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CA CARES Proof of Concept Funds 

Round 2: Grants for Climate Tech and Policy Solutions - Powered by UC San Diego.

 The CA CARES Grant, a pioneering initiative by UC San Diego's Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC), accelerates innovative technologies to market, aligning with California's Climate Adaptation Strategy. It empowers climate-vulnerable communities, fortifies public health, cultivates a resilient economy, and harnesses nature-based solutions. With a commitment to elevating climate science and fostering collaboration, it offers a transformative path to sustainability. Following the success of our first cohort, we're excited to announce the launch of the second call for proposals. Join us in shaping a sustainable future, contributing to a community dedicated to innovation and environmental well-being. The CA CARES (Climate Action, Resilience, and Environmental Sustainability) Grant program offers a unique platform for your transformative ideas.   

The CA CARES Grant is currently taking submissions for the researcher-led projects and policy track. Participants will be selected based on their innovation merit, potential impact, and their alignment in addressing California climate priorities. Partnerships with California agencies, industries, and communities are highly encouraged.  

See the 2024 Grant Awardees.

Application Process

We invite faculty to submit your pioneering projects that need funding to translate scientific discoveries into practical climate adaptation solutions for the market. This is your chance to turn research into impact and create a tangible benefit for climate action. Projects may request up to $50,000 each. Faculty must provide a summary of the project or policy proposal along with team demographics, milestones, and budget details. OIC will support and fund teams and projects in the CA CARES program that have met the criteria for funding in guidelines and presented a compelling project for impact.  

An internal review will consider intellectual property and novel policy and then a second-round group will consider innovation merit, potential impact, and their alignment in addressing California climate priorities.  

The funds are awarded for use during the 2024- 2025 Fiscal Year.




Note: Please do not include proprietary or confidential information in your proposal as applications may be shared with funding and investment partners. For questions, contact 

Key Dates & Timeline

Application Full Proposal Open: March 8, 2024 

Application Full Proposal Closed: May 10, 2024 

Internal Proposal Review Complete: May 15, 2024  

In Person Proposal Review Panels: June 3-5, 2024, at the Design & Innovation Building  

Funding Announcement: June 8, 2024 

Criteria & Target Applicants

Qualified proposals will have or be classified as the following:  

  • Early-stage proof-of-concept & feasibility projects. 
  • Prototype development leading to field testing  
  • Requires UC San Diego IP or a combination of UC San Diego and non-university IP is acceptable  

Apply if you are or have any combination of the following:  

  • UC San Diego Faculty submissions with a researcher, graduate, postdoc, or undergraduate student support 
  • UC San Diego IP, including new disclosures pre-company formation technologies or recently formed companies  
  • Project and work to take place in or impact California 
  • Interdisciplinary approaches (multiple department involvement) 
  • Novel policy interventions 

Impact Focus Areas for All

Aligned with California's Climate Adaptation Strategy, CA CARES is leading engagement with outcomes-based priorities that underscore our dedication to a climate-resilient and sustainable future.  

Empowering Climate-Vulnerable Communities: CA CARES recognizes the urgency to bolster protections for communities disproportionately affected by climate change. The program seeks to engage entrepreneurs and innovators from all identity groups and communities and with specific efforts to engage those from historically marginalized backgrounds, forging a path for more equitable innovation.  

Ensuring Public Health and Safety: Escalating climate risks demands a renewed focus on public health and safety. CA CARES confronts this responsibility head-on, fueling technological advancements that safeguard communities against challenges posed by a changing climate. Through resilience-driven innovation, we build a safer, more secure future for all.  

Cultivating a Climate-Resilient Economy: CA CARES envisions an economy that thrives symbiotically with the environment. By nurturing the startups, technologies, and policy prioritizing sustainability, we contribute to a resilient economic landscape that actively mitigates climate risks and fights for the health and benefit of communities that are our foundational economic drivers.  

Harnessing Nature-Based Solutions: CA CARES is dedicated to accelerating the integration of nature-inspired innovations. Aligned with the Climate Adaptation Strategy, we see nature as our greatest inspiration, playing a crucial role in the design of a more sustainable tomorrow.  

Elevating Climate Science: The University of California is a renowned leader in climate research. CA CARES is committed to actions based on the best current science, grounding innovations in knowledge to create meaningful change. 

Collaborating for Impact: Together we can do more, better, and faster. CA CARES unites innovators, experts, and communities, leveraging its resources for collective progress to go beyond individual effort. 

CA CARES is an equal opportunity grant and does not discriminate against awardees based on social identity or group affiliation. Consideration will be provided for all teams based on clarity of IP and feasibility of reaching inflection points during the period of performance with support from key partners in our regional innovation ecosystem.  

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion are key parts of what makes CA CARES a successful program with enduring impact. CA CARES intentionally seeks to recruit and engage entrepreneurs and innovators from historically marginalized communities as an integral strategy to address the underrepresentation of diverse founders and the communities that technologies are destined to serve. Furthermore, industry panelists are selected to be representative of the identity parity of the university because representation and role modeling are important at all levels of the program in the effort to advance the mission of OIC at UC San Diego. For more information, please visit Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in Research Affairs.

Additional Resources

Learn more about the UC Climate Action Strategy.

Learn more about the UC Sustainable Practices Policy (pdf)

Read the most recent version of the California Climate Adaptation Strategy- 2022 (pdf).