Apply

So what are you waiting for? Please use the form below to apply for a Catalyst grant. It’s just 20 questions and can be completed in one visit.

Application Form

The deadline for proposals for the winter quarter is March 26, 2017 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

For additional information on the questions, please click on the small question mark (?) for a short, popup explanation, or consult the FAQ page. We request that you do not submit any confidential or proprietary information with your application (Amazon and the University of Washington respect the value of your ideas, but we cannot guarantee confidentiality).

Note: this form does not save your work, so you will have to complete the entire application in one visit. If you would like to download a copy of all the questions (for reference offline), please click here for the doc or pdf. All character limits include spaces.

Applicant Profile

1.
2.
Name(s) of applicant(s) and email addresses.?

List all the names of the people contributing on your project, associated email addresses, university status (faculty, staff, student, etc.) and department, if applicable. Graduate students and postdocs – listing your advisor is optional and will not impact your likelihood of receiving a grant.


3.
Note that only current students, faculty, or staff of the University of Washington with a valid UW e-mail address can be listed as the project lead.?

Who will be driving the work and managing the project on a day-to-day basis? For academically focused ideas, who is the “principal investigator”? For commercially focused ideas, who is the “CEO”? Graduate students and postdocs – please list yourself if you will serve as the project’s lead.

4.
Tell us about yourself / the team. Where have you worked? Where did you go to school? What did you study? Where do you have expertise??

Describe your team. If it’s just you, just describe you. If it’s you and a colleague, tell us about you and the colleague. We are less concerned with your “bona fides” (awards, titles, etc.) and more concerned with what experience you have that may help you carry out the project. For example, if you are proposing to build a new type of sailboat, do you have experience building (or designing, or sailing) boats? Hint: It may be easier to answer this question last, after completing the rest of the application.

 (max. characters: 3,000)

Project Details

5.
Please specify a title for the project?

Choose a title for the project.

 (max. characters: 100)
6.
Project description in one sentence.?

Write a one-sentence description of the project. The best one-sentence descriptions are clear and succinct. Avoid jargon and unnecessary acronyms.

 (max. characters: 300)
7.
Leap into the future and imagine that your project has launched. Now, write the press release to tell the world about it. The press release will be used by the evaluation committee to evaluate your idea on its inventiveness, elegance, clarity, persuasiveness, and benefit to society.?

A press release is a public announcement issued to the news media for the purpose of letting the public know about newsworthy developments in an organization. Creating a hypothetical press release helps you clarify your thinking, provides a high-level overview of your project, and explains who would benefit and how they would benefit. It’s a very helpful exercise!

Write the press release from the perspective of a public relations (PR) department either from the university or your group (which may be an organization or company), describing the successful completion of the project. When you write it, imagine that real people who care about the solution are going to read it. Use as few words as possible and choose words that a reader not educated in your topic would understand (avoid jargon or marketing buzzwords like “simple”, “easy”, “fast”, etc.). Put the most important information first - imagine that no one reads past the first paragraph. And of course, be sure to tell a compelling story.

Here is a suggested outline to help you get going:
  1. Use a press heading: "<city> (NEWS WIRE) – <date of project completion> –"
  2. Describe your project
  3. Who will benefit and how they will benefit
  4. The opportunity or problem
  5. The approach or solution
  6. Quotes from people on your team that capture the value of the project
  7. Hypothetical testimonials from the people that would benefit from the project that reinforce why they care about your project
  8. How people can get started, get involved or learn more

Some examples to help you get started are provided here in a doc or pdf format.

 (max. characters: 4,000)

Key Questions

8.
What is the problem that you are addressing? Why is it important??

Identify the problem that your project is seeking to solve. The problem around which your project is focused should be a large-impact, human-relevant problem that is based on and cites data and statistics for support. It should not be a technical problem, or a “this does not yet exist” problem (just because something doesn’t exist doesn’t mean that it should be done!). For example, the problem should not be phrased as “X does not yet exist...” or “it is currently not possible to do X…” but rather, “X people die each year from tuberculosis worldwide” or “X people have their computer accounts hacked each year, costing the US economy over $X dollars.” Note that we do not require that the project proposed in this application completely solve the problem described here – it can be just the first step toward solving that problem.

 (max. characters: 1,000)
9.
What are you proposing to do to solve this problem? What is the “project” that you would like to carry out over the course of the grant period??

