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.

2013 Kalenian Prize

The Aram Kalenian Award is officially open for applications.  Carefully follow application procedures, Step One and Step Two, below.

"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 single 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. The award will be in the form of an 18 month grant of $25,000 which 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. Note: possbly included is a $5000 in-kind package of legal services courtesy of Wolf Greenfield & Sacks, P.C. of Boston.

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 ideas for many different markets and it is difficult to select one winner. We encourage those that do not win to continue innovating, to enter other competitions, and to seek mentoring.  Applicants may resubmit proposals.

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
  • any diagrams are always welcome to help clarify the invention

Application Procedure

Step 1: Intent to Compete form

Please submit this short form  prior to emailing your three-page proposal. Due September 23, 2013 by 11:59 p.m.

Step 2: Three-page proposal

Please do not submit CVs, patent documents, business plans, or large appendices. Appended diagrams, drawings or images and the cover page are not counted against the three-page limit.

Required cover page contents:

  • Kalenian Award Proposal
  • Name of company, or product, or project title
  • 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
  • Business name, address, web site - if any
  • All applicant(s) contact info: addresses, telephone numbers, and emails

Maximum 3-page proposal narrative outlining:

  • the activity to be undertaken
  • the expected outcome in the 18-month time frame of the award
  • the perceived importance and/or market value of the product, and
  • longer-term anticipated outcomes
  • do not include lengthy scientific or technical descriptions

Email instructions:

Please email your application with "Kalenian Award Proposal" in the subject line, attach your proposal, and send to: Gina Betti at  


  • The Intent to Compete form deadline is September 23, 2013 by 11:59 p.m.
  • The three-page proposal deadline is October 23, 2013 by 11:59 p.m.

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