Creative Kick-Start Student Information


We will be awarding up to $1000 to 10 groups, so it’s a competitive process that involves a few steps.

  1. Think of an idea for a project that you can complete in roughly three months time (start now).
  2. Identify a faculty or staff sponsor who supports your idea (start now). Sponsor Information
  3. Complete an online application explaining your idea and why it’s worth pursuing (Applications Due Oct 28, 2022).
  4. Receive confirmation that your Kick-Start project was accepted (Mid-December)
  5. Pick up RedBox & Funds (Nov 28 – Dec 9, 2022) Sign up for Workshop
  6. Hand in Progress Report (January 27, 2023 and March 10, 2023)- Link to Progress Report Template
  7. Present your project at the College of Engineering Research Open House in Early April 2023
  8. Those award winners who make progress developing their prototype / designing / developing their project and are not graduating in May 2023 will be eligible for an additional $5000 one time grand prize award at the completion of this event in April to help them continue to turn this project/idea into a business.


By taking a Kick-Start, you agree to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Fill out two Check-In Reports with sponsor’s signature by January 27, 2023 and March 10, 2023
  • Show your project as a poster at the College of Engineering Research Open House in Early April 2023.
  • Return the equipment used in your project.
  • Submit all your receipts and a spreadsheet with all your expenses. Link to Spreadsheet
  • Complete a post-project survey of your experiences with the Kick-Start program.

It is strongly encouraged, you also:

  • Invite a University Photographer to take photos while working on your project (who to contact will be provided later)
  • Visit the Hanson Center for Technical Communication for assistance with your proposal before you submit it.
  • Attend a workshop on creating a poster (March)


  • We didn’t have any specific projects in mind. It could be something that solves a problem in the world, on campus or in your room. It could be a prototype or a finished product.
  • Open to All Engineering students (undergraduate and graduate)
  • Must find a faculty/staff sponsor. The role of the sponsor is to make sure the idea or project has some basis in reality, and to provide you with guidance during your project. You’ll identify your project sponsor when you complete the online application. You must meet with your adviser at least twice during the project process to fill out a Check-In Report and once in preparation for the final presentation of the project.
  • You can work in a team, but you’ll only get one Kick-Start for that project. Kick-Start will be awarded per idea.
  • If you choose to work as a team, one person must be designated as the primary investigator for the project. That person will be responsible for meeting all the deadlines and communicating with Kick-Start program staff. Your team can include as many members, or co-investigators, as you see fit.
  • Students listed as co-investigators on a project are allowed to apply for their own Kick-Start if it’s for an entirely different project. Remember, it’s one Kick-Start per idea.
  • Up to 10 awards will be distributed. The amount will be at most $1000 but may be less depending on the amount submitted as the budget listed on the application.
  • Failure is a natural part of making. It’s expected. The important thing is that you learn from these failures to better prepare for your next project. You will still be required to complete all the responsibilities of the Kick-Start – like a presentation about what went wrong and how it could be fixed.
  • What can you do with the money?
    • The award is to help make your idea a reality. Making it a reality will likely involve a lot of different things. These could include any services or products through the Engineering Electronics Shop and Engineering Machine Shop.  Please indicate on your application and budget if you are going to be needing any of the following:
      • materials
      • tools
      • labor
      • advice of professionals and peers
      • just about anything, really
    • There’s no way for us to know what you’re going to need to build and refine your idea. To make it as simple as possible for you to get what you need, we’re giving you near-total freedom with how you spend your funds, within the parameters of your approved budget. We will not be able to reimburse you. If you can honestly justify it for your project, then it’s OK to spend your funds on it. Purchases of illegal substances, chemicals/items that need special handling and weapons are prohibited.  If questions about what may or may not be purchased, please visit the Electronics Shop.
    • In exchange for this freedom, you will be required to track your expenses in an online spreadsheet and submit your receipts at the end of your project. You may have to pay back any funds that are not accompanied by a receipt, so be sure to document everything. We’ll provide you with a budget spreadsheet template in Google Drive and Excel formats to help you track expenses.
  • You maintain ownership of your idea and anything you build as part of this project. You are also welcome to keep any materials you purchase for your project. Any tools that you purchase should be returned to the Creative Space for use by other makers. Examples of tools that should be returned are: a soldering iron used to solder parts of your project, an oscilloscope to measure electrical signals, and a power drill to drill holes. We recognize there is gray area in this definition, so please direct any questions about what should be returned to
  • If you don’t use all your funding, that’s great.  This project has limited funds so any money you don’t use will go toward helping another maker build their idea.



  • Cannot already be receiving funding for this project
  • Only 1 idea per submission
  • Students can be the primary investigator for only one Kick-Start per year. However, students can be co-investigators on more than one project.
  • If you do not complete the requirements as outlined in this document, if you leave the project or the University, or in the unlikely event you are asked to leave the project, you agree to return ALL materials and tools to the Creative Space within three business days. You may be held accountable for any missing funds on the account and equipment. You will also be ineligible to receive future Kick-Start awards.