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Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program

The Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program and Fund (Fund) is a financing resource operated by the Maryland Department of Commerce (Commerce), to provide grants for innovation infrastructure projects intended to support innovation in an eligible technology sector. In FY24 $10 million is available for grants to transformative projects that accelerate the growth of the state’s strategic industry sectors. Grants may be awarded to private companies, nonprofit entities, local governments, or colleges and universities in the State.

Please note that applications are not being accepted at this time. Phase 1 of the FY2024 application process has concluded. Applicants selected for Phase 2 have been notified. We expect to accept Phase 1 applications for FY2025 at a later time in the Fall of 2024.

Eligible Use of Funds

Grant awards may be used to defray the cost a grantee incurs to acquire, construct, rehabilitate, install, improve, or equip an eligible innovation infrastructure project.

Grants may be used for eligible innovation infrastructure projects designed to transform and accelerate growth in the following eligible technology sectors:

  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Biotechnology
  • Blue Technology
  • Cybersecurity
  • Defense
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Life Sciences
  • Quantum
  • Sensors and Robotics

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to: 

  • Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities
  • Wet Laboratories
  • Cyber Ranges
  • Prototype Manufacturing Centers
  • Other Specialized Workforce Training, Skill Certification, or Research-Related Spaces

APPLICATION PROCESS

The Build Our Future grant applications will be issued through a 2-step process. Phase 1 will include an open call for proposals, seeking initial project summary information and detailing the impact of the project on advancing innovation and growth in targeted industry sectors. Following review of the Phase 1 applications, a review committee will select and invite a limited number of applications to submit a more detailed Phase 2 application.

Phase 1 Application

  • A completed Phase 1 Application must include an outline and narrative of the project, and describe how it qualifies and supports the goals and parameters of the program. 
  • The Application must include the location, size, and function of the project. It must identify the technology sector, describe how the project will support innovation in that sector, identify sources and uses of funds, and describe the transformational aspects of the project. 
  • Incomplete submissions cannot be considered.
  • The application form available here. Applications may be submitted to buildourfuture.commerce@maryland.gov.
  • The deadline to submit an application has passed and applications are no longer being accepted at this time.
  • Successful applicants will be notified and invited to submit a Phase 2 Application in early January 2024.

Webinar

An informational webinar for potential applicants was held on October 19. You can view the recorded webinar and PowerPoint presentation below.

Phase 1 Application Documents:

Completed Phase 1 applications should be submitted via email to buildourfuture.commerce@maryland.gov

APPLICANT ELIGIBILITY

  • A single entity may not be awarded more than $2,000,000 in grant funds in a fiscal year. 
    1. For a grant award up to $1,000,000, a grantee shall provide matching funds that are at least 200% of the grant amount. 
    2. For a grant award exceeding $1,000,000, and up to $2,000,000, a grantee shall provide matching funds that are at least 400% of the grant amount. 
    3. Funds received by a grantee through other State grant programs are not counted toward the grantees matching funds requirement. 
  • A grantee must demonstrate an ability to cover their share of the project costs. 
  • Not more that 50% of the appropriation to the fund in a fiscal year may be awarded to colleges and universities in that fiscal year. 
  • Grants to colleges and universities from the fund will be awarded to projects that: 
    1. Are performed in collaboration with private industry; or
    2. Offer the prospect of significant economic impact and the opportunity to develop entrepreneurship or clusters of technological innovation in the State.

TERMS

Resources for Applicants

Questions about the Fund should be directed to buildourfuture.commerce@maryland.gov. A member of the Commerce team will respond to your inquiry in a timely manner.

 Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program?
    • ​The Build Our Future Grant Pilot Program (“Program”) was created in 2023 to provide grant funding for infrastructure projects that support innovation in eligible technology sectors. The program is administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce (“Commerce”). The program is scheduled to run for four years through June 30, 2027.

  • Who can apply for grant funding?
    • ​Grants may be awarded to private companies (including publicly held companies), nonprofit entities, local governments or colleges and universities in Maryland.

  • What types of colleges and universities are eligible to apply?
    • ​All colleges and universities in Maryland are eligible to apply. Foundations affiliated with an eligible college or university may also apply.

  • What technology sectors are eligible?
    • ​​Commerce may award grant funds to approved recipients carrying out infrastructure projects intended to support innovation in Advanced Manufacturing; Aerospace; Agriculture; Artificial Intelligence; Biotechnology; Blue Technology; Cybersecurity; Defense; Energy and Sustainability; Life Sciences; Quantum; and Sensors and Robotics.