Describe what you want to do to help solve this problem over the course of the grant period. Projects should outline specific tasks toward an achievable goal, rather than specify an academic study (an “exploration”) for the sake of learning. For example, if the problem being addressed is the impact of climate change on a specific population of people, the solution should not be to “study a specific population of people impacted by climate change,” but rather, to “build a program to do X for people impacted by climate change.” The solution proposed here should be executable during the time period of the grant (or at the very least, the proof-of-concept of this solution should be executable during the time period of the grant).

 (max. characters: 1,000)
10.
Who cares about your solution? Who is the “customer” so-to-speak??

Indicate who will care about your solution in the near term. Note that this is often a difficult question to answer. It is unlikely that everyone will care about your solution. More likely, it will be a specific person or group of people that have invested interest in solving the problem. For example, if your solution is a new type of X-ray machine for medical imaging, the people that care the most about it may not be the patients that receive the X-rays, or the physicians that administer them, but rather, the hospital purchasers that are responsible for ordering new equipment and maintaining a high quality of care in the health system.

 (max. characters: 1,000)
11.
What is new about what is being proposed vs. what has been done in the past? Why doesn’t this solution currently exist??

Sometimes a project describes a good solution but at the wrong time. Please indicate why now is a good time to be pursuing this project. Have certain events brought an issue to the public’s attention? Has a new technology enabled the project to work now that wasn’t available in the past?

 (max. characters: 1,000)

Plans & Metrics

12.
Estimate how long it will it take to carry out the proposed project.?

Planning is an important part of the Catalyst program. Please describe which tasks you propose for the project and the timeline for completing them. Catalyst grants can be for 3-18 months in duration. If you have put together a progress chart or Gantt chart, feel free to upload it in the Visuals section below (this can be very helpful).

 (max. characters: 1,000)
13.
Estimate the amount of funding you will need to carry out the proposed project.?

Please describe the funding you will need to carry out the project. While we do not need a formal accounting, we do need a breakdown of key costs with solid justification for review. Amazon Catalyst grants range from $10k-$100k and we embrace and encourage frugal, well thought out ideas that will use the grant money effectively. Creative and amazing ideas come in all shapes and sizes. Ask for what you need to meet your goals, and not more!

 (max. characters: 1,000)
14.
What are the key hurdles or milestones you see down the road??

No project is without challenges. It is good practice to identify ahead of time some of the key hurdles you foresee in carrying out the project.

 (max. characters: 1,000)
15.
How will you know if you are successful??

Please describe what you will measure to determine success for your project. For example, if you are building an app, will you measure how many times it is downloaded? If you are organizing an event, will you measure how many people attend or how many email addresses you collect?

 (max. characters: 1,000)
16.
If you are not selected for funding through the Amazon Catalyst Program, do you still plan to pursue or advance your idea? If so, how??

We’re just curious about what you’d do if you don’t win a Catalyst grant. Would you continue to work on the idea anyway? If so, how? Would you focus on other activities? If so, what other activities?

 (max. characters: 1,000)
17.
Have a link to a visual (e.g., a diagram, a collection of photos, or a presentation) that you think will be helpful? Put it here (100% optional).?

A picture is worth 1,000 words! If available, please include a link to a single PDF (.pdf) or PowerPoint presentation (.ppt) file that includes a visual or group of visuals to help us learn more about the problem, the solution, and/or the customer for the project. The file should be located in a publicly accessible online directory and should not exceed 10 MB in size. Visuals can include diagrams outlining the scope of a problem in the world, photos of a product, a timeline for completion, etc. Note that while visuals are helpful, they are not required for being awarded a grant. If you have more than one visual, combine them all into a single file, or include just the most important one.

 (max. characters: 300)
18.
Have a link to a cool video, demo or website of your project? Put it here (100% optional).?
 (max. characters: 300)
19.
How did you hear about this program? Was it through an email, poster, or somewhere else? If you participated in a departmental workshop, please list it here with the date (100% optional).?

Please let us know how you first heard about the Amazon Catalyst program. From time to time, we host workshops and other events. If you participated in one, please include it here along with the date.

 (max. characters: 100)
20.
Use this space to provide any additional information about the project that you would like us to know. It’s perfectly fine to leave this space blank (100% optional).?

Use this space for any additional information about the project

 (max. characters: 1,000)

Submission

Amazon Catalyst grants are only available to individuals 18 years old or older.

We ask that you familiarize yourself with the details of the granting process before submitting the application.

Please make sure to read all the rules of the program before submitting the application.