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University-Industry Engagement Advisor

Caltech fund makes it easier for researchers to take their early-stage innovations to market

By Jesse Schwartz
Published: July 11th, 2018

A funding program at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is offering researchers a less stressful, more streamlined approach to getting a financial assist that helps move their innovations toward the market.

Launched in 2009, the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI²) provides competitive grants for early-stage research with commercial potential. Each award provides up to two years of support, with up to $125,000 in funding per year, to help researchers develop their work into viable, investment-ready technologies.

Applications to RI² are designed to be simple. Researchers submit a maximum of four pages with answers to 12 brief questions, such as what the project will be, what milestones can be achieved with the funding, and what the commercialization plans are.

“It is the least bureaucratic process that any faculty member has to deal with in terms of raising money for their research,” says Richmond Wolf, former director of Caltech’s Office of Technology Transfer. “What we are looking for is high risk, super high return ideas that otherwise might not get funded. We don’t ask that you’ve done two to three years of research already. We ask that you dream about science and engineering that can change the world and yield economic benefit.”

Fred Farina, head of the Office of Technology Transfer and Corporate Partnerships at Caltech, comments, “Since we launched this project in 2009, RI² has become an essential part of technology transfer at Caltech. And every year, we see many more exciting ideas than the program can support, which mean that many excellent ideas never get a chance to prove their commercial potential and show the kind of impact they could have in people’s lives if commercialized. That is why it is so important to grow the program.”

Source: Pasadena Now

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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