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.
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. The award's focus is to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit through annual funding of a single viable invention.
This award will be given annually. 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 a business plan contest. Many diverse and high quality proposals are received making it difficult to select one winner. Applicants may resubmit proposals if they do not win an award in the previous year.
The 2019 competition will open for applications from WPI students, faculty, and alumni on August 28, 2019.
Read the Application Guidelines (pdf) and keep the following deadlines in mind.
Two teams split the 2016 Kalenian Award. Kinetic Batteries, which seeks a new way to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, and Autonomous Cargo Aircraft Project (ACAP), which hopes to build autonomous civilian aircraft, will share the $20,000 prize.
Kinetic Batteries team members included PhD candidate Aaron Birt and Ali Valamanesh '19. Mechanical engineering professor Diran Apelian advised the group.
ACAP team members included Nicholas Cyganski ’17, Benjamin Gillette ’17, Killian Henson ’18, Xavier Little ’19, Erik Nadel ’17, Tyler Nickerson ’17, and Keshuai Xu ’18. Advisors were Fred Looft, professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Mike Ciaraldi, senior instructor of computer science.
Kalenian Award winners from years past have innovative and exciting projects. Read about award winners from 2011-2015 (pdf) and 2006-2010 (pdf).