WearTech Applied Research Center Call for Innovation 2022

Published on
July 29, 2022
From WearTech Center's inaugural cohort: dynamic fall risk assessment system is tested at CORE Institute

Researchers, PIs, Technologists: Contact us with your wearable solutions for a chance to join WearTech Center’s next applied research cohort with matching funding up to$250,000.


July 29, 2022 – Arizona’s WearTech Applied Research Center is developing its third cohort of applied research projects and is seeking novel wearable solutions to address challenges and opportunities within the existing healthcare delivery system.


The mission of WearTech Center is to accelerate bringing breakthrough wearable healthcare and human performance products to market in Arizona, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the growth and diversification of the Arizona economy.


WearTech Center’s third cohort of projects will draw from the allocated matching funds in the FY23 Arizona State Budget. This year the budget appropriates $3,000,000 in State matching funds, which means WearTech could select up to 12 new projects, each supported by up to $250,000 of State matching funds.

Arizona’s Need for Innovation in Wearable Technologies – from Healthcare Providers


On July 21, 2022, WearTech Center in coordination with the Greater Phoenix Healthcare Venture Collaborative hosted an opportunity development meeting with the goal of identifying potential applied research projects that can address problems and opportunities within the existing healthcare delivery system.


The successful event brought together representatives from major hospital systems, health plans and technologists from Arizona State University, University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix, Northern Arizona University and Grand Canyon University as well as local technology companies to discuss wearable tech solutions and needs within the healthcare delivery system.


The event revealed overarching needs of the healthcare system for wearable solutions that improve patient access to timely, personalized care.  Common themes included improving chronic disease management with wearables that can monitor vital signs, promote better adherence to therapy, and proactively prevent injuries such as falls.  Human factors and accessibility to technology through deployment on common devices such as smartphones was seen as fundamental for adoption.

Areas of opportunity:

●    Mental Health

●    Therapy Adherence

●    Patient Safety

●    Smarter Systems for Patient Interactions

●    Fall/Motion Detection

●    Early Diagnosis & Interventions

●    Big Disease Areas (e.g., Cardiology, Parkinson’s)

WearTech Center is asking technologists to provide ideas for innovating new wearable products to address these areas of opportunity and other challenges.

Evaluation Criteria

The criteria with which WearTech Center evaluates potential project for funding opportunities are as follows:  

●     Relevance

●     Problem/solution

●     Market fit

●     Research collaboration

●     Tech Readiness / Time to market

●     Corporate or entrepreneurial partner

●     Opportunity for Arizona

●     IP status

●     Regulatory

●     Team

●     Product financial viability


Additionally, all projects must meet the following requirements from the Arizona Commerce Authority to be eligible for selection and funding:

●     Description of defined product or service to be developed for commercial use.

●     Demonstrate collaboration with universities, nonprofit business associations, health science research centers, institutes, or other technology businesses that do business in Arizona

●     Evidence supporting the amount of Matching Funds (Private Investment)

●     Evidence of expenditures that are necessary and prudent in the research and testing process. Do not include operating, general management, and overhead costs. (Research Budget for State Funds)

●     Evidence of Principal Investigator’s academic credentials and history of intellectual contribution to the targeted technology


WearTech Project Development Process


Please contact Wes Gullett, wes@ohstrategic.com and Kathleen Lee, klee@azpei.org to share your ideas or with any questions.

Click here to download a 1-sheet overview PDF of the WearTech Call for Innovation 2022.




How does the WearTech Center select projects to support and collaborate with?


The WearTech Center seeks to support projects that align with the Center’s mission to accelerate commercialization of wearable technology solutions.  This year’s focus is on wearable technologies that can address the needs of the healthcare system in improving patient access and remote monitoring to timely, personalized care.  The Center’s selection criteria include relevance to the Center’s mission, market fit, research collaboration, tech readiness, positive economic impact within the state of Arizona, and technical and business expertise of the project team. In addition, the projects must meet the requirements associated with the state matching grant program of the Arizona Commerce Authority.


How much grant funding is available?


The state of Arizona has appropriated $3,000,000 in the FY23 budget to be distributed by the Arizona Commerce Authority to applied research centers that specialize in wearable technology including hardware and/or software components. The state funding will match up to $250,000 per project.  


How can the grant funding be used?


Grant funding can be used for direct applied research costs (e.g., researcher salaries, equipment, lab access, supplies) including development of wearable devices and related software applications, prototyping, device enhancements and modifications, clinical validation and testing.  The state matching funds cannot be used to cover overhead or marketing expenses.


Is there a cost-share requirement?


Yes, the Arizona Commerce Authority matches dollar for dollar on dedicated and committed private-sector funding.  The private-sector funding must be from sources other than the state of Arizona.  Examples of acceptable committed funding include federal grant funds such as SBIR awards, company expenditures on R&D, and partner funding for the collaboration.


Do projects need to be a collaboration effort?


Yes, the proposed projects must involve active collaborations between universities, nonprofit business associations, health science research centers, institutes or other technology businesses that do business in the state of Arizona.  In addition, the WearTech Center encourages collaboration with healthcare providers, clinicians, and entrepreneurs.


What are the key dates?


The WearTech Center intends to submit applications requesting state matching funds in the coming months.  In order to meet their deadlines, the Center is interested in working with project teams on concrete proposals through the end of 2022.  


About Partnership for Economic Innovation

Partnership for Economic Innovation is a passionate collective of business and community leaders dedicated to accelerating Arizona’s economic opportunities. We believe innovation’s next challenge isn’t exponential growth, it’s exponential impact—which is why PEI is investing in community-building technology and R&D designed to make Arizona more resilient and empower innovators to bring world-changing ideas to market. PEI initiatives include the WearTech and Blockchain Applied Research Centers, Pipeline AZ, and The Connective. Learn more at azpei.org.

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