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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

  • We will be accepting a limit of two applications from each member university during FY 2024. Applications will be accepted at any time.
  • Applications must be focused on one or more of the FY 2024 ORAU core focus areas.
  • An ORAU subject matter expert will serve as a collaborator with the university PI.

FY 2024 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 capacity building 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 two awards 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.

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.

2023-2024 Innovation Partnerships Program Award Recipients

Member Institution Event Sponsored
Clemson University
2023 South Carolina Quantum Technology Forum
College of Charleston
Climate Change and the History of Human Resiliency
East Tennessee State University
Regional American Society for Microbiology Conference
Florida Institute of Technology
Cyber Heroines Capture-the-Flag Competition
Florida State University
MicroScale Bioseparations 2023
George Mason University
Refugee Resettlement and STEM Education
Georgia Institute of Technology
Graduate workshop in Climate sustainability: Challenges and Opportunities
Georgia Institute of Technology
RCE Americas Regional Meeting
Michigan Tech University
Transdisciplinary Workshop of Energy and Community Resiliency
Mississippi State University
Improving Operator Health Through Wearable Technology Deployment
Ohio University
Appalachian Semiconductor Education and Training Summer Workshop: Workforce Development for SE Ohio
Penn State University
2023 Shale Network Workshop: Environmental and Policy Challenges
Tuskegee University
Graduate School and Junior Faculty Forum
University of Central Florida
NanoFlorida 2023
University of Kentucky
6th Annual Commonwealth Computational Summit
University of Texas Dallas
IQ Innovation Center Showcase
Vanderbilt University
Tennessee University Business Showcase on Bio Clusters and Health Equity
Villanova University
Villanova Cell Culture at JIB Industry Bioprocess Training Program

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