  • What types of projects are encouraged?
    • ​​While not a definitive or exhaustive list, examples of eligible projects include Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities; Wet Laboratories; Cyber Ranges; Prototype Manufacturing Centers; and other specialized workforce training, skill certification, or research-related spaces.

  • What types of eligible projects are most likely to be awarded grant funds?
    • ​​Projects that fill a gap or a strong need in the ecosystem for advancing innovation in a targeted technology sector. Priority will be given to projects that have funds readily available and can be implemented quickly.

  • What type of eligible projects should colleges and universities submit for funding?
    • ​Grants to colleges and universities from the Fund will be awarded to projects that:

      1. Are performed in collaboration with private industry; or

      2. Offer the prospect of significant economic impact and the opportunity to develop entrepreneurship or clusters of technological innovation in the State.

  • How much grant funding is available? How much can we apply for?
    • ​​The Program is funded at $10 million for FY2024. Funding in future years will be determined by the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly.

      • A single eligible entity may not be awarded more than $2 million in grant funds in a fiscal year.
      • Not more than 50% of the appropriation to the Fund in a fiscal year may be awarded to colleges and universities in that fiscal year.

  • Can multiple applications be submitted?
    • ​​Yes. An eligible applicant may submit more than one application in a fiscal year. If submitting multiple projects for consideration, each project must be submitted in a separate application.

  • Is there an application fee?
    • ​No. There are no fees or costs to apply for a grant.

  • Are matching funds required from the applicant?
    • ​Yes. The grant funds must be matched by the applicant with the following formulas, terms, and conditions.

      • For grant awards up to $1 million, a Grantee shall provide matching funds that are at least 200% of the grant amount.

      • For grant awards exceeding $1 million and up to $2 million, a Grantee shall provide matching funds that are at least 400% of the grant amount.

      • A Grantee must demonstrate an ability to cover the remaining costs of the project for which the grant is awarded. The Phase 2 application must include specific details, such as proof of cash funds, letters of commitment, or notices for federal grant funds.

      • Funds received by a Grantee through other State grant programs may not be counted toward the Grantee’s matching fund requirement.

      • Federal funds can be included as part of the match requirement.

  • What can grant funds be used for?
    • ​Grant awards may be used to defray the cost a Grantee incurs to acquire, construct,rehabilitate, install, improve, or equip an eligible innovation infrastructure project. Grant funds may not be used for indirect or “soft” costs, operating costs, program costs, management fees, consulting fees, administrative fees, curriculum development, or salaries of an applicant.

  • What can Grantee matching funds be used for?
    • ​Funds provided by the Grantee to match the grant award may be used for other costs, including “soft” costs associated with the project.

  • Can in-kind contributions be included as matching funds from the applicant?
    • ​In-kind contributions cannot be included as matching funds. Matching funds must be new costs related to the project. Past expenditures proposed to be an in-kind contribution – such as an existing building, or salaries of current staff – are not eligible forms of matching funds.

  • How does the application process work?
    • ​The application process will be two steps.

      • The Phase 1 application should briefly outline the project, and describe how it qualifies and supports the goals and parameters of the program.
      • Commerce will evaluate phase 1 applications. Successful applicants in Phase 1 will be invited to submit a Phase 2 application.
      • Phase 2 applications must demonstrate the ability of the applicant to fund the project.
      • Commerce will evaluate phase 2 applications. Grant funds are expected to be awarded to successful Phase 2 applicants in the spring of 2024.

  • Will the grant funds be made available at the time of the award?
    • ​Fifty percent of the grant funds will be delivered following the execution of a grant agreement with the Grantee. The balance will be reimbursed following the submission of documented expenditures by the Grantee and review by Commerce.

  • What is expected of the Grantee in order to comply with the conditions of the grant?
    • ​Grantees are subject to random audit for compliance with the appropriate use of grant funds. Grantees that do not comply with the intended purpose of a grant are subject to repayment of the grant in full.

      • Grant funds must be expended within two (2) years from the date the grant award is executed.

      • The project must be fully operational within two (2) years from the date the grant award is executed. All applicants should have a reasonable expectation of meeting this requirement.

      • For grant awards that include the purchase or construction of a facility the Grantee agrees to maintain ownership of and not sell the subject property for at least three (3) years from the date the grant award is executed. Failure of the Grantee to maintain ownership of and not sell the Property for the required three (3) years shall constitute a material breach and default on the grant award.

      Grantees will be required to submit annual reports to the Department of Commerce regarding progress on the Project, including metrics of success specified in the grant agreement and the project’s economic impact. 

      Commerce encourages Grantees to collect and report demographic characteristics of the primary contractors and/or vendors associated with construction of the project.