October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Virginia Commonwealth announces call for POC proposals, funded by federal DOC i6 Challenge

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story

What is the Virginia Innovation Partnership (VIP)?

VIP is a statewide network designed to accelerate innovation and economic growth. One of only seven multi-institution initiatives to win federal funding as part of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s i6 Challenge in 2012, VIP is bringing together universities, community colleges, corporations, investment capital and other resources to drive promising research discoveries forward. More info: http://virginia.edu/vpr/i6

What is the i6 Challenge?

  • Launched in 2010, the i6 Challenge “supports truly innovative initiatives to spur innovation commercialization, entrepreneurship and jobs creation at the local level.”

What is available?

  • $800,000 annually has been dedicated to proof-of-concept projects open to any employee at any academic institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • $40,000-$80,000 investments in proof-of-concept projects, excellent mentoring from world-class mentor networks, and access to top-quartile venture capital partners representing $10B annually.

Who is eligible?

  • Open to any employee at any academic institution in the Commonwealth of Virginia who is otherwise authorized to submit proposals on behalf of that institution.
  • Investigators that have already formed a company, control the primary IP rights, and have professional management/CEO are not eligible to apply.


Awards will be based on scientific and technical merit, potential for societal benefits, and economic development potential. Projects should support one of the statewide and local comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) priorities listed below. Awards supporting research in other relevant fields may be recommended by the Governing Committee, after consultation with the Advisory Group and/or local planning district’s CEDS committees.

Biotechnology Information Technology
Energy Production and Conservation Environmental Technology and Sustainability
High Performance Manufacturing Bioengineering and Medical Devices
Nanotechnology Modeling and Simulations
Healthcare and Biosciences Microelectronics
Security and Safety Information Assurance

Submission Guidelines

Applicants must submit a proof-of-concept funding proposal, not more than 5 pages in length (Arial font, 12 point size) specifically describing the following:

  • project goals and objectives to achieve proof-of-concept or prototype
  • proposed activities, quarterly milestones with justification, and timeline
  • relevant IP (intellectual property) that has been disclosed
  • budget with rationales for each item (patenting costs and tuition not allowable)
  • anticipated technical and economic outcomes and external validation
  • significance of envisioned commercial product, market size, and competitors
  • a projection of how the grant will increase technological and economic development in Virginia, and in any of the participating planning districts planning districts and their CEDS
  • participants’ CVs or biosketches (not part of the 5 page limit)
  • a list of companies that might have interest in the project for future licensing or partnerships (not part of the 5 page limit)


Eligible budget items include salary support (faculty, graduate students and other research staff), operating supplies, minor equipment items, prototyping expenses, imaging/core equipment time and travel directly associated with the research activity. Funds cannot be used for administrative support, patenting costs or tuition. F&A (indirect costs) cannot be charged against the grant. We expect to award at least 20 proof of concept grants this year. It is expected that most budgets will be in the range of $40,000 – $80,000 per year. The review group will have some discretion to recommend larger awards for projects of exceptional promise. Funding is expected to begin approximately February 1, 2013.


Source: http://www.research.vcu.edu/ott/vip_i6_challenge.htm

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