Utah Administrative Code

The Utah Administrative Code is the body of all effective administrative rules as compiled and organized by the Division of Administrative Rules (see Subsection 63G-3-102(5); see also Sections 63G-3-701 and 702).

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R856. Science Technology and Research Governing Authority (Utah), Administration.

Rule R856-3. USTAR University Technology Acceleration Grants.

As in effect on January 1, 2020

Table of Contents

R856-3-1. Authority.

Subsection 63M-2-503(2) requires the USTAR governing authority to make rules establishing the eligibility, award process, and reporting criteria for each grant program administered by USTAR.

R856-3-2. Purpose and Goals.

(1) USTAR's University Technology Acceleration Grants (UTAG) provide funding to individual researchers or research teams employed by a Utah not-for-profit college or university to support research, discovery and innovation that has a strong market potential.

(2) The goals of the program are to:

(a) enhance the state's innovation system by supporting the development of technology within Utah universities;

(b) accelerate the creation of high-potential technology companies in the state leading to the creation of high-paying science and technology jobs in Utah.

R856-3-3. Definitions.

(1) "Applicant" means an individual researcher or a research team applying for a UTAG.

(2) "Awardee" means an individual researcher or team that have been awarded a UTAG.

(3) "Governing authority" means the Utah Science, Technology, and Research Governing Authority.

(4) "UTAG" and "UTAG grant" mean the University Technology Acceleration Grants administered by the Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative.

(5) "Technology" includes applications of scientific research such as inventions, methods, processes, or other material, virtual, or intellectual property.

(6) "Technology Readiness Level" or "TRL" level means means the method of estimating technology maturity used by the Federal Government and is available on the USTAR website.

(7) "Targeted Industry Sector" means the Utah industry or industries designated as such by USTAR for purposes of eligibility for UTAG grants using the selection criteria described in these rules.

(8) "University" means any public or not-for-profit institution of higher education with its primary location in Utah.

(9) "USTAR" means the Utah Science, Technology, and Research Initiative.

R856-3-4. Eligibility Criteria.

(1) Individual researchers or research teams employed by a Utah University are eligible to apply for UTAG.

(2) Applicant must be developing a technology in a targeted industry sector.

(a) USTAR will identify the targeted industry sectors eligible to receive a UTAG grant in the UTAG application materials.

(b) The USTAR governing authority will, according to its discretion and judgment, review and approve the targeted technology sectors to ensure they are strategically selected to align with USTAR's economic development objectives and maximize the potential benefit to the state.

(c) In selecting industry sectors eligible to receive support from UTAG, the Governing Authority may consider the following factors:

(i) statewide or regional importance of the industry to Utah's economy;

(ii) relative size of the sector, its stability, and growth potential;

(iii) characteristics of the state's workforce including education and training;

(iv) the current availability of other sources of funding or risk capital (public or private) for early-stage companies in the technology sector;

(v) the potential for the industry sector to develop new jobs and business opportunities in the state;

(vi) likelihood that research in this sector will lead to creation of a company in Utah or IP transfer to an existing Utah company; and,

(vii) any other factor the governing authority deems relevant, considering the mission of USTAR and the purpose of UTAG.

(3) Applicant must be developing a technology assessed to be between a TRL of 3-4.

(4) If Applicant is a current recipient of a USTAR grant, that project must be verified as complete by USTAR before the application deadline in order for the awardee to be eligible to apply, unless expressly exempted by USTAR.

R856-3-5. Application Form and Submission Guidelines.

(1) For each new round of grants, USTAR will provide a program announcement and make applications and instructions available on USTAR's website and in paper form upon request.

(2) The instructions will include the following:

(a) A general procedure for submitting an application;

(b) Requirements for a of letter of intent;

(c) Instructions for application content, which includes:

(i) description of the technology;

(ii) commercialization plan;

(iii) description of technical milestones and qualifications of team to meet milestones;

(iv) potential market;

(v) potential economic impact on Utah economy; and,

(vi) timeline for completion.

(d) instructions for the required budget outline, including:

(i) total project cost;

(ii) a description of funds already secured for activities related to this project;

(iii) an itemized budget detailing planned use of grant funds; and,

(iv) breakdown of costs to complete each milestone.

(e) Description of the application evaluation process and scoring system.

(f) Instructions for reporting project results and completing annual follow-up surveys.

(3) Completed applications must be received on or before the specified deadline in the application instructions.

(4) All complete applications will be reviewed and awardees selected via the criteria and method outlined in Sections R856-3-6 and R856-3-7 herein.

R856-3-6. Application Review Process.

(1) Pre-screening

(a) Applicants will submit a letter of intent before the specified deadline.

(b) Letter of intent will be reviewed by USTAR staff to determine eligibility to apply.

(2) University Pre-screening.

(a) Universities may perform an initial analysis and assessment of the project to be submitted with the application.

(3) Initial eligibility screening.

(a) USTAR will conduct an initial eligibility screening for each application to ensure:

(i) Completeness; and

(ii) Verification of minimum eligibility requirements.

(b) Any application that fails to meet the criteria in Section R856-3-6(3) will be rejected.

