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Chancellor’s Technology Bridging Fund

About the Chancellor’s Technology Bridging Fund

This funding program is designed to support UH inventors in moving their early stage technologies closer to commercial readiness. Funds are available to advance technologies by allowing inventors to clarify market needs, refine a value proposition, or decrease technical risk through prototyping and thereby increase the commercial value of the technology, whether it is licensed to an existing company or used as a catalyst for a startup.

Award Information

Type of Award: Grant
Estimated Number of Awards: 6 to 8
Anticipated Funding Amount: $400,000

Award sizes are expected to range from $45,000 to $75,000 with a mid-range of $60,000.

Eligibility Criteria

Who May Submit Proposals:
All University of Houston system faculty and staff are eligible to apply, as long as they have AT LEAST a provisional patent application related specifically to the proposed project filed with the University of Houston through the Office of Technology Transfer and Innovation (OTTI) by the time of the call for submissions.

Additionally, UH faculty and staff are eligible if they have licensed their technology into a UH startup company, even if there is no patent application connected to this technology.

Who May Serve as PI:
The PI on the proposal must be the PI of said intellectual property and the proposal may have as many co-PIs as appropriate.

Limit on Number of Proposals per PI or Co-PI:
There are no limits for the number of proposal submissions, however, a single PI cannot be awarded more than one award per year. Inventors who are currently being funded by the Chancellor’s Technology Bridging Fund may not apply for further funding until their current award period has been completed. Inventors who have been funded in the past may reapply, however, if the project centers around the same IP as their last funding, they must include a one page document that includes a report regarding their last award and justification for further funding.

Proposal Preparation and Submission Instructions

    1. Proposal Preparation Instructions
      • Pre-Proposal Quad Chart Submission:
        • The pre-proposal quad chart should follow the template provided here. All information should fit in the provided template, please do not add additional pages. Submit your pre-proposal quad chart via email to ctbf@central.uh.edu.
        • The pre-proposal quad chart will be reviewed by the CTBF Advisory Board. Only after their review will successful applicants be invited to submit a full proposal.
        • Existing industry partnerships are not strictly required; however, projects that demonstrate clear commercial interest and include dedicated industry mentors will be looked upon favorably. All projects should have a clear commercial benefit.
      • Full Proposal Submission
        • Full proposal forms will be provided upon successful review of the pre-proposal quad chart. The full proposal should be submitted via email to ctbf@central.uh.edu.
        • The full proposal for the Chancellor’s Technology Bridging Fund consists of the following:
          1. A series of questions geared towards the specific project aims and milestones of the proposed project. These questions will address customer needs, technical merit, hurdles to commercialization and other factors. Please keep answers to these questions brief (about 250 words total or per question).
          2. A budget worksheet with detailed and itemized expenditures for the Funding.
          3. Supplemental material of no more than 3 pages to further describe the technology, including the presentation of tables, figures, and prototype images. Please bear in mind that roughly half the reviewers are not scientists, so it is recommended that these materials be written for a layperson audience.
          4. (For inventors requesting follow-on funding) a one page document that includes a report regarding their last award and justification for further funding.
        • All projects must be designed to be completed in one year maximum. All projects must have two or more measurable milestones with dates for project review. Proposals missing the required information will automatically be delayed.
      • Final Pitch
          • The top finalists will be asked to give an in-person 7 minute pitch of their technology and the commercial opportunity to the CTBF Advisory Board made up of technical and business experts.
          • PowerPoint files must be emailed to ctbf@central.uh.edu 3 days before the designated Final Pitch day.
  1. CTBF Accelerator Program
      • Throughout the proposal process, there will be a number of workshops aimed to provide applicants with the opportunity to learn more about how best to translate their research into business terms. These workshops will introduce concepts like value proposition, customer discovery and competitor landscapes along with a pitch workshop before the final presentation portion of the proposal process. Applicants that are chosen to submit a full proposal will be eligible for a $500 stipend awarded through the UH NSF I-Corps Site Grant if at least one member of the applicant team attends ALL 3 of the following workshop sessions.
        • CTBF Launch Event
          • Celebration of the new program, the launch of applications for eligible UH inventors and opportunity learn more about proof-of-concept funding at UH.
          • Details: July 18, 2019 5PM – 7PM at the UH Technology Bridge Innovation Center
        • UH I-Corps Short Course
          • Participants will learn about the process of launching a startup including: how to find the right customer, bringing value to your customer, and how to handle intellectual property.
          • Attendance in this event only will result in a $250 stipend. If applicants participate in all three accelerator events (including CTBF Launch Event and Pitch Workshop) they will receive an additional $250 totaling $500.
          • Date and time details TBD
        • Pitch Workshop
          • Applicants will meet one-on-one with coaches from the Bauer College to practice and perfect their pitch.
          • Date and time details TBD
  2. Budgetary Information
    • Budget expenditures incurred before the award date will not be reimbursed. Awards will be up to $75,000 with most being awarded around $60,000.
    • Budget items may include: external consultants and partners, equipment, supplies, animal care costs, payment to subjects, computer services, and any other costs relevant to the project. Travel expenses are eligible only when the travel is required to conduct the project. The role and / or task of any personnel salaries (research assistant) or stipends (undergraduate and graduate student) on the project should be defined in the justification.
    • Ineligible expenses include: funding for student tuition or tuition scholarships (waivers), salary support for faculty members or post-doctoral associates on 12-month appointments or on sabbatical leave, salary for visiting faculty members, salary for office/administrative staff, travel to attend conferences or present findings, “bridging” support to maintain research operations for interim periods between grant termination and funding renewal.
    • An appropriate budget should be designed to permit the completion of all award-related activities within the submitted timeline. If project costs exceed the amount requested on the budget, then other confirmed sources of funding must be identified and shown on the budget.
  3. Due Dates
    • Pre-Proposal Quad Chart Deadline: July 26, 2019
    • Full Proposal Deadline: TBD
    • Final Pitch Day: TBD
    • The program will be run once a year. Deadlines are TBD.

