University of Rochester

Technology Development Fund


Technology Development Fund

Frequently Asked Questions



1. Who is eligible and can apply for the Technology Development Awards?
All University of Rochester employees, faculty, and students can apply for a Fund Award as long as they have an Invention Disclosure on file with the Office of Technology Transfer.
2. In what fields will awards be provided?
There are no limitation on the invention’s field in order to apply for the Funding Award. However, the areas of science, business, engineering and education would be preferred.
3. When are proposals due?
There are two funding cycles beginning in early April and September. Pre-Proposals are due by 5pm on the announced deadline via e-mail to the Technology Development Fund Manager or online using the Pre-Proposal template provided. Within two weeks, several applicants will be selected to submit Full Proposals for the Screening Committee to review.
4. How do I submit proposals?
Pre-proposals should be no longer than two pages and include:

  • Background highlighting recent research, novelty, risks, and potential benefits of the project to be considered for funding
  • Proposed Research Plan – aims and objectives as well as amount requested
  • Investigator Information – principles involved, collaborators, sources of other funding/ resources involved with the project
  • Relevant References (up to 5) to include invention disclosure information.
The format should be Microsoft Word, preferably using the Pre-Proposal Template. Full Proposals are required to be submitted by e-mail using the Full Proposal Template.
5. What is the level of funding available and for how long?
Awards will typically be in the range of $40,000 to $100,000, with the objective to reach a significant valuation milestone within a years timeframe.
6. Where can I obtain help in drafting the market assessment portions of the proposals?
Since the full proposal must include a short market assessment to ensure the technology addresses; (i) an significant market opportunity, (ii) an unmet market need, and (iii) the competitive environment, the applicant is encouraged to contact the Technology Transfer Manager assigned to the Invention Disclosure case. If the project is awarded funding, “Coaches” (volunteers from the Screening Committee, Simon School, High Tech Rochester, and Entrepreneurial “Friends” of UR), will be available to work with the funded programs and act as an informal advisory group to ensure that all aspects of the plan are reviewed in real time.
7. Who reviews the proposals and how long will it take?
Within two weeks of submitting an Pre-Proposal Application, a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a Full Proposal Application. Approximately 4-6 weeks Full proposal Applicants will present in front of the Screening Committee. By late December and June awards will be announced.
8. Will I be informed of why my Pre and/or Full Proposals were not considered for the program?
Yes, all proposals returned to applicants that were not chosen for further evaluation or funding will be returned with not only the reason why it was not considered, but also with recommendations on what might be required for future consideration.
9. What is the criterion for selection?

A.) Therapeutic and Vaccine projects:
Understanding that funding awards of $40,000 to $100,000 might not add significantly to a therapeutic or vaccine program, these projects will be selected with a specific set of criteria. They will emphasize the completion of milestones that lead to another funding event and the plan how this proposal fits into a well thought out commercialization plan.
  • Scientific and technical merit of the project
  • Quality of the proposed project as it relates to the potential for commercialization
  • Potential for project to achieve a significant commercial milestone with a plan for near future funding after the TDF project
  • Probability analysis that the TDF funding will produce results that will lead to another round of funding
  • Adequate explanation of risks associated with project's continuation
  • Probability of achieving the project goals within the proposed budget and timeline
  • Potential economic and healhtcare impact of the innovation
  • Significance of market for the proposed product and competitive landscape of the market
  • Degree of patent protection for the technology (patent landscape) and issues of timeline, cost, and potential revenue from a commercial application

B.) All Other projects:
All other projects will be assessed with the criteria:
  • Scientific and technical merit of the project
  • Quality of the proposed research as it relates to the potential for commercialization
  • The adequacy of available funding for commercial advancement of the technology
  • Feasibility and risk associated with the commercialization
  • Probability of achieving the project goals within the proposed budget and timeline
  • Potential economic and healthcare impact of the innovation
  • Potential for technology transfer to existing industry or new ventures
  • Clarity of path to commercial viability
  • Significance of market for the proposed product and competitive landscape of the market
  • Probability that the funding will produce results that will lead to external funding or technology transfer to an existing company or start-up
  • Degree of patent protection for the technology (patent landscape) and issues of timeline, cost, and potential revenue from a commercial application
  • Degree of definition of the project objectives toward commercial objectives
  • Miscellaneous Factors
    • Degree of patent protection for the technology (patent landscape)
    • Timeline/cost/revenue potential for the development and eventual sale of a Commercial product using the technology
10. What is the applicant’s commitment once an award is obtained?
Time and Effort: The applicant is responsible for the plan and will commit his/her time and effort, as appropriate, to lead and oversee the project.

Project Plan: Any significant mid-course revisions to the research plan must be submit ted to the Fund Manager and will require approval by the Screening Committee.

Reporting: The project leader must provide quarterly reports on the plan’s progress to the Fund Manager.
11. Can award funding be taken away during the project’s term?
The achievement of agreed upon milestones will serve as key decision points for the assessment of progress and the determination of continued funding. A project may be terminated if significant technical milestones have not been met.
12. Can I apply for more than one award?
Only a single award will be made available per technology/Invention Disclosure but you may apply for more than one award at a time. No sponsor can have more than one award at a time.
13: I have an SBIR grant sponsored by a company, but we require additional funds to move the program further towards commercialization. Are we eligible to apply for Technology Development Funding?
If the SBIR or any related agreement involves language that gives the for-profit sponsor a first look, an option to a license, or if a license already exists, then you are NOT eligible. If the Sponsor has no rights to the existing or program generated intellectual property, then you can apply.