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Application Process

Pre-Proposal
Full Proposal
Review Process
Award Guidelines
FAQs

Pre-Proposal

The first step is a pre-proposal, which is due to the Fund Manager via e-mail by the announced deadline in Fall and Spring. The document is required to be in Microsoft Word, using the pre-proposal application template.

Pre Proposal Template

Developer Agreement

A related invention disclosure filed with UR Ventures is required before or concurrent with your application. If you have not done so already, you can submit an Invention Disclosure here.

Pre-proposals should be no longer than two pages (not including references) and include: 

Background – Briefly describe your recent research, the novelty, risks and the potential benefits of the project. How is this innovation “disruptive”? Are there competitors in the field? What is the estimated market potential?

Proposed Research Plan – Outline the goals and objectives for your project, as well as the amount of award requested. Include a short list of budget items for which this funding will be used. What is your strategy for post-project commercialization? Briefly discuss your post project plan, next steps after the TDF study, and the estimated resources it might take to either obtain additional developmental funding or launch your product into the marketplace.

Investigator and Other Information – List all principals involved and your collaborators, sources of current funding, and whether you require resources outside the university.

Relevant References  – No more than 5

A Screening Committee identifies those projects deemed best to satisfy the criteria outlined in the review process, resulting in invitations to submit full proposals. Pre-proposals not selected will be returned to applicants with a brief explanation of why they were declined.

Full Proposal

Invited applicants will submit a full proposal application and present to a Screening Committee. Generally, full proposals are due to the Fund Manager about a month after approval of the pre-proposal. 

During this period, applicants can avail themselves of assistance from URVentures, High Tech Rochester, the Simon School, and the Hajim School, along with other resources for help with written proposals and supporting presentations. It is up to the applicant to solicit help from these sources.

Oral presentations for the Screening Committee are scheduled within one month of full proposal submission and should address each of the following topics: science, commercialization, market, product/service, and business model/strategy. Each individual or team has 15 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion. Presentation time will be strictly enforced and the candidate will be stopped at 15 minutes, so please prepare your presentation accordingly. Coaches and mentors may participate.

Full Proposal Application Template

Review Process

Since the projects funded will be uniquely focused on commercial endpoints, the Screening Committee will rely extensively on the external input from the commercial sector: entrepreneurs, members of angel networks, and the venture community for evaluating proposals. The Committee will also provide feedback to individual applicants and encourage resubmission of those projects falling just short of funding selection.

Selection criteria include:
  • Scientific and technical merit of the project
  • Quality of the proposed project as it relates to the potential for commercialization
  • The adequacy of available funding for commercial advancement of the technology
  • Feasibility and risk associated with commercialization
  • Probability of achieving the project goals within the proposed budget and timeline
  • Potential economic 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
  • Competitive landscape of the market
  • Probability that the funding will produce results that will lead to external funding
  • Degree of intellectual property protection required 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
  • Post-project plan
Note

Since the goal of the Technology Development Fund is to advance the University’s academic research toward commercialization, any proposals featuring technologies that are licensed/optioned, or developed by, sponsored by, or already affiliated with a for-profit entity will NOT be considered for TDF funding.

Note About Therapeutic and Vaccine Projects

Understanding that funding awards of $40,000 to $100,000 might not add significant value to a therapeutic or vaccine program, these projects will be selected with a specific set of criteria. Emphasis will be placed on the completion of agreed-upon milestones that lead to future funding events and how this proposal might fit into a well thought out commercialization plan.

Award Guidelines

Eligibility

Any faculty member, post-doctoral fellow, graduate student, or other employee of the University of Rochester is eligible to apply for funding, provided that they have submitted (or are concurrently submitting) an invention disclosure to URVentures. Applications for technologies from all fields of science, medicine, dentistry, nursing, business, education, music, and engineering will be accepted.

Time and Effort

The applicant (project leader) is responsible for the plan and will commit his/her time and effort, as appropriate, to lead and oversee the project. URVentures and “coaches” (volunteers from the Screening Committee, the Simon School, High Tech Rochester, and Entrepreneurial “friends” of UR) will be available to work with the funded programs and will act as an informal advisory group to ensure that all aspects of the plan are continuously reviewed and attention to agreed-upon milestones are kept at the forefront.

Project Plan

The project plan is submitted by the project leader and approved by the Screening Committee before any work is initiated. Any significant mid-course revisions to the research plan must be submitted to the fund manager and will require approval by the Screening Committee.

Implementation and Reporting

The project leader must provide regular reports on progress to the fund manager and Executive Committee. Continued funding will be contingent on the achievement of agreed-upon milestones, which are key decision points for the assessment of progress.

Milestones

The achievement of agreed-upon milestones will serve as key decision points for the assessment of project progress and the determination of continued funding. A project may be terminated if significant technical milestones are not met.

Funding Status

If a funded project receives investment from a source outside the University during the funding period, this must be reported to the fund manager. Reallocation to other aspects of the project may be permitted as appropriate. The Executive Committee reserves the right to recover funds that are no longer necessary to cover expenses outlined in the original proposal.

Successful Projects

To be considered a success, a funded project should be commercialized via licensing either to an established company or to a newly founded startup.

Royalty Sharing

In order to ensure that the TDF is evergreen, projects will be required to share revenue on intellectual property utilized and created with the grant. Twenty-five percent (25%) of all revenues, after patent and legal fees, received by the University from licensing the technology will be paid into the TDF until three times the amount of the grant has been repaid. This payment will be considered as an out-of-pocket cost of the intellectual property and will be applied against the incoming revenues in the same manner as are patent and legal fees recovered under current University Policy.

Awards

Financial awards are announced following approval by the TDF Executive Committee and funding is arranged via the appropriate department’s processes. The applicant is responsible for the plan and must commit sufficient time and effort to lead and oversee the project.

UR Ventures will be available to assist in developing the funded programs and to volunteer along with coaches and mentors who have relevant expertise. These volunteers will also act as an informal advisory group to help ensure that all aspects of the plan are continuously reviewed and milestones are achieved. Any significant mid-course revisions to the research plan must be submitted to the Technology Development Fund Manager and will require approval by the Screening Committee.

The Screening Committee oversees all aspects of the program with constant communication with the TDF Executive Committee and the University Technology Transfer Policy Committee, providing both bodies with regular updates and progress reports.

Frequently Asked Questions

All University of Rochester employees, faculty, and students can apply for a TDF Award as long as they have an invention disclosure on file with UR Ventures.

There is no limitation on the invention’s field in order to apply for a TDF Award. However, the purpose of the award is to help develop a technology to a commercial endpoint.

There are two funding cycles beginning in April and October. Pre-proposals are due by 5pm on the announced deadline via e-mail to the Technology Development Fund Manager. Within a month, several applicants will be selected to submit full proposals for the Screening Committee to review.

Pre-proposals and full proposals are required to be submitted by e-mail using the proposal templates.

Awards will typically be in the range of $40,000 to $100,000, with the objective to reach a significant valuation milestone within a year’s time.

Since the full proposal must include a short market assessment to ensure the technology addresses; (i) a significant market opportunity, (ii) an unmet market need, and (iii) the competitive environment, the applicant is encouraged to contact the URVentures licensing 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.

Within one month of submitting a pre-proposal application, a select number of applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal application. After approximately 4 – 6 weeks, full proposal applicants will present in front of the Screening Committee. 

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.

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 submitted to the fund manager and will require approval by the Screening Committee.

Reporting: The project leader must provide regular reports on the plan’s progress to the fund manager.

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.

Only a single award will be made available per technology/invention disclosure but you may apply for more than one award at a time.

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.

Recently Funded Projects
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