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UMass System’s Office of Technology Commercialization & Ventures (OTCV) Technology Development Fund Research Grants

University of Massachusetts Principal Investigators are encouraged to apply to their Chief Research Officers for funding to advance technologies to proof-of-concept stage. The OCTV Technology Development Fund for FY22 will provide up grants of approximately $25,000, though grants up to $50,000 will be considered for exceptionally meritorious projects. Proposal to the Office of Research Development are due on December 10, 2021 through their grants portal.

Background

The purpose of this funding is to assist faculty and the OTCV offices with the commercial development of important technologies discovered on our campuses. The Fund was initially created as part of the University’s science and technology activities and as part of OTCV’s desire to increase licensing income, startups, and entrepreneurism across all five campuses in our system. 

Our grant awards for FY22, which will be fully committed by June 30, 2022, but may be expended over a two-year period. We expect to fund 5-10 projects which the Fund will cover with $250,000 in total.

Fund Objective

The OTCV Technology Development Fund was established by OTCV in the President’s Office in 2004 to provide University of Massachusetts researchers with supplemental funding to advance previously disclosed University technologies toward commercialization. The grant is intended to move technologies to the proof-of-concept stage or to allow the investigator to take other critical steps to make the technology attractive for licensing or other forms of commercialization.  This might include moving a technology to the point where it could form the basis of an appropriate I-Corps grant application, SBIR/STTR application, etc.

The Fund is NOT intended to support basic research, but rather close the gap between the research discovery and proven technology.

Timeline

Projects submitted by the internal campus deadline will be evaluated at the campus level and 3-4 finalists per campus forwarded to the President’s office by 5pm on December 20, 2021.  Final awards will be made following an evaluation by a team of external scientists/engineers/entrepreneurs/innovators by March 31, 2022. Funds may be expended between April 1, 2022-June 30, 2023 or 2024, depending on the project.

Appendix A: OTCV Technology Development Fund Guidelines and Application Process

Eligible Technologies

  1.  The technology must have been developed primarily at UMass 
  2. Researchers must be employees of the University of Massachusetts.
  3. The technology has to have been previously disclosed to the campus OTCV with an OTCV Invention Disclosure form.
  4. Technologies from all disciplines will be considered.
  5. The technology must have significant commercial potential.
  6. The funding must be meaningful for the success of this technology and make the technology more attractive for commercialization.
  7. Adequate funding from other sources is not readily available.
  8. Technologies cannot already be commercialized or covered by a license or subject to an already licensed disclosure.

Criteria for Selection and Award Grant

Overall, the Fund will give a strong preference to projects that are designed to develop technologies with a significant commercial potential for which a grant will make them more attractive to license to an existing company or to the formation of a new company.

Specifically:

  • The technology must be novel.
  • The technology should have reasonable probability of commercial success and financial return for the University.
  • The technology must address a demonstrated market need.
  • The technology must address a market of sufficient size that justifies further investment.
  • The award will make a significant difference in demonstrating the commercial potential of the technology.

Applying for Awards

Applications for a Technology Development Fund award must contain the following information.  

  • A cover page with name of the principal investigator(s), department, campus address, email, and telephone number and title of the project. Also included shall be the technology transfer officer assigned, and their contact information, followed by proposed start date of project, proposed project duration, budget, and a one-paragraph description of the technology. See Proposal Template for details.
  • A description of the project eligibility, addressing each of the 8 points described in the Eligible Technologies section.
  • A description of the technology including its novelty and advantages over existing technologies.  This should be written clearly and readily understandable.  While manuscripts, grants, patent applications etc. may be attached, the application should be complete in itself.
  • A statement of work proposed for the project, and how this work will address a necessary milestone or stage gate.
  • A description of the products and/or services envisioned.
  • Any knowledge you may have regarding the existing state of the commercial market and potential licensing interest. (Your Campus OTCV can assist you on this aspect).
  • Any knowledge you may have of the potential funding sources for the next stage (Your Campus OTCV can assist you on this aspect).
  • Project Budget Summary: Include only direct project expenses – including all fringe benefits. It should not include overhead costs. Requests up to $25,000 will be considered; exceptional projects may be considered for up to $50,000, but this will be rare.  Funded recipients may be required to develop a more detailed, mutually acceptable budget with OTCV staff before funding will commence.

Category

Cost

Fees (If graduate students are to be employed)

 

External Advisors, Consultants and Services

 

Supplies

 

Equipment (Please note justification of new equipment to be purchased will be necessary)

 

Other (including travel)

 

 

 

Total

 

  • Travel and/or Equipment Justification (if requested in budget summary)
  • A brief bio of the principal investigator or a weblink to biographical information. 

Incomplete applications will be returned to the investigator. 

Full applications must be no more than one file, no longer than 7 pages – including appendices and figures/tables--and must be submitted to the Chief Research Officer and a representative of the Tech Transfer Office by December 10, 2021. 

For questions please contact: Ramprasad Balasubramanian, Rbalasubrama@umassd.edu  and David Glass, dglass@umassd.edu.

Confidentiality

It is the policy of OTCV to keep your information confidential, but we cannot guarantee its security. Application materials are shared with a panel of independent reviewers and may be subject to public disclosure requirements in the future. Applicants should only submit publicly available and other non-confidential information about their technology in the proposal. Generally, technology can be described in broad terms that do not require submittal of proprietary information. Limited information on the actual technology or experimental data should be included in the proposal to allow reviewers to assess the maturity and validity of the technology. Discuss any concerns with your technology transfer office and work with them on the contents of the proposal.

Evaluation and Selection

The evaluation and selection of finalists and awardees will be made by the System Chancellor for Academic Programs and Senior Vice President for Economic Development, Katherine Newman, with assistance from the   representatives of the Chief Research Officers and, subject to confidentiality agreements, several qualified volunteers from outside the University (which in the past have included investors and entrepreneurs).  Where appropriate, consultation may be used with other scientific and technical experts within or outside the University.  Time permitting, finalists may be asked to make a presentation to OTCV office directors and external reviewers.  The decision of the System Chancellor is final and not subject to further review.

 

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