Aram Kalenian Award

Aram Kalenian, inventor and businessman

The Kalenian Award, established in 2006 through the generosity of Alba Kalenian in memory of her late husband Aram (Class of 1933), provides seed funds to support and advance the ideas and inventiveness of WPI students, faculty and alumni(ae). Aram Kalenian was an inventor who had numerous useful ideas and reduced many of them to practice. The purpose of the Kalenian Award is to encourage similar innovation and entrepreneurship at any stage of development from the WPI academic community. This award's focus is to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit through annual funding of a single viable invention.

Aram Kalenian's inventions and hard work have provided the perpetual funds for this award, and in this same spirit we hope that award recipients will succeed so well in life, as to provide WPI with future award funds to encourage invention, innovation, and entrepreneurship in their own names.

2016 Kalenian Award

The 2016 competition will open for applications on August 15, 2016.  Carefully follow Step One and Step Two below. The Intent to Compete form will be due no later than 5:00 PM October 3, 2016. The 3-page narrative proposal will be due no later than 5:00 PM November 1, 2016. Dates are subject to change.

"See a need, invent a solution, apply for a patent, start a business, and employ. Get that business up on its feet, and go back to inventing. That is how to give back to society."

Aram Kalenian '33
Inventor, Founder, Vee Arc Corp

The Award

This award will be given annually or every other year on a competitive basis and the recipient(s) will be the holder(s) of the 'Kalenian Award' in the year given. The duration of the award shall not exceed 18 months and will be a grant of up to $20,000. It may be given to an individual or group involved in the invention of a product in order to assist in the process of moving the invention toward commercialization. 

The award may be given to support innovative ideas or the development of commercial products. Ideally, the recipients should be either a part of an existing small business enterprise or in the process of trying to establish a small business. 

This is not only a nice monetary award, it is a good exercise to improve communication skills. A very concise " who am I--- this is my idea---this is how it will benefit society---this is what I need to achieve my goals " would be much appreciated.

This is not a business plan contest. We receive many high quality ideas in diverse market applications and it is difficult to select one winner. Applicants may resubmit proposals if they do not win the previous year.

Proposals are encouraged for project types that:

  • demonstrate the need to provide proof of concept,
  • show that an idea requires reduction to practice, or
  • involve products that are in the early stages of commercial development  

Application Guidelines

Step 1: Intent to Compete form

This is an online form that you should prepare answers for in advance. Please review the questions, then submit answers in the form before emailing your three-page proposal. You may submit more than one form for more than one idea.

Deadline: Intent to Compete forms will be due no later than 5:00 p.m. October 3, 2016.

Step 2: Proposal Cover Page, Three-page Narrative and Appendices

Required cover page contents:

  • Kalenian Award Proposal
  • Name of company, product, or project title
  • Business address and web site, if any
  • Name of applicant(s)
    • If alumni(ae), include: Year Graduated, WPI Major(s) 
    • If faculty, include: Department and title 
    • If student(s), include: Major(s) and anticipated year(s) of graduation
  • Contact info for all applicants:
    • address
    • telephone number 
    • email address 

The three-page narrative should describe:

  • the activity to be undertaken
  • the expected outcome in the 18-month award time frame
  • the perceived importance and/or market value of the product, and
  • longer-term anticipated outcomes

The page limit excludes the cover page, space taken by graphics, diagrams and images, and appendices. (Graphics may be placed in an appendix, but do not use an appendix to exceed the written narrative page limit.) Do not include CVs, patents, business plans, large appendices or lengthy scientific and/or technical descriptions.

Deadline: The narrative proposal will be due no later than 5:00 PM on November 1, 2016

Email instructions - Please email your proposal with "Kalenian Award Proposal" as the subject line to: Gina Betti at   

Proposal Review

Proposals will be reviewed by judges with professional business backgrounds and sensitivity to confidentiality. Selection of the award recipient will be based on some or all of the following criteria:

  • novelty of the idea
  • commercial potential, including market opportunity
  • demonstration of a viable business plan evolving from the idea, product, or process (do not submit a business plan)
  • likelihood of success


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