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).

NOTE: For a list of rules that have been made effective since October 1, 2019, please see the codification segue page.

NOTE TO RULEFILING AGENCIES: Use the RTF version for submitting rule changes.

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

Rule R856-4. USTAR Science Technology Initiation Grant.

As in effect on October 1, 2019

Table of Contents

R856-4-1. Authority.

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

R856-4-2. Purpose and Goals.

(1) USTAR's Science and Technology Initiation Grant (STIG) provides grants to individual researchers or research teams employed by a Utah not-for-profit college or university to develop preliminary data, conduct proof of concept experiments, or perform other precursor research activities required to pursue larger, commercially-oriented grants from a federal agency, grant making foundation, industry or related entity.

(2) The goal of STIG is to increase the amount of external research funding received by Utah's universities and strengthen the research and development capacity at state Universities in commercially-oriented areas aligned to existing state industry sectors.

R856-4-3. Definitions.

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

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

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

(4) "STIG" and "STIG grant" mean the Science and Technology Initiation Grant, a competitive grant program administered by USTAR.

(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 the method of estimating technology maturity used by the Federal Government and is available on the USTAR website.

(7) "Targeted funding" means the larger commercially-oriented grant or other external funding offered by a federal agency, grant making foundation, or related entity for which the researcher will apply after using the STIG grant to develop required data.

(8) "Grant making foundation" means any not-for-profit organization that awards research grants (e.g. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Lemelson Foundation, etc).

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

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

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

R856-4-4. Eligibility Criteria.

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

(2) Applicants must identify the specific targeted funding source and the award type or solicitation.

(3) Applicants must propose using grant funds to support specific research and development activities, such as developing proofs of concept or performing initial data generation, necessary to develop requisite data for applicant's technology to be eligible for the targeted funding.

(4) Applicant's existing technology must be assessed to be between TRL 0-3.

(5) Collaborations among researchers at different universities and/or among researchers in different disciplines, while not required, will be given priority in the evaluation process described in Section R856-4-7.

(6) USTAR funding cannot be used as a material benefit to another state. Funding from a STIG grant must be used within the State of Utah.

(7) Applicants must be developing a technology in a targeted industry sector.

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

(b) The USTAR governing authority will, according to its discretion and judgment, review and approve the eligible 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 STIG, 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 result in creation of a company in Utah or IP transfer to an existing Utah company; and,

(vii) any other factor the governing authority deems relevant.

(8) Applicants must obtain a cost-sharing commitment from each university that will receive funding from a STIG grant;

(a) matching funds may be provided via:

(i) Direct payment to university for the research project; and/or

(ii) "In-kind" contribution, which may include:

(A) Salary of university-affiliated researcher or personnel;

(B) Cost of Subject Matter Expert(s) (SME) time spent on project;

(C) Materials and equipment;

(D) Work/research space;

(E) Travel and other expenses budgeted for the project; or,

(F) Other contributions, as approved by USTAR

(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.

R856-4-5. Application Form and Submission Guidelines.

(1) USTAR will accept applications for STIG grants on an ongoing basis.

(2) USTAR will make applications and instructions available on USTAR's website and in paper form upon request.

(3) The instructions will include the following:

(a) A general procedure for submitting an application.

(b) Instructions for application content, which includes:

(A) description of the target grant;

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

(C) timeline for completion of research.

(iii) Instructions for providing an outlined budget for total project cost including;

(2) a description of any funds already secured for activities related to the project;

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

(4) funding by milestones and timelines.

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

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

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

R856-4-6. Application Review Procedure.

(1) University Pre-screening.

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

(2) 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 R856-4-6(2) will be rejected.

(3) 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 R856-4-7.

(i) Each expert panel will consist of at least two technical experts who will use the scoring rubric provided by USTAR.

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

(A) academic qualifications including 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 grant program/agency.

(D) experience evaluating grant proposals; and,

(E) any other factors USTAR deems important.

(iii) 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 on in evaluation.

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

R856-4-7. Application Evaluation Criteria.

(1) The panel of subject matter experts will use a scoring rubric to evaluate 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 each proposal and may include:

(i) technical merit of proposal;

(iii) whether proposal involves a collaboration between researchers at more than one university;

(iv) whether the proposal involves a collaboration between researchers in more than one discipline;

(v) competitiveness of the proposed project and team for the target grant;

(vi) potential economic benefit to the state;

(vii) reasonableness of cost proposal (i.e. size and allocation of budget is appropriate for the work proposed additional funds available to complete work);

(viii) 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, including capture of Federal Funding.

R856-4-8. Grant Amount, Award, and Required Contract.

(1) USTAR will have the discretion to limit the amount of funding that may be awarded for each STIG 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 STIG grant, and prior to any disbursement of funds, university(ies) must enter into a contract with USTAR governing the use of STIG grant funding.

(4) Unless addressed in the terms and conditions of the contract between university(ies) 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, awardees must maintain eligibility status for the STIG program until the project is complete, all milestones have been met, final disbursement of funding has been made, and first year of reporting has been completed.

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

R856-4-9. Contract Modifications.

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

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

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

(a) Nonsubstantive changes may include the following:

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

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

(iii) technical changes that do not alter the budget, researcher 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.

R856-4-10. Milestones.

(1) STIG funding must be used by individual researchers or research teams to develop proof of concept and/or initial data generation projects needed to apply for the targeted funding.

(2) Acceptable milestones must be specific to the project and designed to result in achieving the targeted funding.

(3) Specific funding details will be provided in the program announcement and in each STIG contract.

R856-4-11. 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.

R856-4-12. Milestones and Reporting.

(1) All universities receiving STIG funding are required to provide the reporting for researchers or research teams as specified in Section 63M-2-702 and 704, as applicable.


Science Technology Initiation Grant (STIG), Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR), 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.