the Technology Focus that is most representative of the research that will be conducted by the CAT.

1. The intersection of big data and medicine, especially pertaining to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics;

2. Medical manufacturing, including advances in pharmaceutical production, medical device development, and biomanufacturing;

3. Materials Science and Engineering involving the properties of matter and its applications to various areas of science and engineering. This science investigates the structure of materials to develop new materials with advanced properties. It includes elements of applied physics and chemistry, as well as chemical, mechanical, civil and electrical engineering. The material sciences may include such areas as advanced ceramics technologies and research focused on colloids and surfaces such as chemical-mechanical planarization; or

4. Internet of Things as it pertains to software development, cybersecurity, manufacturing processes, manufacturing, smart communities, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI) and consumer products.

The CAT must be organized to address the needs of industry within its identified Technology Focus leading to the attraction and expansion of businesses within New York. The applicant must specifically identify industries that will benefit from the CAT’s work, demonstrate knowledge of companies’ needs within the industry, and explain how a collaborative academic-industry partnership can address these needs and promote economic development in New York.

Additionally, indicate within the proposal any application area(s) of the Technology Focus that relate(s) to national security and/or public safety.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182741

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Up to two awards may be made in this competition.

Estimated Size of Grant:

All proposals should reflect ESD funding in the amount of up to $921,200 per year.

In the event a new Center is selected in this designation process, ESD shall provide up to $500,000 in funding for reimbursable expenses (or 54.28% of the individual CAT allocation if funding levels change) that will be used as ramp up funds during the first contract year. In contract year two and thereafter, the newly designated CAT will be eligible to seek reimbursement for the full individual CAT funding level.

And, in the event that a currently designated Center is not selected for an additional term in this designation process, ESD shall provide up to $421,200 (or 45.72% of the individual CAT allocation if funding levels change) in reimbursement ramp down funds to enable the completion of industry project(s) or other obligations with ESD approval.

The amount of ESD funds reimbursed to the award recipient will be based on the amount of eligible matching funds expended.

Term of Contract:

The institutions awarded a CAT designation under this competition shall be designated for a period of up to ten years, provided the CAT’s performance is deemed satisfactory by ESD at each annual evaluation. The contract is anticipated to commence on July 1, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

For purposes of this RFP:

A university is defined as an institution of higher education that grants doctoral degrees in the research field(s) related to the Technology Focus identified in the proposal.

A university-affiliated research institute is defined as a not-for-profit corporation closely affiliated with a specific university, and only one university, whose primary purpose as defined by its articles of incorporation is to support, supplement, and/or extend basic and applied research, development and technology transfer in one or more technological areas of the university with which it is affiliated.

Eligible Institutions:

A “university,” “university-affiliated research institute,” or a lead institute for a consortium thereof that meets each of the following criteria is eligible to apply:
a. maintains at least one on-site doctoral program in the research field(s) related to the proposal’s Technology Focus; and,
b. demonstrates its ability to meet the matching funds requirements described in Section I.E. of this RFP.

-A university or its university-affiliated research institute may submit up to three proposals for which it is the single applicant or lead institution of a consortium.
-No university or its university-affiliated research institute, or consortia thereof, may host more than three CATs.

-Indirect costs are limited to 15 percent of direct personnel costs (salaries plus fringe benefits) on ESD funds that will be recognized under the CAT program.
-Aside from providing for general allowable operating needs of the CAT such as equipment and supply purchases, travel, etc., ESD funds cannot be provided to any for- profit organization.
-No ESD funds may be used for capital construction, rehabilitation, or renovation.
-No ESD funds may be expended on basic research.
-No ESD funds may be expended on salaries for university faculty, staff or administration that have a vested and/or financial interest in any company benefiting from an applied research contract with the CAT. Conflict of interest statements will be required by CAT employees after designations are awarded and prior to establishing contracts under this program.
-The total ESD funds that may be expended per year on project cost sharing, defined as direct research costs (e.g., research faculty, graduate students, lab supplies, etc.) incurred on a project with a specific company, will be determined by ESD on an annual basis. Project cost sharing with small New York State companies is expected.

Pre-Application Information:

The requirement for matching funds serves two purposes: It serves as an indicator of industry support and economic impact potential; and, it expands the applied research capacity of each CAT. ESD expects that a successful CAT’s outreach efforts will extend beyond New York State to attract funds from non-New York State companies into the State and help to foster an environment that encourages these companies to expand and/or relocate within New York.

The statute authorizing the CAT program currently establishes minimum matching funds requirements. Matching requirements are as follows:
-In the first through fifth year of initial designation, 100 percent;
-In the sixth year, 100 percent for the first $750,000 and 120 percent there above;
-In the seventh year, 100 percent for the first $750,000 and 140 percent there above;
-In the eighth year, 100 percent for the first $750,000 and 160 percent there above;
-In the ninth year, 100 percent for the first $750,000 and 180 percent there above; and
-In the tenth year, and each year thereafter if a CAT is re-designated, 100 percent for the first $750,000 and 200 percent there above.

There are two general categories of eligible matching funds with specific thresholds and limits that must be met:

1. New York State Company Cash: Cash provided to the CAT by New York State companies (as defined in Appendix A) to support the CAT’s ESD-approved activities must constitute at least 50 percent of the total required matching funds. Small New York State company cash will be credited at a 2:1 ratio ($2 match credit for every $1 of small New York State company cash).
2. Other Sources of Support: Up to 50 percent of the total required matching funds may be from this category and may include:

All NYS grant applicants must be registered in the NYS Grants Gateway.

In addition to registering, not‐for‐profit organizations must also complete the Vendor Prequalification process in the Grants Gateway to be considered eligible to apply for this grant opportunity. Government entities and public authorities are currently not required to complete the Vendor Prequalification process.

All questions must be submitted in writing via email. Please do not contact ESD by telephone. Questions must be received by ESD no later than January 5, 2018, 5:00 PM. All inquiries must cite the particular RFP section in question. All questions and answers will be uploaded in the Grants Gateway for all applicants to view.

Proposals are due March 30, 2018, 2:00 PM ET.

Once the application is complete, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their application at least 48 hours prior to the deadline. This will allow sufficient opportunity for the applicant to obtain assistance and take corrective action should there be a technical issue with the submission process.

-Written questions on proposals accepted through January 5, 2018; 5:00 PM
-Proposals received by ESD: March 30, 2018; 2:00 PM ET
-Contract start date: July 1, 2018

View this opportunity in the Grants Gateway:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

All questions must be submitted in writing via email to:

Include “Centers for Advanced Technology Program” in the subject line.

Empire State Development
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12245

P: (518) 292-5700
F: (518) 292-5798

Funding or Pin Number:

RFP Number: 18-6122 / Grant Opportunity ID DED01-186122-2018

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York