This initiative is modeled after a novel early stage funding approach being adopted by many universities across the US and is aimed at helping faculty inventions “bridge” the funding gap that is often encountered when a technology tries to move from the basic research arena into the commercial development realm. Discoveries resulting from basic research conducted at universities typically require further development to reach important milestones that are critical to commercial development. It is well documented that many novel and innovative university-based technologies fail to reach these milestones that bridge the gap (also known as the “valley of death”) between research and commercialization. Proof of concept gap funding initiatives are a way to help faculty members refine and answer important questions about their inventions that may otherwise be left unexplored due to lack of funding. The ultimate goal of gap funding is to both technically and commercially “de-risk” an invention such that it becomes a more attractive technology for either: (1) attracting further development funding, (2) licensing to an existing company, or (3) providing the intellectual property around which an entirely new company can be formed.
The Proof of Concept Gap Funding Initiative will include awards up to $75,000 for selected projects. Additional information on the program, eligibility requirements, proposal submission and review process, and the review criteria are included below.
The UIC Office of Technology Management (OTM) is pleased to announce the launch of the 2012 Proof of Concept Gap Funding Initiative focused on helping advance UIC inventions towards commercialization. This initiative includes $500,000 in funding for projects that will help reduce the technical or commercial risks related to UIC inventions and improve the chances for successful commercialization. Funding for the 2012 Proof of Concept Gap Funding Initiative is provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy, and the Office of Technology Management.