Proposal Review Process

Proposals will be evaluated by the CTBF Advisory Board made up of internal and external technical and business reviewers for the likelihood of commercial success of the technology and the impact this funding will have in moving the technology forward. Elements considered in the criteria scoring may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Technical merit: Does this technology solve customer needs better than existing methods?
  • Feasibility of commercialization and/or licensing: Does it seem reasonable that this research can be translated into a useful product?
  • Market potential: How large is the market for the proposed product or service and how much of that market could reasonably be served with this product or service?
  • Project feasibility: How likely is it that the project milestones can be achieved within the projected budget and timeframe?

Each proposal will receive a final score used to rank the proposed work. Funding will depend upon the volume of proposals submitted in any one funding cycle and the availability of funds. The CTBF Advisory Board will make final funding recommendations to the Vice President / Vice Chancellor for Research and Technology Transfer.

Funded Cohort Requirements

    1. Tranched Fund Distribution
      • Funds will be distributed in segments based on the successful completion of stated milestones developed in agreement between OTTI and the awardee.
      • Continued funding will depend on demonstrated progress of proposed milestones which shall be communicated to OTTI via a status report. This status report should be submitted via email to ctbf@central.uh.edu. The status report should address the following questions:
        • Has the stated milestone been completed? Please provide details.
        • Based on the results of this milestone, are there any aspects of this project that needs to be modified?
    2. Cohort Meetings / Workshops
      • Awardees will meet on a quarterly basis as a cohort to discuss their progress and consult with experts provided by OTTI. Meetings must be attended by at least 1 member of the project team.
      • Attendees should come prepared to discuss one specific commercialization-related issue involved with the development of their technology.
    3. Final Report and Meeting
      • A final meeting with each awardee team will be held to discuss results of the project.
      • A written report is required 3 days prior to the meeting date to be submitted via email to ctbf@central.uh.edu.
      • Format of the report is flexible, but there should be a focus on endpoints and their commercial significance. All unused funds will be returned at the end of the award.
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Updated June 19, 2019