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“C4C has been very helpful in providing seed funding and connecting us with the business world, especially helping us to identify potential target markets and advisors who can help steer the company.” Alex Jen, Professor and Chair of Materials Sciences & Engineering


To better identify and win funding for commercialization of UW research, C4C has established the New Ventures Program with significant resources and experienced staff. Contact us for more information.

A number of grants, awards, and competitions are available to researchers and students.


Commercialization Gap Fund (CGF)

CGF is a partnership between C4C and the Washington Research Foundation to help promising innovations reach the level of development at which they can attract seed stage investment. We enlist a team of experienced business and sector professionals to work with you to develop a strategic project application for grants of up to $50,000. Learn more.

Coulter Translational Research Partnership Program

The UW Coulter program pairs a bioengineer with a physician on projects that have a high probability of being licensed to existing companies or of serving as the focus for a start-up company within two to three years. Grants up to $100,000 per year are available. The UW is demonstrating the concept that the combination of a bioengineer and customer/physician will offer a better chance of success for the project.

The Coulter program is highly integrated with the CGF program, which may provide follow-on support to Coulter projects.

The University of Washington is one of ten universities to receive the Coulter Translational Partnership Award in Biomedical Engineering. This multi-year grant from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation supports translational research in biomedical engineering-research directed at the transfer of promising technologies within the university research laboratory that are progressing towards commercial development and clinical practice. Learn more.

ITHS Pilot Funding & Ignition Award

The Institute of Translational Health Sciences (ITHS)—a partnership among the University of Washington (UW), Seattle Children’s Hospital, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and other local institutions—offers funds for novel and innovative pilot and collaborative translational and clinical research.

The Ignition Award is designed to support innovative, translational studies. The program is intended to help investigators generate preliminary data to serve as the basis for submitting a subsequent grant and/or clinical studies. Particular emphasis and priority will be given to applications directed at the development of novel therapeutics (small molecules or biologics). Grants are awarded up to $40,000 in funding. Pilot grants provide $10,000 per award. Pilot funding priorities include projects proposed by junior faculty or senior faculty with new research emphases, by inter- or multidisciplinary teams, by scientists partnering with industry to develop new technologies, and by community-based investigators. Learn more.

The ITHS program is highly integrated with the CGF program, which may provide follow-on support to ITHS projects.

Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition

The annual Business Plan Competition is a premier event for the Foster School of Business involving more than 300 alumni and entrepreneurs as judges, mentors, and supporters. In the past twelve years, the Business Plan Competition, open to all students who are enrolled in a degree program in the state of Washington, has awarded $872,000 in prize money to 87 student companies. The competition provides an opportunity for business and science students to present new business plans to Seattle area venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and investors. Learn more at the Buerk Center website.

C4C projects that have performed well in the Business Plan Competition have often gone onto receive commercialization grants, and it is not unusual for these teams to move on to form a new company.

Environmental Innovation Challenge

The Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship at the Foster School produces the annual UW Environmental Innovation Challenge in partnership with the College of Engineering and the College of the Environment, and C4C is the event’s main sponsor. Interdisciplinary teams of business and engineering students are challenged to develop products that address up-and-coming market conditions and show potential to generate revenue while enhancing environmental sustainability. In 2010, 16 teams competed for $22,500 in prize money. Learn more at the Buerk Center website.


Life Sciences Discovery Fund (LSDF)

LSDF supports innovative research in Washington State to promote life sciences competitiveness, enhance economic vitality, and improve health and health care. Their commercialization grants provide up to $150,000 in funding for projects much like those that win CGF grants. The traditional LSDF Program Grants require applicants to address health impact for Washington citizens, and can be used for innovations that are further from commercialization. C4C works closely with UW researchers to assist them in preparing grant applications and to support them as they carry out commercialization grant awards. Learn more at the LSDF website.

Contact us for more information on applying to the LSDF.

Washington Research Foundation Gift Program (WRF)

The mission of the WRF is “to increase the value of intellectual property arising from research institutions across the state.” WRF makes strategic gifts to research projects, and its associated venture capital arm invests in university start-ups.

WRF gifts have supported the creation of over 100 endowments for chairs, professorships, research fellowships and graduate stipends in science, medicine and engineering. Educational programs created and supported by WRF include the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (UW Foster School of Business) and the Program for Technology Commercialization (UW Bioengineering). WRF was a founding supporter of C4C’s CGF program and gap funding programs at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Washington State University. The gifts to Washington State research institutions are targeted to projects with commercial potential. Learn more.


SBIR & STTR Programs

C4C provides assistance and, in some cases takes the lead, in writing applications for these federal programs as part of the commercialization strategy for UW researchers. SBIR and STTR grants are particularly valuable for UW start-ups in supporting product development, translational research, and applied projects. SBIR Phase I awards start at $150,000 and Phase II awards start at $1M and can increase to as much as $2M

Through these two competitive programs, the US Small Business Administration (SBA) ensures that the nation’s small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government’s research and development efforts. SBIR and STTR programs provide over $2.5 billion in grants and contracts each year to small businesses and start-up companies to develop new products and services based on advanced technologies. Some participating agencies have a hard ceiling for their awards. Learn more here.

Contact us for more information on applying for SBIR/STTR grants.