Holm Catalyst Fund

The Bruce Holm Memorial Catalyst Fund was established by an anonymous donation to support commercializing the discoveries and inventions of UB Faculty and students.

On this page:

Bruce Holm

The donation was made as a match challenge, and will be used to finance prototype development, proof-of-concept studies, and other research that will advance UB faculty inventions and translate them into useful products and treatments to benefit society.

The fund also will help generate revenue for the start-up companies it supports. If fully met, the gift challenge would mean a total of up to $2 million for these efforts.

Holm Catalyst Fund Application

To complete this form feel free to download to your computer and fill out at your convenience. It requires that you have Acrobat Reader which you can get for free here.

Grant details

The Holm Catalyst Fund grants support commercialization of inventions and discoveries. Project aims could decrease technical or business risk, strengthen or broaden intellectual property protection, validate competitive claims, answer specific industry questions or quantify market potential. It supports proof-of-concept, prototype development, toxicity testing and other technology testing as well as marketing. 


  • Principal Investigator must be a UB faculty or full-time or part-time student (graduate or undergraduate). Non-UB faculty and/or students may be co-investigators or collaborators.
  • A completed UB New Technology Disclosure (NTD) form must precede or accompany the application. If the discovery involves a technology or service that is not protectable as intellectual property, please note so on the form. Patentability is one evaluation factor but is not required for project funding.
  • Existing industry connections are not a prerequisite for funding; however, all projects should have a clear commercial opportunity and benefit to the public good.


Review and Evaluation

The reviewers are scientists and experts in technical businesses, but may not have detailed knowledge of your specific field. Please write so that information can be understood by a person who does not necessarily have experience in the specific field of the discovery. Consider using Scientific American level explanations.

  • Projects will be evaluated on merit based on the following criteria:
    • Project Viability: How likely is it that the project aims can be achieved within budget and specified time frame.
    • Commercial Viability: If the project is successful, how likely is it that a commercial opportunity will develop?
    • Strength of Technology
  • If the project is selected for funding, you will need to get institutional approval including IRB, animal use (if appropriate) and department/school approval before active funding starts. Check the institutional approvals that will be required to perform the project
    • IRB
    • Animal Facilities
    • Department Chair
    • Dean

Application Process

Please prepare the following information and include it with your application submission. Submit your application, any attachments, and an NIH-style biosketch to Denise Lewis, Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach at dnicosia@buffalo.edu

Application Notes

  • Please use a font size of 11 points or larger.
    • We suggest Arial or Helvetica.
    • When inserting Greek letters or special characters, it must be 11 points or larger. 
    • You can use a smaller font size for figures, graphs, diagrams, charts, tables, figure legends, and footnotes, but this type must follow the font typeface requirement and be readily legible.
  • We encouarge you to ask Incubator staff for guidance and information when writing your application. 

1. Executive Summary

Summarize (3/4 page) the main elements of the proposal including the following Use a structured format including the following sections:

  • Market problem to be solved
  • Concise description of product or service
  • Commercial feasibility and potential
  • Current stage of development
  • Specific aims

2. Describe Research

Describe Research to be Performed (3 pages). Include the following:

  • Specific aims (maximum of 3). Each aim should address an issue important to transferring the discovery to a useable product or service. Describe the problem to be addressed and the rationale for this technology.
  • Brief background. Include preliminary data, any previous work done by author and/or others and note any attached references or exhibits.
  • Methods to be used. Be concise, avoid jargon, and define all terms.
  • Expected results.

3. Commerical Feasibility

Address the following (2 pages):

  • Need for product or service
  • Developmental stage as it exists now
  • Potential users
  • Market size estimate
  • Competition
  • Possible licensee (existing companies)
  • Is this a start-up business platform?
  • If regulatory approvals are required, describe
  • Estimated time to market
  • Additional remaining market barriers, required testing or evaluation needed for commercialization if all of the aims are successfully met.

4. Disclose

Descibe disclosure / patent status of any intellectual property involved (1/2 page).

5. Budget

Complete budget on page two of the application form. 

  • UB personnel. Funding may not be used for faculty salary, but can be used for salaries of research staff and/or students.
  • Equipment. Do not include computers unless a portion of invention.
  • Materials and supplies. Consumables, animals, and other. Do not include office supplies.
  • Other expenses. You may include services from outside vendors, travel, and other expenses not covered in the other categories. Do not use for patent costs, however.
  • Supplements can be made, if justified, during the course of the study.

6. Appendix

Include references and new technology disclosure if appropriate.