Nineteen University of Arizona researchers are recipients of Proof of Concept Program Awards by the newly established Tech Launch Arizona, or TLA.
The purpose of the program, or POC, is to enable faculty with promising inventions and discoveries to address technological and commercial hurdles – moving them closer to commercialization. The awards, ranging from $10,000 to $40,000, focus resources on critical segments such as generating data to support commercial applications; work for prototype development and testing; and software code validation, or other similar activities.
“This money is generally very difficult to access but often means the difference between a promising technology with important social benefits moving closer to commercialization – or being shelved. It is an important investment by Tech Launch Arizona,” Executive Director David Allen said. Allen joined the UA as executive director of Tech Launch Arizona from the University of Colorado, where in 2005 he initiated and subsequently managed one of the largest POC programs among U.S. universities.
Proof of Concept Award recipients represent a wide spectrum of research in engineering, optical sciences, biotechnology, medicine and other disciplines, spanning 33 UA departments. Forty-six proposals in all were received, several of which included collaborations with faculty from multiple colleges.
Final awards were made based on recommendations by external review panels. “Importantly, the POC program opened the process for TLA to work with all applicant researchers to develop and advance inventions, whether funding was received in this round or not,” said Sherry Hoskinson, director of commercialization networks. Hoskinson worked with the external review process.
Funding for POC award comes from the Arizona Technology Research Initiative Fund, including a contribution from the Water, Environmental and Energy Solutions initiative.
TLA is a new UA initiative with the primary mission of ensuring greater cohesion among University researchers and the business community. TLA was created to revitalize UA technology commercialization and industry-sponsored research. In support of commercialization and research, TLA coordinates the activities of three UA units: the Office of Corporate and Business Relations, the Office of University Research Parks and the Office of Technology Transfer.