VPRI Innovation Fund: Translational Research Grants

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The Vice President for Research and Innovation is delighted to announce the availability of Translational Research Grants underwritten by the Vice President of Research and Innovation’s Innovation Fund Program (VPRI-IF), an interdisciplinary effort to foster the accelerated translation of innovations developed at UO into new products, services, and businesses.

Background

In its broadest sense, translational research refers to a wide scope of scientifically-based activities that constitute the first, critical steps as a research discovery is transformed into an innovative commercial product or service. Historically, translational research has been difficult to fund as it has fallen in the gap between the “basic research” mandate of federal agencies and the more product-oriented goals of commercial entities. To bridge this gap, OVPRI is making financial support available from a variety of sources. Funds from Innovation Partnership Services, donations to OVPRI and dollars from UO’s University Venture Development II Fund now provide the foundation for the launch of the first VPRI-IF translational research program. VPRI-IF will award Translational Research Grants (TRGs) from $25,000-$75,000 to UO faculty and select UO-IP-based spinout companies. TRGs cover the direct costs of translational research projects.

Qualifying Project Purposes

TRG funding must be used to enhance the probability that pre-existing research discoveries will be transformed into new products, services, and companies that contribute to the Oregon economy, and awardees are expected to pursue additional funding with UO assistance to accelerate the impact of their research. Translational Research activities represent a portal for entry into external sources of funding such as SBIR/STTR, industry funding, and state grant programs. Successful TRGs will lead to technologies, works (content, multimedia, etc.) or services that are strong candidates for further market analysis and potentially new venture creation catalyzed by participation in such programs as Eugene’s Regional Accelerator and Innovation Network (RAIN Eugene). In the language of some federal agencies, the application of TRG funds will be expected to increase the Technological Readiness Level (TRL) of the innovation.

Examples of goals that TRGs may address include, but are not limited to:

  • Acquiring statistically meaningful proof-of-concept testing data or performance demonstrations
  • Creation of a working prototype, or the creation of a next-generation prototype from an earlier version
  • Create or extend intellectual property that will be licensed by a start-up or by an existing company.
  • Purchase or build equipment, or pay for a sub-contract, that is required to demonstrate the utility of the innovation.

Examples of goals that TRGs are not intended to support include, but are not limited to:

  • Basic research. TRG proposals should clearly articulate the pre-existing innovation and how you intend to further enable the application of your discovery/innovation/invention. TRG funds are not intended to generate the fundamental innovation, though they may result in the creation of innovative improvements.
  • Any item not related to technical development of your innovation in a direction that will enhance allowable goals. For example, market analysis or business plan creation. While these are laudable goals, they are not within the spirit or intent of TRG’s. OVPRI anticipates other national, regional and UO programs fulfilling this role (e.g. NSF I Corps, Business Oregon Phase 0, Lens of the Market)
  • Equipment that is general research equipment
  • Travel to meetings, publication charges
  • Patent fees. OVPRI supports patent and copyright protection through other operational funds
  • Tenure-line faculty salary

Eligibility

The applicant:

  • Is a UO TTF or NTTF faculty member with an active research program or a UO research spinout less than 5 years old which holds an active IP license from UO. Postdocs and graduate students are also encouraged to apply provided that their supervising TTF is a co-applicant and confirms support for the postdoc or graduate student to participate in available UO innovation training programs such as Lens of the Market.
  • Has filed IP disclosure(s) with UO Innovation Partnership Services (IPS) for the innovation related to the TRG application prior to submitting the TRG application or has an IPS Project Rules agreement in place for the related research project currently in progress.
  • Agrees to participate actively in entrepreneurship activities at UO and educational opportunities to accelerate the impact of research. This includes the participation of graduate students and postdocs in UO programs such as Lens of the Market.
  • Will submit a written report within 2 weeks of the end date of the Grant that:
    •  Summarizes accomplishments and supporting data addressing each goal
    •  Analyzes how the potential of the innovation to launch new products or services has been enhanced as a result of the accomplishments
    •  Presents the next steps that should be taken to further enhance the potential to create new products or services.
  • Must submit complete Application to Research Development Services (RDS) at the email address shown below.

Deadlines: Rolling

Applicants who submit applications by the first of each month will receive informal feedback from the VPRI-IF review committee on their application by the last day of that month. Applicants may be asked for additional information, requested to reapply after taking specific next steps, or given a preliminary approval subject to suggested revisions in the research plan. Projects that are greenlit should be prepared to start work within 2-3 months of submitting their application.

Proposal Format

Proposals may be a maximum of three pages in length, and will adhere to the format shown on the attached Application.

Application Inquiries and Submission

Please click here for slides from the Innovation Fund Information Session.

Frequently Asked Questions

University Venture Development Fund Information

The Application and other inquires may be submitted electronically to Research Development Services (RDS) at rds@uoregon.edu.

For questions about translational research grants or the VPRI-IF, please contact:

Kate Petcosky-Kulkarni, rds@uoregon.edu, 541-346-6239 Director, Research Development Services

For questions about IPS disclosures or Project Rules, please contact:

Charles Williams, J.D., Ph.D., crw@uoregon.edu, 541-346-2028 Associate Vice President for Innovation