Startups created at the University of California can compete for funding during a first-of-its-kind UC competition.

The university system will give one $150,000 award and three $50,000 awards to early-stage companies working on life sciences technology related to therapeutics, consumer health, medical devices and diagnostics, UC announced Tuesday. Companies — they must have founders or other members from any of UC’s 10 campuses or three national labs, whether they are students, postdoctoral fellow, alumni or faculty — can apply online and then compete in a semi-final pitching round. From there, 20 applicants will chosen to participate in the final round on Dec. 2 at UC San Francisco’s Mission Bay campus.

The challenge is part of primeUC, a program that aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship by awarding seed funding to the most promising startups that emerge from UC. The competition, the first of up to four that will be held this year, is done in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Innovation.

“We’re priming entrepreneurs for success,” Neena Kadaba, director of the primeUC program, said in a news release. “Seed funding is scarce for the tremendous number of startups coming out of the University of California.”

The university system last year unveiled UC Ventures, a $250 million venture capital fund dedicated to funding startups created by students and faculty, signaling a growing interest from the state’s revenue-strapped university system to cash in on companies created in dorm rooms and classrooms. The venture fund, one of the largest of its kind, is seeded with money from the university system’s $9 billion endowment, and signals the rise in student- and faculty-led startups not only at prestigious private institutions such as Stanford, but at public universities like UC campuses.

via SiliconBeat – UC to fund early-stage life science startups.