Amazon Catalyst Program
Website: Amazon Catalyst
Winners of Catalyst grants join a community of innovators—Amazon Catalyst Fellows—who share a passion for building solutions to real-world problems. Catalyst Fellows are UW students, postdocs, faculty, and staff working on a variety of projects, from computer science to global health. Find out more about the Catalyst Fellows and their projects below: https://catalyst.amazon.com/uw/projects/.
Amazon and the University of Washington have teamed up to create Amazon Catalyst, a new program to help you launch your next big idea. If you’ve got a big, bold solution to a problem in the world, we want to hear it – and you could get up to $100,000 to bring it to life.
The program is open to all current students, faculty, and staff at the Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma campuses, and proposals are selected in any field, including the humanities, engineering, the sciences, and the arts. Phase 1 winners ($25K award limit) join a community for innovators-- Amazon Catalyst Fellows-- who share a passion for building solutions to real-world problems. Your funded project may be eligible for a further award of up to $75K.
The application is available at: https://catalyst.amazon.com/uw/apply/
How We Evaluate
All proposals to Amazon Catalyst go through a three-step process outlined below. Evaluation for Catalyst grants is rapid and efficient: it is possible to receive funding within 90 days of applying. If successful, you could even receive funding for your project by the end of the quarter.
- Members of the Amazon Catalyst Evaluation Committee read your proposal and evaluate it against the screening criteria (listed below).
- If selected, you will be invited to an in-person meeting with members of the Amazon Catalyst Evaluation Committee to discuss your project’s details.
- The committee takes a final vote and notifies the winners.
In each of these steps, we look at the following:
- Meets a need - Does the application fulfill/address a real need that people have, and have those people been clearly identified?
- End product - Does the application describe the development of a tangible product (e.g., a device, process, service, etc.) to meet the identified need? Please note that we do not fund basic research or projects whose primary goal is to collect knowledge.
- Novel Idea - Is the final product differentiated from other approaches? Is it new, creative, and maybe a little crazy?
- Scalable - Is the final product likely to scale to a large number of people, and have a positive impact on them?
- Practical approach - Are the project plan, requested funding, and milestones realistic? Did the applicant describe potential obstacles that could reasonably affect the project’s success?
- Motivated team - Do the applicants demonstrate the necessary capabilities and genuine motivation to carry out the project?
- Clarity of application - Is the application written clearly, without jargon, for a broad audience? Have the questions been answered with sufficient rigor?
- Relatable to the public - Would the solution, if carried out successfully, make a good article in a newspaper or a “BBC headline” immediately following the grant period?