The Chancellor’s Innovation Commercialization Funds were established to enhance opportunities for innovations discovered by investigators at the University of Pittsburgh to advance towards commercialization.  The program is intended to provide financial support that cannot typically be obtained from other traditional sources of funding, including the faculty member’s department/school or external government funding agencies.

There are two opportunities for which faculty can apply:

Two awards of up to $35,000 will be made to successful proposals which will provide:

  • Seed funding to reduce technical and market risk associated with the innovation, moving it closer to licensing
  • Enhanced connections to resources on campus, in the region and beyond to aid in advancing the commercialization of the discovery

Two awards of up to $35,000 will be made for successful proposals that include:

  • A 1:1 cash match made by a regional partner institution
  • The partnering entity can include another university, a regional economic development group, a foundation, a strategic industry partner, or  private investor.
Chancellor's commercialization Innovation Funds Morgan Fedorchak and team of Ocuderm


None of these awards can be used to support or supplement faculty salaries, but can be used for a wide variety of pre-commercialization activities, including technology de-risking, prototype development, market assessments, consulting support and seed-stage research for projects leading to the formation of new entities or licensing to existing companies.


All full-time, tenured and tenure stream faculty at the Pittsburgh (Oakland) and regional campuses with a primary appointment in an academic department may apply.  Pitt awardees must have an innovation disclosure covering the discovery already submitted to the Innovation Institute.

To qualify for the 1:1 match, the proposal must include a regional partner that will be committing the same cash funding to the project that is being requested from Pitt (up to $35,000) on a 1:1 basis.  This form of collaboration with other regional organizations will facilitate local collaboration and greater leverage the funds Pitt is making available.

Proposal Submission

The deadline for the 2020 round of funding is to be decided.  Please check back soon for updates.


Submissions will contain:

  • Name of principal investigator, appointment on campus and all other team members that will be involved with the proposal
  • Title clearly and succinctly describing the innovation
  • Invention Disclosure number
  • Abstract of no more than 500 words that summarizes the innovation, regional partner and their role, market opportunity, value proposition, project purpose, goals and objectives and how by accomplishing them the project will move closer to commercialization.
  • Budget and justification covering all costs of the project including (where applicable) salaries and wages, equipment, supplies, other/misc.
  • For those seeking the 1:1 cash match, list the Regional Partner, primary contact, their role, and why the partner was chosen


It is important that this submission be written in terms such that a non-technical individual can understand the opportunity.

Please note that only responses to the required questions will be reviewed; additional materials and attachments are not permitted.

Review Procedures

Proposals must be the original work of the proposer and will be subject to review at the Innovation Institute.  All entries will initially be reviewed based on the developmental status of the innovation, project feasibility, market potential and opportunity for licensing. Semifinalists will be notified by December 15, 2017 at which time they will be invited for interviews on January 24, 2018. During this interview, each semifinalist will be required to make a 5 minute “pitch” presentation followed by 5 minutes of Q&A covering topics such as innovation value proposition, competitive landscape, path to market and how the award will be used to enhance the path to market for the discovery, and the roles of the partners in this proposal. All semifinal teams will be offered assistance by the Innovation Institute in preparing for these interviews. The judges for this presentation will include technical and business focused individuals from campus and in the community at large. Notification of funding will be made by January 26, 2018.

Grant Period

The award period begins February 1, 2018 and runs through July 31, 2018. Grantees understand the award is to be used within the University for pre-commercialization and technology validation activities. The award funds will be transferred to a University account designated by awardee.  Award funds must be expended in accordance with University policy.  Line item budgets will be required and must be submitted and approved by the Innovation Institute prior to transfer of funds. A final project and financial report is due at the end of the award period.


After completion of the development activities, the Innovation Institute will obtain Invention Disclosures to document, assess, and protect any new intellectual property developed by the investigator during the course of the award.  If the University licenses or commercializes any intellectual property, the awardees considered to be inventors, creators, or developers will receive a share of proceeds consistent with the terms of the University of Pittsburgh Patent Rights and Technology Transfer Policy (11-02-01) or Copyright Policy (11-02-02), as applicable.


Previous Winners

December 2016