A total of 80 highly innovative and commercially focused projects from all across the UIC Campus were submitted to the OTM in response to the call for POC Pre-Proposal applications. From the 80 projects submitted, 12 projects were chosen to advance to the Full Proposal stage of the initiative and 4 projects were chosen to be funded following a comprehensive review by a POC Review Committee composed of local venture capitalists and business leaders.
The success of this first ever launch of a POC gap fund at UIC was a highly rewarding experience and the diversity and breadth of commercially focused projects that were presented to our Office was remarkable. We hope to initiate a second call for POC proposals later this year and are intent on growing the POC fund as quickly as we can to help sustain and support the wealth of innovative product ideas that exist on the UIC campus. As with the first round of funding, any UIC faculty inventor with an invention disclosure on file with the OTM will be eligible to submit a Pre-Proposal application in the next round of funding.
The OTM would like to thank all our faculty inventors who submitted proposals for this first round of funding and would especially like to thank the 12 finalists for their engagement with our Office during the lead-in to the VC pitch presentations. We would also like to thank the members of the internal UIC Review Committee for their scoring of the Pre-Proposal applications and the local venture capitalists and business leaders who graciously took the time to review and score the Full Proposals and who traveled to our Office to listen to the pitch presentations.
The inaugural 2012 Proof of Concept Gap Initiative is jointly funded by the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR), the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research (OVCR), the Colleges of Engineering, Medicine and Pharmacy, and the Office of Technology Management.
funding refers to a relative scarcity of investment capital that is available to researchers who are looking to move an exciting invention discovered in their lab towards the commercial marketplace. It is well documented that many novel and innovative university-based technologies often languish “on the shelf” due to a shortfall in funding that could be used to help validate the commercial potential of the invention by achieving a set of product development milestones. Successful achievement of these milestones would remove a number of technical and commercial risks associated with a technology and more favorably position the technology to attract follow-on development funding or be a more attractive candidate for licensing to industry.
In addition to boosting the commercial prospects of individual technologies, gap funding programs across the US have been shown to directly help foster both the formation of new businesses and job creation. Gap funding programs are also recognized for helping to strengthen university innovation and entrepreneurship by engaging faculty, students and the business community in the process of thinking through new product development, intellectual property (IP) protection, market competitiveness and the most appropriate path to commercialization.