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.
October 23, 2023 – Arizona’s WearTech Applied Research Center is developing its fourth cohort of applied research projects and is seeking novel wearable solutions to address challenges and opportunities within the existing healthcare and industrial sectors.
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 fourth cohort of projects will draw from the allocated matching funds in the FY24 Arizona State Budget. This year the budget appropriates $2,500,000 in State matching funds, which means WearTech could select up to 10 new projects, each supported by up to $250,000 of State matching funds.
On October 19, 2023, WearTech Center hosted a demo day and ideation meeting with the goal of identifying potential applied research projects that can address problems and opportunities within the healthcare and industrial sectors.
The successful event brought together representatives from major hospital systems and angel and venture capital investors, as well as local technology companies to discuss wearable tech solutions and needs. The engagement included quick pitches from eight WearTech projects and investors were able to provide valuable feedback.
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.
The criteria with which WearTech Center evaluates potential projects for funding opportunities are as follows:
- Market fit
- Research collaboration
- Tech Readiness / Time to market
- Corporate or entrepreneurial partner
- Opportunity for Arizona (including established Arizona presence)
- IP status
- 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
Click here to download a PDF of the WearTech Call for Innovation 2023.
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. Applicants must submit proof of registration with the Arizona Corporation Commission and have at least 1 FTE working in Arizona. 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 $2,500,000 in the FY24 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 during the month of March 2024. In order to meet their deadlines, the Center is interested in working with project teams on concrete proposals through the end of February 2024.