UCLA Innovation Fund

In order to advance therapeutics, medical devices/diagnostics, and digital health technologies across campus, the UCLA Technology Development Group (TDG), UCLA Health / David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM), UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering & Applied Science (HSSEAS), School of Dentistry (SOD) and the College's Divisions of Life Sciences and Physical Sciences are collaborating to present the UCLA Innovation Fund. This opportunity is open to UCLA faculty from all Schools who have signed the UCLA Patent Policy.

The UCLA Innovation Fund’s goal is to more quickly move technologies from idea to the market, bridging the gap between academia and industry / investor interest. Successful outcomes include, but are not limited to, a 1) license to an existing company; 2) license to a newly created company; 3) finding that a project no longer has technical or commercial potential.

Importantly, this is not a traditional research award. Funding will be used to advance a project along to reach a key project-specific milestone, further enabling these technologies to be licensed to an existing company or a startup. These funds are to support commercialization activities that would not be supported by basic research grants. There is a three-step application process, which requires a Letter of Intent, Full Application (by invitation only), and a Pitch Presentation (by invitation only).


Program Details

Technology Tracks

Technologies will be separated into two tracks: Therapeutics and MedTech 500 Internal Server Error

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Project Management

In addition to funding, TDG will provide project management resources and utilize consultants and Entrepreneurs in Residence to help advance the projects. Aided by the inventors, each Project Manager will be help create a milestone-driven project plan, timeline, and budget. Funding is contingent on meeting these predetermined milestones.


Applications are open to Principal Investigators (PIs) across campus, regardless of their departmental affiliation. We expect many collaborative projects between research groups on campus. Proposal budgets are required to be as capital efficient as possible, and are dependent on meeting project-specific milestones. Funding may range up to $200,000 per project. Please keep in mind that the UCLA Innovation Fund is not a typical block grant or award, and funds are available in a different manner from which you may be accustomed:

  • Funds are not transferred en bloc, but are instead tied to specific milestones
  • Annotation of milestones is informed by, but not limited to, inventor experience, outside industry / investor / consultant opinion, logistical limitations (e.g., budget, timeline)
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  • Funds are unrestricted and may be used for both internal project development and for outside vendors/consultants/contractors; By policy, however, the UCLA Innovation Fund cannot directly support faculty compensation
  • There is no explicit start or end date for use of funds. It has historically taken 1-3 months before selected projects have access to the funds as we align on milestones
  • If it becomes apparent that a technology will become licensed, or that a technology likely no longer has market potential, the UCLA Innovation Fund reserves the right to halt financial support

General Eligibility

  • The lead PI must be a UCLA faculty member in the Regular Professor, In-Residence Professor, Clinical X Professor, or Health Sciences Clinical Professor series in the DGSOM, HSSEAS, Life Sciences, etc.; applications from highly independent and accomplished faculty in the Adjunct Professor and Researcher series may also be considered
  • The lead PI on each application must hold a primary appointment on the UCLA campus, in that their extramural grant applications must typically be submitted through the UCLA Office of Contract and Grant Administration
  • Project teams may include non-faculty positions (e.g., graduate students, postdocs, staff, nurses, etc.) that sign the UC Patent Policy
  • The underlying IP should vest with UCLA (the Regents) only; all members of the team need to have signed the UC Patent Acknowledgement
  • Technologies that have been licensed out to a third party (e.g., startup, existing company, etc.) or are in active licensing negotiations are not eligible for UCLA Innovation Fund support, as the UCLA Innovation Fund aims to support technologies that have not yet successfully reached a value inflection point

Please Note:

The PI(s) must be present for the Pitch Day, which is the final round of the competition.  PI(s) will give a ~15 minute slide presentation that identifies the problem being addressed, how the technology works, why the technology is superior to alternatives, and what the development path forward looks like.  There will be an additional ~15 minutes available for Q&A.  This will be in a closed-door session attended by the UCLA Innovation Fund and the UCLA Innovation Fund Advisory Panel.  Other applicants will not be present.  See below for additional information on Pitch Day preparation.

General Evaluation Criteria:

  • Novelty, significance, and potential impact of the project on a commercial application
  • Significant market need and opportunity
  • Competitive advantage over technologies currently available or in development
  • Qualifications of the PI, Co-PIs, and Co-Investigators
  • Current activity by the PI(s) on the proposed project
  • Strength of the preliminary data / proof of concept and development plan
  • Status of the intellectual property

​Please note: 

  • Applications that are primarily for equipment purchases are not suitable for this funding mechanism
  • Applications should not propose work that has already been funded though other grant or funding mechanisms
  • Applications should not propose work for which it would be typical to obtain grant support from governmental agencies
  • Non-faculty personnel costs will be considered, but it is strongly preferred that personnel are already funded

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The Letter of Intent application will ask for the following information

  • Describe your technology (scientific and technical elements) ( <250 words)
  • Describe the intended disease area(s) and patient population(s) (For early therapeutic projects this is not required, but strongly recommended)
  • Describe the current standard of care for the intended disease area(s) and patient population(s) (For early therapeutic projects this is not required, but strongly recommended)
  • Explain why/how this technology will be adopted over the standard of care (<150 words)
  • If applicable, list your top 3 competitors addressing the space you are seeking to enter.  Summarize your competitive advantage
  • Describe stage of development of your technology (for therapeutics: e.g., target validation, assay development for screening, hit identification, lead optimization, etc.)
  • Total funding to-date for this technology ($ amount)
  • When do you expect these funds to run out?
  • Is the intellectual property already disclosed to UCLA? If so, what is the case number?
  • Was any intellectual property generated outside of UCLA? If so, please describe
  • Please list all of your past, current and future funding sources for this technology
  • If you have outside funding sources / partnerships, are there any IP obligations that you’re aware of?
  • Please list all of your past, current and future sources of materials for this project

You will be able to save your information on the application form and revisit it later to complete.

March 31, 2019 Letter of Intent (LOI) Due (both tracks)
May 1, 2019: Full Applications Invitations Sent (both tracks)
May 31, 2019 Full Applications Due (both tracks)
July 1, 2019 Invitation to Pitch Day: Therapeutics Track
August 1, 2019: Invitation to Pitch Day: MedTech Track
October 16, 2019: Pitch Day, Therapeutics Track
November 14, 2019: Pitch Day, MedTech Track
January 2020: Earliest Access to Funds


General Questions & Fund Consultation

Drop-in Office Hours

UCLA Innovation Fund Committee Members will be available for drop-in office hours during the month of March.  Our team is available to answer Innovation Fund related questions surrounding competition eligibility, the application process, and working with the UCLA Innovation Fund if selected. There are many differences between this funding mechanism and typical grant sources, so we encourage applicants to take advantage of the office hours.

Office hours will take place on a variety of days, times, and locations listed below:

Dates & Times

Friday March 1: 1-3p @ Technology Development Group (TDG) office
Wednesday March 6: 1-3p @ CHS building
Tuesday March 12: 10-12p @ The Technology Development Group (TDG) office
Monday March 18:  1-3p @ CHS building
Monday March 25: 10-12p @ The Technology Development Group (TDG) office


March 1st, 12th, and 25th:
Technology Development Group (TDG)
10889 Wilshire Blvd Ste 920, Los Angeles, CA 90095
Glendon Conference Room (960)

March 6th, 18th:
Center for Health Sciences (CHS) Building
12-231 CHS
First floor down the hall from the former DGSOM Dean's office toward the Marion Davies Building

For general questions about the process contact: