MSU MTRAC AgBio Hub Awards Funding to High-Tech Projects

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University targets funding for research related to food, fuel and fiber.

EAST LANSING, Mich., April 25, 2019 — Projects that range from technologies to reduce and reuse plastic to PFAS mitigation to the development of a new generation of herpes virus vaccines have been awarded grant funding from the Michigan Translational Research and Commercialization (MTRAC) Innovation Hub for AgBio. The hub is hosted at Michigan State University with funding support and oversight provided by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative.

Finalists presented their agriculture-related projects to an oversight committee, which comprises entrepreneurs, external industry participants and venture capital professionals volunteering to assess proposals and mentor selected researchers. Awards can range up to $100,000 per project, supporting prototype development, animal trials, scale-up studies, crop trials and verification studies.

Additional technologies received starter grants for projects involving the harvesting of microalgae for high-value products and removing PFAS from water. Starter grants can range up to $25,000 per project. To learn more about past award winners for both award levels, click here.

“These grants, which will include matching funds from the researchers’ institutions, will be important early-stage support for these promising projects,” said Kevin McCurren, MTRAC program director at Michigan State University. “We look forward to working with them to help them translate their research toward commercialization.”

Co-funded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the MTRAC Innovation Hub for AgBio accelerates the commercial development of research related to food, fuel and fiber. This includes bio-derived/bio-based materials, natural resources and animal health. Applications from researchers at institutions of higher education, nonprofit research centers and hospital systems in Michigan are all considered. Since its inception in 2012, the hub has helped launch five startups, 10 licenses and eight options and helped these projects secure more than $60 million in follow-up funding.

“The MTRAC Innovation Hub for AgBio has helped companies like CiBO Technologies and OmiDx go from early-stage startups to commercialization,” said Denise Graves, university relations director at the MEDC. “This award is an important step for researchers to develop their promising projects into licenses with industry or startup companies.”

The Innovation Hub for AgBio at Michigan State University is part of a network of statewide innovation hubs that include the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Life Sciences at University of Michigan FFMI, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Applied Materials at Michigan Tech, the MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Transportation at University of Michigan and the recently announced MTRAC Innovation Hub for Advanced Computing at Wayne State University.

The MTRAC program is supported by funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) and administered by the MEDC, with additional funding coming from partner institutions. To date, MTRAC programs have received 483 proposals, funded 180 projects, developed 37 startup companies, licensed technology to 29 industry partners and secured more than $134 million in follow-on funding.

MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation initiative establishes Michigan as the place to create and grow a business by providing high-tech startup companies with access to a variety of critical resources, such as funding and expert counsel, from ideation to maturation. For more information on MEDC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation, please visit


About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

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