SyracuseCoE Invites Innovation Fund Proposals that Address the COVID-19 Pandemic

Proposals for up to $10,000 are invited from current SyracuseCoE Partner companies for round 2 of the 2020 Innovation Fund. The Innovation Fund is funded by SyracuseCoE’s Partner Program to help Partners overcome barriers in the process of commercializing potentially transformative innovations.   

The COVID-19 public health emergency has had an unprecedented impact on our nation’s economic health and well-being. Companies throughout New York State are contributing to solutions addressing these challenges, from developing new applications for existing products to complete transformation of manufacturing operations to produce items most needed by frontline workers. To support these efforts, proposals are restricted for this round to innovations that specifically target the COVID-19 public health crisis and are consonant with the Center’s focal areas: indoor environmental quality, renewable energy and energy efficiency, and water resources.

Applications of up to $10,000 are invited from current and new 2020-21 SyracuseCoE Partner Program firms. Companies at all Partner levels — Industry, Affiliate and Start-Up — are invited to apply. Projects must address a COVID-19 challenge with SyracuseCoE’s core focus areas of indoor environmental quality, clean and renewable energy and water resources. We welcome research engagements with faculty and students, support for product development and testing, market analysis, proposal match requirement, and more.

Acumen Detection is an agtech, Start-Up member of the Partner Program who has already put a SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund award to work addressing the pandemic. Acumen, a recipient of a 2020 round 1 award, was previously commercializing its innovative technology for detecting the pathogens causing disease in dairy cows. “The Innovation Fund award we received earlier this year gave us an important opportunity to respond to the need for diagnostic testing reagents,” said CEO of Acumen Detection, Chuck Stormon. “We are adapting our testing technology and helping to find critical solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Acumen is developing a fast, point-of-use test that would dramatically assist efforts to mitigate the virus as we return to work and school. The company will manufacture and distribute test kits, once FDA Emergency Use Authorization is received. In addition, SyracuseCoE is working closely with the company’s CEO to help identify potential collaborators that can help expedite their path to market on this critical effort.

“The Central New York region has a remarkable record of research, innovation, and commercialization in environmental and energy systems,” said Eric Schiff, interim executive director of SyracuseCoE.  “The Innovation Fund awards have been used by many SyracuseCoE Partner companies to help further the commercialization of new products and services. Winning an award gives companies the potential to play a critical role in helping communities reopen and function safely as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Applications, due by Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 5:00p ET, will be invited to give a brief pitch, via Zoom, with a panel of reviewers in early October, 2020. Visit the SyracuseCoE Innovation Fund webpage to learn more, or, if interested in joining the Partner Program, contact Tamara Rosanio at