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Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund

Program: The Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund sponsors projects to enhance the commercial potential of promising Drexel technologies or services. Building on existing results or demonstrations, competitive proposals will describe feasibility studies, basic prototyping, testing and/or demonstration to provide proof of technical feasibility, and/or other similar activities. Project outcomes may include (but are not limited to) software, materials, devices, systems, processes, and educational or training materials that will become, or are already protected by, intellectual property that can be commercialized. Projects funded in the inaugural round of funding may be found here.

This program complements (but does not duplicate) the proof-of-concept investments the University makes through the Drexel-Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program.

Eligibility Criteria: Proposals submitted by research and tenure track faculty, including faculty with tenure, in any of the Colleges and Schools at Drexel University are eligible for funding.

Evaluation Criteria: Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of intellectual merit, impact and significance, experience of the investigators, timeline and pathway to commercialization, and potential to secure further financial investment outside the University to complete desirable commercial development. Because proof-of-concept funding is also available via the Drexel-Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program, the Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund will give funding preference to projects that target future products and services that could not be funded as Drexel-Coulter “Life Saving Solutions”; further definition can be found on the School of Biomedical Engineering, Science, and Health Systems website.

Submission Guidelines: Proposal submission for the Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund is a two-stage process. Step 1 is the submission of a one-page “Letter of Intent” (LOI) proposal. Following merit review, a subset of Principal Investigators will be invited to submit “Full Proposals” in Step 2.

Step 1, LOI Submission Guidelines:

Deadline: June 1, 2014: One-page Letter of Intent (LOI) proposals due via e-mail to research@drexel.edu, with “Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund” in the subject line of the message, no later than 6:00 p.m. (LIMIT 1 PROPOSAL per PI). An LOI template will be made available on the Technology Commercialization website on April 28, 2014.The LOI proposal is a one page narrative which must describe:

  1. The Opportunity. This should include some definition of the uses and applications of the innovation in question, its commercialization and use, brief description of its potential impact (economic as a whole, and its benefits for end users), market size, etc.
  2. The Proposed Solution. This needs to be as focused as possible on the further development of an existing invention or innovation, e.g. the project proposed must support translational or applied research (which demonstrates the utility of an invention for a particular purpose) as opposed to basic research (which adds to the general body of knowledge, but not does not necessarily promise translation into products and/or services).
  3. Preliminary Data. Please provide a summary of preliminary data, such as published articles, that make clear that the innovation may actually work as proposed, and that there will be market demand.
  4. Time to Market. Provide an estimated development timeline to see the solution realized as a product or service (e.g. will the envisioned product be available in two years? Five? Ten or more?)
  5. Budget. Provide a gross estimate of the one-year direct R&D costs for personnel, minor equipment and supplies (include only direct costs). Please note that direct costs may not exceed $100,000.
  6. Current IP. Describe the intellectual property status, including invention disclosures, patent applications filed, copyright protection, shared IP ownership with others, patents awarded, copyrights registered, and/or technologies licensed, related to your proposed activity, including third party IP of which you are aware.

A small committee consisting of Drexel staff, regional investors and entrepreneurs will evaluate the LOI proposals. Investigators will be notified of the result of the LOI competition on or before June 15, 2014.

Step 2, Full Proposal Submission:

Deadline: August 1, 2014: Full proposals should be submitted through the COEUS system no later than 5:00 p.m. Please upload proposals in PDF format.

Full proposals will consist of a cover page, the body of the proposal (including an abstract), the budget and a two-page CV for each investigator. The body of the proposal must not exceed five pages of narrative.

Body of the Proposal: The proposal should be modeled on the LOI proposal and must include a title, an abstract and a complete discussion of:

  1. The relevance and market opportunity for the proposed project.
  2. The unmet or poorly met commercial or societal opportunity or need.
  3. Market metrics for your proposed product or service, such as the individuals or industries likely affected by your product, economic and societal opportunities or costs associated with the problem addressed by your product, etc.
  4. The current approaches to identify and address the problem, and the known shortcomings of those approaches.
  5. The envisioned future product or service produced from your research, and the advantages it would have compared to current approaches.
  6. The expected timeline to create the proposed product or service (including work done here at Drexel and by corporate partners), and see it ultimately come to market.
  7. Specific quarterly milestones and the research plan for their achievement during the course of the funded project.
  8. Intellectual property status, strategy and future plan including invention disclosures, patent applications filed, shared IP ownership with others, patents awarded and/or technologies licensed and third party existing IP related to your proposed activity.
  9. Estimated R&D costs to achieve the complete envisioned future product or service.
  10. Current funding and pending proposals for the PI and any Co-PIs.
  11. A plan for securing possible sources of funding after project funding expires (each project funded by the Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund may receive a maximum of $100,000).
  12. Existing or anticipated applications and approvals for animal and/or human testing, and hazardous materials (if needed).

Budget:
In COEUS, prepare a detailed project budget including all direct costs for personnel, materials, supplies and equipment necessary to meet your stated goals.

Major capital expenditures are not permitted. Minor capital equipment items specifically needed for the execution of the project plan are acceptable.

Funds may be used for support of faculty, graduate students (including tuition), and other research staff, but may not be used to cover general staff or administrative support expenses. Operating supplies, minor equipment items, prototyping expenses, imaging time and travel directly associated with the proposed project are examples of eligible budget items. Proposed budgets may not exceed $100,000 direct cost for a one-year period. Since this is an internal award, no indirect is necessary – Please include direct costs only.

CV’s:
Include CV’s for the PI and all Co-PIs (if any). Please use NIH or NSF CV formats, depending on what is most convenient for you.

Duration:
Grants will be awarded for a term of 12 months.

All Full Proposals are due no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 1, 2014 via the COEUS system. These full proposals will be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated by the Drexel Ventures Innovation Fund Review Committee, consisting of Drexel staff, investors, and entrepreneurs. Highly ranked proposals will be selected for oral presentation to the Review Committee on or about September 25, 2014. Project teams selected for oral presentation will be assigned a business mentor to help prepare for oral presentation to the Review Committee. Awards will be announced on or about October 1, 2014.