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Innovation Grants

The Northwestern Michigan College Foundation is proud to support innovation at NMC! We established the innovation grant fund for faculty, staff, and students to support your ideas and initiatives that emerge during the year.

Download the Innovation Grant FAQs (PDF) »

Download the Innovation Grant application (PDF) »

This application can be filled out in your browser or the free Acrobat Reader, saved and emailed to It includes a built-in budget guide that you can use to automatically calculate the cost of your project by entering individual item costs.


  • The NMC Foundation’s innovation grant program funds ideas and opportunities that emerge outside of normal NMC budget sources and processes.
  • Most successful applications are in the range of $500-$5,000. However, applicants are invited to submit proposals for any amount.
  • Innovation grants provide one-time funding only. That means that a project can only receive an innovation grant once. However, if awarded, innovation grant funds may be used over multiple years.

We were proud to award Innovation Grants to these cutting-edge projects in their early stages of development. Check out these Innovation Grant-funded projects by NMC faculty, staff, and students, and where the projects are now:


These are some of the Student Innovation Grants that have been awarded:

  • Baja Car
  • Native American Students presentation
  • Submersible Laser Scanner

Faculty & Staff projects that have been funded include:

  • Cherry Leaf Spot Detection
  • Text-to-Speech Literacy Tool
  • Thriving: Future Education Through Coaching
  • Open Educational Resources Pilot Program


  1. Innovation grant funds should be used to support the strategic directions of the college, with a focus on student success. Visit this page to review the mission, vision, values, and strategic agenda.
  2. Requests for funding should focus on the Discovery (Exploration) OR Incubation (Experimentation) phase of innovation. NMC subscribes to the Discovery-Incubation-Acceleration model of innovation, outlined here:
    • Discovery (Exploration): creating or identifying high-impact opportunities. This may include, but is not limited to:
      • Research
      • Internal Searching
      • External Scouting: License/Purchase/Partner/Invest
    • Incubation (Experimentation): experimenting with technology and business concepts to design a viable model for a new project. This may include, but is not limited to:
      • Testing Hypotheses
      • Failing, Learning, Redirecting
      • Evaluating
    • Acceleration (Exploration): developing a project until it can stand on its own. In other words, "scaling up" a project.
  3. The selection committee encourages ideas that are innovative based on location, scale, or incorporation of new ideas. Proposals should address existing programs that are similar, and explain how the proposal improves, replaces, or complements the existing program.

Selection Process

  1. Applications are due to your area Vice President on the first of August, December, or April.
  2. All applicants will be asked to make a five-minute presentation to the selection committee to explain their proposal and answer questions. Applicants will be notified by email when they are invited to make their presentation. Presentations are typically scheduled within 6 weeks of the application due date. The selection committee includes NMC Foundation Board members, a representative of the Board of Trustees, and NMC Vice Presidents.
  3. After giving their presentation, applicants will be notified within 1 week if their project has been awarded. Applicants will be notified via email.
  4. It is strongly recommended that you discuss your proposal idea with your area Vice President before developing the full proposal. Vice Presidents do have the authority to "reject" an application, but can also provide valuable feedback to help develop great proposals that are more likely to be successful!
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