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Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund

The Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund is a technology commercialization accelerator fund administered by the University at Buffalo and supported by Empire State Development. The fund supports technology development projects that enable an innovation to become more attractive for licensing and/or partnering with established companies or facilitate the formation of an investible start-up company to further develop and commercialize the technology.

Applications for Round #4 are now closed. Round #5 is expected to open in early 2021.

The average award amount is expected to be about $50,000 for projects that can be reasonably completed in 6 months to accelerate commercialization. The funds will be released in tranches upon successful completion of each of two to three milestones. Awards of up to $100,000 per project may be approved but will require very clear justification for the amount requested with well-defined milestones and measures of success. Larger budgets are more likely to be associated with life science technologies where expenses tend to be higher than, for example, software development projects.  

Funds may be use, for example, to:

  • Build Prototypes
  • Conduct Commercial Feasibility Tests
  • Complete Software Coding or User Interface Development
  • Accomplish work that demonstrates a mitigation of risk for potential licensees
  • Address a specific gap identified by industry that impairs the ability to license or attract capital
  • Strengthen or Broaden Patent Claims, but only if the project also advances commercialization

Eligibility

Principal Investigators:

Principal Investigators from the Partner Institutions are eligible to submit applications for funding (only one application per round). 

University at Buffalo logo.
Roswell Park logo.
Hauptman Woodward logo.
Kaleida Health logo.
Jacobs Institute logo.

Disclosure:

Must have an open and active invention disclosure or equivalent on file with your respective Partner Institution (ie. Technology Transfer Office) upon which the project will be based for at least three months prior to the submission.

If you have questions about your Partner Institution's process, contact your Partner Institution Designated Official.

Licensing:

Technology must not be exclusively licensed to an entity other than a Partner Institution Startup, or encumbered by any other prior obligations that would preclude the Partner Institution from moving forward with commercialization.

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed and of those approximately ten (10) will be invited to work with Innovation Hub Team members (as assigned) to refine the project plan and then present elements of the proposal and final project plan.

After participating the project refinement, PIs will be required to present a short, 10-minute, presentation to the External Review Committee, Innovation Hub Team, and designees from Partner Institutions, followed by up to  15-minutes question and answer period. The primary purpose of the presentation is to provide an opportunity for the External Review Committee to seek clarifying information about the proposal, project plan and mitigations to risks. This is not intended to be an academic presentation of the science behind the underlying technology.  The presentation should briefly describe the technology and focus more on the commercial opportunity. Particularly the project’s ability to successfully meet the market opportunity and de-risk the monetization strategy within the scope of the proposed studies as well as within the requested budget and time –frame.

The Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund External Review Committee will evaluate proposals based upon a review of both the written documentation and additional information discussed during the presentation, including the question and answer session.  

Please see Program Overview Guide and other Resources below for more details and guidelines on the above.

Program Schedule: Round #4

September 4, 2020

Proposal

A Proposal Application endorsed by your Partner Institution Designated Official must be submitted via our online application. Proposals will be reviewed by the Innovation Hub Team.

*In order to access the Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund application form, you will need to set up and account with Survey Monkey Apply if you do not already have one. This is the platform the Innovation Hub utilizes to manage applicants to a variety of our programs. 

September 14, 2020

Move On Invitations Sent

Approximately ten (10) Principal Investigators will be invited to work with Innovation Hub team members to refine the project plan and prepare a final presentation. Those invited to the next stage will be notified of next steps.

September 14, 2020 – November 6, 2020

PROJECT PLAN DEVELOPMENT

Investigators will be assigned to work with External Review Committee and Innovation Hub Team members to develop a project plan, further identifying and addressing key risks and a plan to mitigate those risks.

*In order to access the Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund application form, you will need to set up and account with Survey Monkey Apply if you do not already have one. This is the platform the Innovation Hub utilizes to manage applicants to a variety of our programs. 

November 9, 2020 - November 20, 2020

Presentation Preperation

Investigators that are invited to develop a Project Plan will also be expected to present the Project Plan and elements of the Proposal to the External Review Committee and Innovation Hub Team. In preparation for this, investigators will be required to participate in a series of workshops and practice sessions. 

PRESENTATION PREP WORKSHOPS

In order to prepare for the final presentations to the External Review Committee, PI’s are required participate in Presentation Prep Workshops that will review the presentation elements and provide guidance on how to present the Plan and Proposal to people with varying backgrounds and focus on the commercial opportunity and mitigation of risks. 

Presentation Practice Sessions

After putting what you learned in the Presentation Prep Workshops, you will have the opportunity to practice your 10 minute presentation and get feedback from the Workshop Facilitator, Program Manager and others in order to make refinements before the final presentation.  

December 3-4, 2020

Presentations

Presentations to External Review Committee and Innovation Hub Team. Each Principal Investigator is required to give a ten (10) minute presentation followed by a fifteen (15) minute Q&A to address any open questions. 

By December 11, 2020

Award Decisions

Following deliberation by the External Review Committee, approximately seven (7) Full Proposals will be funded in whole or, in part, if modifications are recommended by the External Review Committee.

Round #5: Scheduled for Spring 2021

Partner Institution Designated Officials

Resources

Please refer to these resource materials for more information about the Buffalo Innovation Accelerator Fund.

Program Overview Guide

Provides a Program Summary and Program Details to help you prepare your application at each stage of the review process.

Proposal Guidelines

Provides instructions on what information is required in each section of the Proposal Application.

Previous Award Winners

Frequently Asked Questions

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PARTNER INSTITUTIONS

Empire State Development is supporting UB, Roswell Park, Hauptman-Woodward, Kaleida Health and Jacob's Institute to help commercialize technologies generated through research.

UB logo.
RPCCC logo.
HWI logo.
Kaleida logo.
JI logo.