(4) Panel Review.

(a) Accepted applications will be reviewed by a panel of independent subject-matter experts ("expert panel") who will evaluate and score the applicant's proposed research project using the criteria in Section R856-3-7.

(i) Each expert panel will consist of at least two technical experts and one business expert.

(ii) USTAR will have discretion to select the independent experts for the expert review panels and shall consider, as applicable:

(A) academic qualifications, including, for a technical subject-matter expert, whether the expert has a terminal degree in a relevant field;

(B) relevant work experience and practical training in the field;

(C) knowledge of the target industry sector in Utah;

(D) experience evaluating grant proposals; and,

(E) any other factors USTAR deems important.

(v) USTAR will screen the experts for conflicts of interest before reviews are initiated using the conflict of interest policy available on USTAR's website.

(4) Governing authority review.

(a) A subcommittee of the governing authority will convene to review the expert panel's scores and develop recommendations.

(b) The GA Subcommittee will consider prior performance of applicant in its evaluation.

(b) The subcommittee will recommend projects for award and award amounts to the full governing authority for final approval.

R856-3-7. Application Evaluation Criteria.

(1) Letter of Intent

(a) The Administrative criteria to review of letters of intent will be published in advance.

(2) The review panel will use a scoring system to evaluate and rank grant applications and recommend grant amounts.

(a) The scoring criteria will be made available during the application period;

(b) The scoring system will be designed to assess and compare each applicant across several categories, which may include:

(i) Technical merit of proposal:

(ii) Strength and maturity of research or management team, as applicable;

(iii) Appropriate technology readiness level (TRL 3-4);

(iv) Potential for economic impact, as measured by:

(A) Job creation;

(B) Product sales;

(C) Potential revenue due to expansion of current business or development of a new business; and/or,

(D) Projected time to revenue or job creation;

(v) Commercialization plan/Market need;

(vi) Reasonableness of cost proposal (i.e. size and allocation of budget is appropriate for the work proposed);

(vii) reasonableness of proposed milestones and timelines; and

(ix) Any other factor indicative of applicant's ability to produce measurable and timely impacts on the state in areas related to the economic development performance metrics used to evaluate USTAR's activities.

(3) UTAG Grants must be used to accelerate the development and commercialization of a technology and project proposals must identify specific technical milestones leading to the proposed outcome.

(4) Examples of acceptable milestones must be specific to the project may include:

(a) research and development activities;

(b) proof of concept;

(c) product validation; and,

(d) product development.

R856-3-8. Grant Amount, Award, and Required Contract.

(1) USTAR will have the discretion to limit the amount of funding that may be awarded for each UTAG grant based on available funds, scope of project, and quality of proposal.

(2) USTAR reserves the right to award funding for any proposal in full or in part, to request additional information, or to reject any or all applications based on the eligibility and evaluation criteria set forth in these rules and according to the judgment and discretion of USTAR and the governing authority.

(3) Upon award of a UTAG grant, and prior to any disbursement of funds, university must enter into a contract with USTAR governing the use of grant funding.

(4) Unless addressed in the terms and conditions of the contract between university and USTAR, the following provisions shall apply:

(a) grant funding may not be used to provide a primary benefit to any state other than Utah; and,

(b) for all other eligibility requirements, awardee must maintain eligibility status for the UTAG program until the project is complete, all milestones have been met, final dispersant of funding has been made, and first year reporting has been completed.

(5) Violations of Section R856-3-8(4) may result in forfeiture of grant funding and may require repayment of all or a portion of the funding received as part of the UTAG grant.

R856-3-9. Contract Modifications.

(1) University may request a modification to the terms of an UTAG contract.

(2) USTAR may deny a modification request for any reason.

(3) USTAR shall have discretion to agree to reasonable, non-substantive changes.

(a) Non-substantive changes may include the following:

(i) changes to timelines within the scope of work;

(ii) corrections to clerical errors in the application materials;

(iii) technical changes to conditions that do not alter the budget, company's eligibility status, or violate any state or federal law;

(4) Substantive changes must be approved by the USTAR governing authority.

(5) All approved changes shall be made in writing and through an amendment modifying the terms of the grant contract.

R856-3-10. Funding Distribution.

(1) USTAR shall reimburse University for no more than the total amount specified in the contract.

(2) Payment will only be made for those costs authorized and approved by USTAR and submitted in accordance with the terms and conditions provided in the contract.

(3) Failure to successfully complete the milestones may result in a recapture of all or part of the grant funding and will be grounds to terminate the contract and any future funding.

R856-3-11. Reporting.

(1) University is required to provide the reporting for researchers or research teams, as applicable, specified in Sections 63M-2-702 and 63M-2-704.


Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR), University Technology Acceleration Grants (UTAG), technology readiness level (TRL)

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment

January 23, 2018

Authorizing, Implemented, or Interpreted Law


Additional Information


For questions regarding the content or application of rules under Title R856, please contact the promulgating agency (Science Technology and Research Governing Authority (Utah), Administration). A list of agencies with links to their homepages is available at http://www.utah.gov/government/agencylist.html or from http://www.rules.utah.gov/contact/agencycontacts.htm.