EPIC Innovator

The EPIC Innovator competition aims to identify and recognize entrepreneurial students and faculty with a focus on energy. Individuals or teams are invited to submit ideas, projects, technology concepts, or prototypes that they believe are worthy of further exploration and funding. EPIC Affiliates can become engaged with participants either as short-term reviewers of their work, longer-term mentors, financial supporters, early-term investors, as is deemed appropriate. All submissions need to be energy-related.

The program is generously sponsored by the EPIC Affiliates.

Open Solicitation

The solicitation is open to UNC Charlotte students, faculty, and staff. All proposals must be energy-related. To participate in the solicitation, interested individuals must provide the following documentation and fill in this application form

  • One page (max) abstract describing the project/concept/technology (technology details)
  • One page (max) resume of each team member

The 2021 application period is currently closed but students will be notified in the fall about the 2022 competition.

Participant Selection

In early January, up to five teams/individuals are selected from the proposals and invited to present their ideas to EPIC and EPIC Affiliates. A committee comprised of EPIC Affiliates reviews the proposals and makes the selection.  The selected teams are assigned a mentor to guide them through the process and help them prepare for the presentation.

Event & Presentations

The selected teams present their ideas in April to a panel composed of Affiliates. Each team has 10-12 minutes to present and afterwards, the panel has 10 minutes to provide the presenter(s) with feedback and ask questions. The event ends with a 30-minute networking reception where three teams will receive one of the following awards:


1st prize: $1,000 and dinner with one of the sponsors
2nd prize: $500
3rd prize: $300

End of Round

After the event, EPIC Affiliates decide on the level of support, if any, (mentor, financial support, etc.) they would like to provide to any of the teams/individuals.

Ventureprise – EPIC Innovators Collaboration

Participants in the EPIC Innovators Program are immediately eligible for the Ventureprise Launch NSF I-Corps program. Teams are awarded up to $3,000 in travel stipends to conduct customer discovery interviews and attend industry conferences to explore the commercial possibilities of their ideas and research. Ventureprise will provide commercialization training to University faculty and student participants. Upon completion of the program, participants will be eligible for additional NSF commercialization funding opportunities in excess of $1 million.

For questions contact Christine Biela at cbiela@uncc.edu