Acorn Innovation Grants


Applications Open October 2024

The Acorn Innovation Grant supports Principal Investigators at Massachusetts research universities who seek to demonstrate the viability of their technology. Awards could be used to: 1) further develop a prototype, 2) gather additional data to demonstrate proof of concept, or 3) obtain data to compare the technology to existing technologies and show its competitive advantages.

Acorn Awards are designed to fund small, rapidly accomplishable projects that will enable researchers to obtain further funding for additional proof of concept or commercialization. Applicants must be Principal Investigators at a Massachusetts research university, with the technology disclosed to their institution.  As the awards are small, no overhead can be applied for in the budget. Up to 6 awards ($32,500 each) will be granted.

Read the January 2024 press release ​on last fall's winners.


Our company New Paradigm Biomedical received an Acorn Grant for mechanical testing of our external fixation device. Last week, we received our 510(k) approval letter from the FDA for this product. The funding we received from Mass Ventures was critical for this success! We are grateful for the support the MassVentures provided us, and your grant went to good use, for sure. Thank you!

John Wixted

Cofounder at New Paradigm Biomedical

The Acorn Innovation Award is impactful and meaningful to faculty entrepreneurs like us. It allows us to transition from the lab-scale technology to pilot-scale, eventually to make prototypes out of the lab sooner. With the help of this first investment from MassVentures, my startup Planck Energies received our first SBIR grant of $275,000 from NSF this year.

Yi Zheng

Founder of Planck Energies

The grants truly helped us accelerate development works. We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work on this project and are excited about the progress we have made towards commercialization. The experience has been invaluable, and we are confident that the outcomes of our work will have a positive impact on the industry.

Junghyo Yoon

Cofounder of NONA Technologies

This has been an impactful and instrumental grant for my company. The Acorn program’s funding was instrumental in advancing our product’s proof of concept (POC) with customers. This financial support enabled us to validate our product in real-world scenarios, which was crucial for our development and market entry strategies.

Dr. Karen Panetta

Cofounder of Tessera Intelligence

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