UConn seeks to position itself as a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship. The purpose of the UConn SPARK Technology Commercialization Fund is to support innovative proof-of-concept studies that will facilitate the translation of research discoveries into eventual product commercialization. UConn SPARK has $400,000 in available funds, which have been contributed by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR) and the School of Medicine. Investigators from all UConn campuses are eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to support one-year projects. Proposals that demonstrate the greatest likelihood of an obvious commercial application and the potential to produce a return on the UConn SPARK fund investment will be selected for funding.
The application process will consist of two phases. In Phase One, a committee of distinguished entrepreneurs/business executives and expert senior faculty and staff will review the written applications. The most highly-rated applications will be selected to continue on as finalists in Phase Two. In that phase, finalist Principal Investigators will give short, in-person presentations to the review committee. In both phases, the applications will be scored by the review committee using a rubric that will assess the following: market need; innovation and novelty; commercialization potential; scientific merit and feasibility; and budget.
Elements to include in the Phase One application are included below. Please note that elements three through six cannot be more than five pages combined. Applications exceeding this limit will be returned.
- Name of the Project, Principle Investigator with contact information and team members
- Abstract: Description/summary of the proposed product or invention (One paragraph)
- Description of product/potential product/technology: Describe in more detail the product or technology idea, and explain what problem or need the product/technology solves or addresses. (One page)
- Background: Provide background on the problem or unmet need the proposed product/technology targets. Identify any currently available products/technologies, if applicable, and why they do not satisfy the problem or unmet need. Explain how the proposed technology is different from or better than those that are already available. (One page)
- Preliminary evidence and proposed experiments: Summarize any preliminary data, and outline the proposed experimental approaches with milestones and timelines. (Two pages)
- Intellectual property (IP): Describe your IP position, realized or planned, and the competitive IP landscape. (One page)
- Collaborators: Provide the names of other UConn and/or UConn Health investigators with whom you plan to collaborate, if any. Identify any industry partners you have already approached and their response to your outreach.
- Relevant publications: List up to six key publications written by you or others about the proposed product/technology.
- Budget: Provide a preliminary budget estimate and proposed use of funds. We understand that this grant may only be enough to nudge a project forward, but if the work is successful, assistance will be available to help you attract additional funding.
Written applications are due to email@example.com no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 30, 2016. The finalists selected to make presentations before the review committee will be notified by October 19, 2016. Finalist presentations will take place during the week of October 31, 2016. Notifications of awards will take place during the week of November 7, 2016. Contact Rita Zangari with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-486-3010.