Course & Program Grant FAQs

About the Program

What’s the difference between VentureWell “Faculty Grants” and “Course & Program Grants”?
They are the same grant-making program. We updated the grant program name in August 2021 to Course & Program Grants to emphasize:
– that both faculty and staff may apply
– that grants fund course and program development specifically

How do we know if our course/program is a fit for a VentureWell Course & Program Grant?
Successful proposals typically meet the following criteria:
– Support new, or modify existing, courses and/or programs that lead to the formation of student teams
– Help students gain entrepreneurial skills through experiential learning
– Have a strong likelihood of continuing beyond the grant period and becoming part of a campus culture of innovation

What types of courses/programs does VentureWell fund?
VentureWell funds courses or programs at the intersection of invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship that lead to the creation and support of student teams. Courses and programs can range in focus from technology-based entrepreneurship, to new materials/cleantech, to biomedical and healthcare. VentureWell supports face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses and programs.

Can international programs apply for a Course & Program Grant?
Currently we are only able to accept proposals from US-based institutions.

What is the length of the grant period?
Grant periods are 3 years in duration. You may choose to spend the funds in 1 or 2 years.


What are the minimum requirements to apply?
To apply you must:
– Be at a US college or university
– Be faculty or staff at a VentureWell member institution
– Be proposing a new course/program or strengthening an existing course/program that is focused on STEM entrepreneurship
You can review the proposal guidelines and application steps here.

How do I know if my college/university is a VentureWell member?
Check the list of current VentureWell member institutions or call and inquire.

How can my college/university become a VentureWell member?
Membership is annual and applies to your entire university or college. Membership fees are waived until June 30, 2023. Learn more about VentureWell Membership here.

How do I apply?
We accept applications via our web portal only. You will need to have or create a VentureWell account in order to submit. Create an account or sign in by clicking here.  You may start, save, stop and return to your online proposal at any time before submitting.

When do I apply?
There is one application cycle per year. We typically open the Request for Proposals about six weeks before the deadline date; however you may begin writing your proposal narrative at any time. Refer to the program guidelines for details on proposal narrative. You must submit your proposal by 11:59 PM ET on the day of the grant deadline in order to be considered.

What is the most common mistake made when submitting?
The most common mistake is underestimating the time it takes to navigate your institution’s administrative structure. The application requires verification of support. This step can often take a week or two, depending on your institution’s procedures and processes. Many university Office of Sponsored Programs require a completed proposal for administrative review and approval before it can be submitted. Review the proposal guidelines and the application steps well in advance of the deadline.

Contact your Office of Sponsored Programs to review your institution’s requirements.

Are there examples of diversity and inclusion language from previous proposals I can review?
Extracts from previously funded proposals that model strong planning for diversity and inclusion are available to review:


I have applied to the program. When will I hear whether I have been accepted?
Applicants will be notified of their status within 90 days of the deadline date. Notifications are sent via email to the Applicant, PI and Administrative Contact.

How are awarded proposals selected?
Proposals are reviewed by a panel from the academic and professional worlds who independently evaluate the proposal based on provided criteria. Proposals are grouped by topic area, and reviewers usually have some expertise in a related field. After independently reviewing the grants, reviewers meet to discuss their opinions, and reach consensus on funding recommendations. Each panel reviews about a dozen proposals in a particular sector area.

What is the percentage of funded grants?
The percentage of funded grants from the total applications varies from cycle to cycle. Over the past few years, there has been a 15-30% chance of getting funded by VentureWell.

Use of funds

Will the grant funding be awarded directly to the PI?
No, VentureWell grant funding is awarded to your college or university. Grant funds are administered by an institution’s Office of Sponsored Programs or an equivalent entity. Every institution works a bit differently, so we strongly encourage you to identify an administrative point of contact early, and work with that person to learn about your institution’s internal processes and procedures

If my team is funded, how can we use the grant funds?
A detailed budget with justification, must be included in the grant application. Grant funds may be proposed for expenses related to curricular development and course or program realization. Any changes made in the proposed budget during the grant review process will be made clear in the grant award letter. Please see the program guidelines for the list of eligible and ineligible expenses.

Can the grant funds be used for overhead?
VentureWell does not allow overhead to be taken from grants funds with the exception of including fringe benefits in the personnel stipend. We strongly recommend that applicants consult with their Office of Sponsored Programs (or equivalent) to learn their institution’s rules about overhead before submitting an application.

If my proposal is funded, what are my responsibilities as the PI?
At the end of the grant period, you will be prompted to complete a final report describing the status of the project, milestones, impact, and how the funds were used. For grants longer than a year in duration, you will also be prompted for an interim report to report on your progress to date.

Please see the Application Guidelines page for complete information or contact us.

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