Press Release
November 23, 2021
4 minute read

CSIT to Launch New Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program Dec. 6

Program Will Offer up to $150,000 in grants to NJ Startups

TRENTON, N.J. (November 23, 2021) – The New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology (CSIT) today announced the creation of a $1.5 million Catalyst Seed Research and Development (R&D) Grant Program to help New Jersey-based startups accelerate development of technologies. The funding will help the companies transform new discoveries from the research stage into commercially viable products and services. The application, which opens on December 6, will be available at

The Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program will be open to companies conducting R&D or testing technologies in the following areas that were identified as targeted industries in Governor Phil Murphy’s economic development plan, “The State of Innovation: Building a Stronger and Fairer Economy in New Jersey: Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation and Logistics, Film and Digital Media, Life Sciences (including, but not limited to: therapeutic drug development, diagnostics, and medical devices), Non-Retail Food and Beverage, Finance and Professional Services, and Technology.

“The new Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program will vastly expand the scope of projects and companies that CSIT is able to support,” said CSIT Executive Director Judith Sheft. “Providing seed capital to businesses in high-wage, high growth sectors is both beneficial to the individual entities and important to the strength of our overall innovation economy.”

The program will offer two grant components:

  • Grants of up to $150,000 for projects that are developing life sciences therapeutics. It is anticipated that five awards will be made in this area.
  • Grants of up to $75,000 for other innovation projects – non–life sciences therapeutics drug R&D projects and projects that are not eligible for the Clean Tech Seed Grant. It is anticipated that 10 awards will be made in this area.

Sheft noted that the Catalyst Seed R&D Program is modeled after CSIT’s successful Clean Tech R&D Seed Grant Program, which awarded nearly $750,000 to startups statewide earlier this year. CSIT anticipates opening a second round of its Clean Tech Seed Grant program in early 2022. Therefore, companies that are working on research regarding the avoidance of emissions of, or recapture, greenhouse gases and/or criteria pollutants, or to enable such avoidance or recapture, will not be eligible to participate in the Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program. 

Applications for the Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program will open on December 6, 2021. CSIT will host an information webinar on December 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m., which will include a walk-through of the application. Anyone interested in attending can visit to register. A recording of the webinar will also be available on CSIT’s website. Entrepreneurs can also get information about this and other programs designed to help their early-stage companies grow during the NJEDA’s November 30 Innovation Economy Programs webinar. Attendees can register for the event at

“Under Governor Murphy’s leadership, New Jersey is receiving national and international attention as an excellent place to locate and grow a startup,” NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said. “The Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program will be an important tool for helping us continue to foster an environment where these startups can succeed and thrive.”

Applicants for the Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program will be required to demonstrate at least one of the following for their projects in order to be eligible for funding: description of the proof of concept results, published paper outlining results achieved, successful completion of a federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant or contract related to the project, and/or confirmation documentation from a university tech transfer office if the project relates to technology that has been developed at a university. Complete eligibility requirements can be found at

In support of CSIT’s mission to foster diversity and inclusion, one grant award will be reserved for an applicant meeting the minimum scoring criteria of 70 points that is women-owned as certified by the State of New Jersey and one grant award will be reserved for an applicant meeting the minimum scoring criteria of 70 points that is minority-owned as certified by the State of New Jersey. If there are no applicants that meet these criteria the funds may be allocated to other applicants.

In their roles on the CSIT Board, New Jersey State Senator Robert Singer and Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker have been vocal champions of creating resources such as the Catalyst Seed R&D Program to support New Jersey startups.

“Access to seed capital is among the most vital tools for very young companies that are often too early-stage to attract outside capital,” Senator Singer said. “Giving them that access now will pay dividends for our innovation ecosystem in the future.”

“New Jersey startups already have a tremendous number of assets available to them – including proximity to world-class universities, a top-notch talent pool, and a supportive innovation ecosystem,” Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker said. “Adding the Catalyst Seed R&D Grant Program to the suite of resources that CSIT offers startup companies will further Governor Murphy’s goal vision of making New Jersey the nation’s premier hub for innovative, science-and-technology focused entrepreneurism.”

About CSIT

In August 2018, Governor Murphy signed legislation re-establishing the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as the CSIT. Comprised of representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as academia, the Commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the state as a home for academic and technological research, development, and commercialization.

To learn more about state resources available to New Jersey entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, visit or follow @NewJerseyEDA on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.



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