Grant: Accelerating from Lab to Market

Awards will be Announced
by September 2019.

Applications for the Accelerating from Lab to Market grant were open
Friday, February 15th at noon until Friday, April 12th at noon.

Rational:

Penn makes significant commitments to academic research as one of its core missions, including investment in faculty research programs. In some disciplines, the path by which discovery makes impact on society is through commercialization. Pre-seed grants are often the limiting step for new ideas to cross the “valley of death” between federal research funding and commercial success. The Accelerating from Lab to Market Grant aims to help to bridge this gap.

Eligibility:

Accelerating from Lab to Market pre-seed grants can be awarded to Penn faculty for promising inventions disclosed to Penn Center for Innovation (PCI) and to Penn faculty with existing Penn spinout companies based on Penn-owned intellectual property.  Please note that awards will be given to the Penn faculty member to be spent on research in Penn facilities.

Grant Size:

Funding levels will be available from $10,000 to $50,000 but could be larger if justified (up to $200k). One goal of the seed program is to leverage this Penn investment with external partners through matching funds.

Grant Term:
  • 1-2 years
  • Unexpended funds must be returned.
  • A no cost extension must be approved by the Vice Provost for Research.  Requests for a no cost extension should be made prior to the expiration of an award. No cost extensions will only be granted for extenuating circumstances. Extensions will not be made for longer than six months. A progress-to-date report including a revised budget will be required.
Funding Criteria:

Proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • Scholarly merit, creativity, impact, and innovation
  • Potential for commercialization
  • Feasibility
  • Prospects for future capital investment
  • Established need for match funding from an outside investment partner

Funding may be used for, but not limited to, translational and proof-of-concept research, prototype development, support for pre-clinical development for drug candidates, field testing, market research and validation expenses, matching funds to SBIR/STTR awarded grants, and other types of technology development funding sources.


Proposal Guidelines:

Applicant and Project Information: All fields and all certifications are required (complete online)

Abstract and Summary: 200-word limit, Complete online. Write in simple language a description of the proposed work. State the objectives. The description should explain the compelling reason for the proposal. Do not include your PI name or proposal title.

Proposal: Upload a single PDF document, maximum 3 pages. Include background, purpose, aims, methods used, work to be undertaken, and outlook for future (continued research and external funding). Please be mindful of the interdisciplinary backgrounds of the reviewers and make the proposals accessible to the readers. Include, where possible:

  • Purpose: Company name (if established, not necessary), short description of technology/product, mission, and vision
  • Business Proposition: Define the problem you are approaching, your potential target market, your competitive advantage, and why you are best suited to solve this problem
  • Competitors: Identify your primary competitors; what is your key competitive position?
  • Customer Profile: Who are/will be your customers, decision makers, end users, and influencers?
  • Team: Who are your current team members? Who do you still need on your team?
  • Accomplishments: describe your three most significant accomplishments to date
  • Additional Funding: What follow-on funding could result from the success of the proposed work
  • Milestones: Provide details on your top milestones for the next 12 months, how will this grant get you to the next level?

Bio Sketch/CV

Sponsored Support: Include: Current annual funding directly related to the proposed discovery, title, award amount, sponsor, grant period, pending applications (include notification of pending applications). Failure to provide an accurate description of other support available to the PI will disqualify this application.

Budget Form: NOTE: Do NOT use commas when answering budget questions.

  • Allowable Costs- supplies, non-faculty salaries, and travel expenses related to the project.
  • Faculty salaries are not allowable.
  • Graduate tuition is not allowable.
  • Equipment costs up to 100% of the budget may be eligible for funding, but requests must be justified in the application as essential to the research. In addition, if all or most of the budget is for equipment, the applicant must document that other resources will help cover the research. The review will focus not on the equipment being requested but on the scientific program to which it will be applied. Equipment requests for multiple user items will increase the likelihood of funding.
  • Because not all projects can be funded fully you must prioritize budget items by order of importance.
  • Fringe Benefits are calculated for FY19 full-time employees. Please use 9.7% to calculate part-time EBs

Evaluation Process:

Funding decisions will be made by the VPR based on recommendations of a Commercialization Committee consisting of representatives of OVPR, PCI, Entrepreneurs in Residence, and Faculty.

Comparison of OVPR Funding Opportunities:
  Discovering the Future Research Grant Accelerating Lab to Market Pre-Seed Grant University Research Foundation
Purpose Blue-Sky, High Risk Research Grants Pre-seed Grants Supports faculty research, pilot projects, instrumentation
Eligibility Penn Faculty Penn Faculty Penn Faculty
Award Frequency Bi-Annual – No guarantee of award Bi-Annual – No guarantee of award Bi-Annual
Award Amount up to $400k $10,000 to $50,000 but could be larger if justified (up to $200k) Up to $50k
Award Period One to Two years One to Two years One year only
Review Process VPR selection based on Faculty Review Committee VPR selection based on Commercialization Committee VPR selection based on Faculty Review Committee
FAQ’s

What is the submission period (opening & deadline)?
The Accelerating Lab to Market Fund will have two funding cycles per year. Proposal will be accepted from February 15th to April 15th and from August 15th to October 15th each year.

Where can I submit my proposal?
Proposals can by submitted online at upennresearch.smapply.io using your PennKey or through the OVPR website at https://research.upenn.edu/funding/ and selecting Accelerating from Lab to Market.

What documents do I need to submit my proposal? (Should it include budgets?)
Applicant and Project Information

  • Proposal
  • Bio Sketch/CV
  • Sponsored Support
  • Budget Form

For a comprehensive list of requirements, please see https://research.upenn.edu/funding/lab-to-market/

Who is eligible?
Penn faculty are eligible to apply. Faculty may either use the funding in their lab to advance research toward commercialization or perform research for a spin-out company that they founded based on Penn-owned intellectual property. Please note that awards will be given to the Penn faculty member to be spent on research in Penn facilities.

Can I apply more than once?
Only one application per funding cycle is allowed

Is there a waiting period for reapplying?
Yes, applicants may reapply in the next funding cycle with clearly marked changes

Does the grant support salary/travel/undergraduates/post-docs/research associates/technicians/programmers?
PI Salary is not supported from this grant. Undergraduate students, post-docs, research associated, technicians, and programmers are supported

Who is on the review committee/panel?
The review committee comprises of faculty, PCI and OVPR staff, entrepreneurs in residence, and Penn faculty.

How long does it take to hear back? How long does the entire process take?
Depending on the number of applications, it can take from 4-10 weeks

Do I need to complete my research within the allotted period?
No, but a no cost extension is required

Do I need to return unused funds?
Yes, all unused funds must be returned

Does the Co-PI have to be at PENN?
No, but awards will only be made to the Penn faculty member listed on the application

Is there any letter of support needed?
No, letters of support are not required

When are funds distributed?
After assessing the review panel recommendations, the VPR will issue awards and funds will be distributed subsequently

Can the application process be shared by the PI and BA?
No, the application process cannot be shared. The entire application process should be completed by only one person