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Tech Transfer

2014 Innovation Grants - Brown Bag Information Sessions

Get more information and answers to your questions at the following, informal sessions, open to all.

Dates and Locations

Brown Bag on the Innovation Grants

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013, 1:30 - 2:00 pm
Building 66, Conference Room 316

Wednesday, Sept. 18 2013, 11:00 - 11:30 am
JBEI Seminar Rooms A&B, 978-4132

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 11:00 - 11:30 am
Perseverance Hall Addition, Building 54, Room 130-B

Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 2:00 - 2:30 pm
Potter Street, Building 977, Conference Room153

You may also phone Shanshan Li in TTIPM at x5366 or email


FAQs and Proposal Requirements

What is the timeline?

Information / Q&A Sessions

September 17, 18, 25 (see table above for times and locations)

Proposals Due October 15, 2013
Shortlist Chosen November 20, 2013
Awardees Announced December 19, 2013
Projects Begin January 2014

Application forms can be found here.

Slides describing the Innovation Grants program can be found here.

Why is there a need for Innovation Grants?
LBNL inventions are often considered too early or too risky for commercialization due to uncertainties and questions:
• Will it scale up?
• How durable is it?
• What will it cost to bring it to market?
• Will it be able to meet specific applications?
• What is the timeline and milestone to bring it to market?

Innovation Grants enable Lab researchers to answer some of these critical questions by
further developing the technology, thereby attracting potential licensees to pursue full commercialization.

What projects are eligible?
Proposals must be focused on developing reported Berkeley Lab inventions or software and be submitted by a Berkeley Lab career, faculty, or career-track scientist or engineer. Limit of 2 proposals per scientist or engineer.

What is the funding range per project?
Innovation Grants will be limited to a maximum funding of $100,000 per project. However, there is no G & A burden. Projects should be completed within one year.

How much funding will be allocated?
The funding level will be determined based on the number of qualified projects. At least one project will be funded and likely several.

What types of outcomes are desired?
All projects must clearly state expected outcomes addressing barriers to commercialization, such as building a prototype, proving efficiency at a certain level, demonstrating operating capability under certain conditions, integrating with another technology, etc.

How do I determine if my project is well suited for an Innovation Grant?
Please email or phone Shanshan Li in Berkeley Lab Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Management (TTIPM), x-5366, and we will discuss your proposal and provide guidance on whether an Innovation Grant might be a good fit. We are here to help and strongly encourage this informal interaction.

What is the selection process?
There will be an initial internal review and meeting with staff. TTIPM staff will work with applicants to identify important market or commercialization information to better understand the impact of the proposed work.

TTIPM will then vet the most promising proposals with an external committee including VCs and industry representatives. Two important factors in judging proposals will be how effectively the proposed development will improve the probability of commercialization and how likely a licensed business will have significant economic impact.

Criteria for Proposal selection
A commercial viability analysis, conducted by TTIPM with applicant input, will explore:
1) Is there sufficient market size to attract entrepreneurial or industry investment?
2) Does the technology offer significant benefits over competitive alternatives?
3) Is the technology perceived by industry as attractive but risky without further evidence?
4) Are the proposed development milestones likely to help attract a licensee?
5) Smaller projects requesting less funding will be considered favorably.

Will all information in the proposals be treated confidentially?
Please indicate if there is confidential information in your proposal and specify what
information is confidential.

What happens once a proposal is funded?
A member of the TTIPM staff will be assigned to serve as a point of contact for each selected project. The TTIPM POC will work with the researcher to assess progress each quarter and will be responsible for developing a marketing plan for each completed project.

Each PI will submit a project report upon completion of the project covering progress and
accomplishments. The report will be used to support commercialization of the invention. In addition, a member of the development team is expected to give a mid-term and a final presentation to Deputy Dirctor, Horst Simon.

What makes LBNL Innovation Grants different from other funding opportunities?
TTIPM staff will work with each applicant to evaluate the commercial viability and impact of the proposal and to assess the technology’s chances of being licensed and how the proposed work increases those chances. If a technology has a very small market, or will still have high levels of technical, market, or other risks, even if the proposed goals are achieved, the proposal is unlikely to be funded. This rigorous assessment will increase our success in moving technologies to market.

Do other institutions have programs like this?
Several national labs and universities have established similar programs, including ORNL, BNL, LLNL, NREL, PNNL, MIT, through their Deshpande Center, and UCSD, through their von Liebig Center. The Kaufman Foundation, which promotes entrepreneurial activity, supports funding such as this for accelerating the commercialization of university innovation.


Last updated: 10/03/2013