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Innovation Partnerships Program

ORAU’s FY 2023 Innovation Partnerships Program (formerly Events Sponsorship Grant Program) is being restructured to build stronger relationships between university members and ORAU subject matter experts. These updates are designed to focus on research and education topics that align well with ORAU’s expertise and current priorities.

Program updates

  • Applications must be focused on one or more of the FY 2023 ORAU core focus areas.
  • An ORAU subject matter expert will serve as a collaborator with the university PI.

FY 2023 Innovation Partnerships grant focus areas and example topics

  • Climate and Environment - sustainability, environmental justice, clean energy, resilience to climate hazards, emerging technologies, measurement and impact assessment, diversity and inclusion, policy, and data science and analytics
  • Health Equity - telemedicine, telehealth, health literacy, health communication, behavioral and mental health, health disparities, diversity and inclusion, policy, and data science and analytics
  • Future of the STEM Workforce - new ways of teaching and learning (K-16), transformative workforce development and mentoring, diversity and inclusion, policy, data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence

The goal of this grant program change is to drive new opportunities for university consortium members and ORAU experts to formulate meaningful collaborations.

Innovation Partnerships grant applications are currently being accepted and the application window will remain open throughout the fiscal year depending on available funds.

Each member university is limited to one award per fiscal year. Up to $4,000 may be requested to support an in-person or virtual event that involves participants from more than one ORAU member institution, including students. Innovation Partnership applications should focus on focused workshops/conferences that highlight your university’s strategic STEM research and education growth areas, and where collaborations with other member universities would add value. We are specifically interested in events that can bring more thought leadership in building a national strategy for STEM education and workforce development. Member universities are encouraged to collaborate around this topic in anticipation of federal funding initiatives. 

Funding and restrictions

  • Funding is provided exclusively from non-federal monies by ORAU.
  • ORAU does not allow overhead charges or indirect costs on the award.
  • All events must be completed by September 30 (the end of ORAU’s fiscal year).

Frequently asked questions 

Any ORAU member institution in good standing may submit an Innovation Partnerships grant application through their ORAU Councilor. Only applications endorsed by an institution’s ORAU Councilor will be considered. An institution is considered in good standing when membership fees are up-to-date and required reports for existing award programs are current.

Innovation Partnership grants will be considered for events that meet the following criteria:

  • Participation by more than one ORAU institution is required. One ORAU member university will submit the proposal and manage the grant funds.
  • Potential impact of the event, including the number of institutions or participants will be a big factor in our decision.
  • Participation by students is considered a positive factor.
  • New events are preferred over ongoing or annual events with established financial models.
  • Preference will be given to events in STEM disciplines.
  • A representative from ORAU must be invited to the event and will attend, if possible.

A report documenting participation and outcomes must be submitted within 30 days following the event.Reports may be submitted to

If, for some unforeseen reason, the event cannot occur as stated in the grant request, please contact the University Partnerships Office to inform us of the revised date. If the awarded event is cancelled, the grant funds need to be returned to ORAU. Contact to receive further guidance.

Funding is provided exclusively from non-federal monies by ORAU, and overhead charges or indirect costs are not allowed on the award.

ORAU has subject matter experts (SMEs) with unique experience and education specific to a particular research topic. The SMEs represent ORAU’s thought leaders and are the best resource to determine the value of an Innovation Partnerships collaboration.

Member university personnel with active relationships with ORAU staff are encouraged to reach out directly to discuss the potential for an Innovation Partnerships collaboration.

2022-2023 Event Sponsorship Grant Award Winners

Member Institution Event Sponsored
Augusta University ORAU Southeast Undergraduate Scholar Assembly
Florida State University 10th International Conference on Sensitivity Analysis of Model Output
Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis Molybdenum Tungsten Enzyme Conference
Lincoln Memorial University Developing a Collaborative Network to Facilitate Integrated Undergraduate Research Across Smaller Central & Southern Appalachian Institutions
Mississippi State University Toward Industry 4.0 Workforce in Mississippi
Oklahoma State University Young Chemists, Mass Spectrometry, & Human Exposome Symposium
University of Central Florida Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics
University of Delaware Symposium on Science, Technology & Innovation for Sustainable, Post-Pandemic U.S. Island Territories
University of Florida Molecular Magnetism in North America Conference
University of Notre Dame Conference on Uncertainty Quantification for Machine Learning Integrated Physics Modeling
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Pathways Bootcamp: Innovation to Commercialization
University of Texas at Austin North American Membrane Society Annual Meeting
University of Texas at Dallas iQ Inspirational Speaker Series
University of Utah Workshop on Stellar Intensity Interferometry Astronomy
Western Michigan University Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics
Clemson University 2023 South Carolina Quantum Technology Forum
College of Charleston Climate Change & History of Human Resiliency: Exploring Socio-Environmental History of Epidauria
East Tennessee State University Regional American Society for Microbiology Conference
Florida State University MicroScale Bioseparations 2023
Mississippi State University Improving Operator Health Through Wearable Technology Deployment
Tuskegee University Graduate School and Junior Faculty Forum
University of Kentucky 6th Annual Commonwealth Computational Summit

Ready to apply?

Complete the application

In addition, an email from your ORAU Councilor endorsing your request is required and should be attached at the bottom of the application.

Impact Areas

Contact us

To learn more about the ORAU Innovation Partnerships program, contact Tracie Curtright at