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UAB Institute Launches $500,000 Innovation Fund to Support University Start-Ups

The Bill K. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) has created a $500,000 Innovation Fund for the development of new university businesses and early-stage findings.

Dr. Kathy NugentDr. Kathy Nugent

The Innovation Fund, which will begin January 1, will support two phases of commercialization: the bridge funding phase of applications development inside the research institution and the seed stage phase of company establishment, according to a UAB press release.

“The Innovation Fund is designed to help address the growing challenge of lapses in funding between grants and venture investment,” said Dr. Kathy Nugent, executive director of the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “Our mission in launching the Fund is to support projects that have a high chance for impact but are unlikely to get there without gap funding and seed investment.”

Initial funding will be available on a competitive basis and geared for UAB investigators whose research has shown commercial potential can apply for up to $35,000 through the fund to expand their technological equipment for things such as completing software coding, conducting critical life science experiments, creating prototypes and researching customer demand and market validation, according to the press release.

The award amount for each selected candidate can be influenced by the number of funds available from the investigator’s unit and other opportunities. The Innovation Fund committee will give priority to projects by market opportunity and the chances that the fund’s award can influence the project’s commercial impact.

Applications will be accepted each spring and fall semester. Spring applications for the fund will be available at this link starting January 1, 2019.

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