The Innovations Fund Assists university innovators with validation of prototypes and other proof-of-principle work, increasing the readiness and potential of innovations for the next stages of investment and commercialization. UVM faculty, staff, post doctoral fellows, graduate students, or other employees of the University who have filed an Invention Disclosure with OTC indicating interest to pursue commercial opportunities may apply for an Innovations Fund grant by completing the Innovations Fund application form.
An advisory board comprised of highly qualified technology and business professionals makes grant award recommendations to the OTC Director, who then awards the grants in consultation with the Vice President for Research. Awards are made on a competitive basis that takes into consideration the quality of the application, including technical merit; maturity of the project and cost to complete development and proof; commercial potential and business viability, including protection by patent or copyright; projected ability of the innovation to sustain competitive advantage; qualifications of the project team and its ability to complete the project plan; probability of attracting future investments or licensing; and, as applicable, potential to contribute to local or state economic development.
Please note that there are no specific deadlines for applications. Instead, inventors can apply at any time, and OTC reviews the applications and awards funds on an ongoing basis.
The standard award term is 12-18 months, and awards range from $20,000 to $100,000. Funds may be used to offset graduate student or postdoctoral support but cannot be used for faculty salary.
The Innovations Fund is designed to be financially self-sustaining by means of returns on its financial investments; enhancement through new Fund donations; and allocation of net revenues from University interests in UVM-owned intellectual property.
UVM's two grant programs, the Innovations Fund and the Pre-Seed Capital Fund, provide hard-to-get financial support for early-stage development. They are designed to accelerate innovation, increase the potential for investment by traditional venture capital funds, and enhance the prospect of success of start-ups and licensing.