Innovation Grant FAQs and Proposal Requirements
What is the timeline?
|Proposals Due||October 2|
|Shortlist Chosen||November 9|
|Awardees Announced||December 19|
|Projects Begin||January 2013|
Application forms can be found here.
Slides describing the Innovation Grants program can be found here.
What is the difference between the LBNL Innovation Grants and the UCOP Commercialization Gap Grants?
The intents of both programs are similar, but the source of funding, application forms, schedules, rules, etc. are distinct. The due date for LBNL Innovation Grant proposals is Tuesday, October 2, and LBNL views the Innovation Grants program as promoting working relationships between researchers and TTIPM to commercialize LBNL technologies. The UCOP Commercialization Gap Grants are a separate program with more information found here.
May I apply to both the LBNL and UCOP programs?
Why is there a need for Innovation Grants?
Inventions considered for commercialization are always subjected to investor
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 reducing commercialization risk.
What types of outcomes are desired?
All projects must have a clearly stated expected outcome addressing a barrier to
commercialization, such as building a prototype, proving efficiency at a certain level,
demonstrating operating capability under certain conditions, integrating with another
How do I determine if my project is well suited for an Innovation Grant?
Please call the Technology Transfer Office 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. Please call our main number at x6467.
What is the selection process?
There will be an initial internal review and meeting with TTIPM staff. TTIPM staff will work with applicants to identify missing 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. An important factor in judging proposals will be
how effectively the proposed development work will improve the probability
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 too risky without further evidence?
4) Are the proposed development milestones likely to help attract a licensee?
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
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 risk, 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.
What if I have questions?
Brown Bag on the Innovation Grants
Get more information and answers to your questions in these informal sessions open to all.
Dates and Locations
Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2:30 - 3:30 pm
Wednesday, Sept. 5, 11:30 am - noon
Tuesday, Sept. 11, 11:00am - noon
Thursday, Sept. 13, 3 pm
Wednesday, Sept. 19, Noon
Call TTIPM at x 6467 or email email@example.com
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 $100K/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. We
will fund at least one project and hope to fund several.
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.
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
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.