High Impact Opportunity Projects

The Oregon Innovation Council (Oregon InC) is taking a new approach to support the growth of emerging, potentially high-value industry sectors. Rather than funding organizations to help grow sectors, Oregon InC is soliciting another round of proposals to fund discrete projects—called high impact opportunity projects (HIOPs)—that will support the growth of industry sectors by removing barriers to research and development, supporting product development and testing, or expediting technology commercialization or other aspects of industry innovation. To accomplish this, Business Oregon periodically issues a Request for Proposals (RFP) for HIOPs.

High impact opportunity projects are anticipated to last from 6 to 18 months. All projects are expected to support the growth of an industry, not an individual business. Proposals that demonstrate benefits for just a single business will not be considered. Consortia of industry partners or similar groups are encouraged to apply. Project funds are flexible in how they can be used to best support a particular sector's needs. Thus, there is no exact list of examples of eligible uses of the funds, but possible projects could include:

  • shared specialty testing or production facilities or equipment
  • research and development
  • technology commercialization activities

All projects must have clear objectives and include performance measures that clearly demonstrate the value of the project to the state. Projects are strongly encouraged to have connections to or involvement with Oregon-based research entities. This program is not intended to fund the following: projects solely or significantly focused on workforce development, the administrative functions of incubators or accelerators, or projects that will solely or mostly benefit one company or its proprietary technology.

Types of Projects

Two types of projects are eligible to be considered:

  • Feasibility Studies—These are projects that still require design and/or further research before they are ready for implementation. The studies are expected to explore a project idea that would fit with the implementation phase of the HIOP program. It is anticipated that these projects will have budgets of less than $150,000 and be shorter in duration. Projects are encouraged to identify sources of follow-on funding that will support implementation of the projects. Oregon InC hopes to provide additional HIOP funding in the future for which these projects could apply, but applicants should consider other sources of implementation funding as well.
  • Implementation Projects—These are projects that are ready to be implemented. Some level of design and scoping has already occurred, and the need for the project can be clearly demonstrated. Measurable benefits to an industry sector from the project can be demonstrated. It is anticipated that these projects will have budgets of less than $500,000 although higher budgets will be considered if a very strong case can be made. These projects are expected to be longer in duration although not longer than 18 months.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant's project must apply to a traded-sector industry. Traded sector is defined in Oregon statute as industries in which member firms sell their goods or services into markets for which national or international competition exists.
  • Applicant must be an Oregon-based organization. Oregon-based is defined as having more than 50% of the organization's employees located in Oregon.
  • Applicant has clearly demonstrated how the HIOP grant will benefit the relevant industry sector, not an individual business.

Selection Process & Criteria

Applications will be evaluated by a committee approved by Oregon InC. The committee will provide the results of its evaluation to Oregon InC who will make a funding recommendation to Business Oregon, which will make the final funding decisions. Meeting the above eligibility requirements does not guarantee a grant award. A set of criteria will be used in the review process to compare proposals and identify the most deserving projects. The criteria are as follows:

  • Uniquely attributable or strong links to Oregon—This could be geographic advantages or unique attributes to Oregon or it could be in one of Oregon's existing, strong industry sectors.
  • Level of impact derived from Oregon InC's investment—The use of a relatively small amount of Oregon InC dollars will have significant results for the industry sector.
  • Leverage—This could be funding provided by industry, project collaborators, federal funds or other sources. It could also be non-financial leverage, such as of university research, other economic development activities and/or legislative initiatives or other sources.
  • Ability to scale into significant jobs and/or revenue—Job/revenue impacts of projects will be evaluated for their potential in the medium- to long-term.
  • Broad impacts—Projects will be evaluated for the geographic scope of their impacts as well as the impacts at a variety of income and education levels.
  • Sector—Projects that would impact one of the preferred industry sectors are highly encouraged and may be given priority in the evaluation process.

How to Apply

Information on how to apply including submission requirements, deadline, and process will be added to this page when Oregon InC issues another RFP for HIOPs.