Iowa Centers for Enterprise Opens $1M Commercialization GAP Fund5/12/2012
The Iowa Centers for Enterprise has opened a commercialization fund for University of Iowa researchers interested in pursuing additional data to position their technologies for commercialization and licensing. The fund will be managed by the University of Iowa Research Foundation (UIRF).
On an annual basis the UI’s extensive portfolio of federal research funding leads to a significant number of disclosures of promising technologies with the potential to be translated in marketable products or services. However, this research is often too premature to attract significant outside investors and/or venture capital funding and exciting innovations languish for lack of “proof of concept” funds. Thus the ability of the University to attract a pool of funds from public and private sectors is of critical importance to assure that relevant academic research at Iowa can be developed and made available for the benefit of society.
“This early stage investment is becoming a significant pathway for society to benefit from academic research,” said Paul Dymerski, Associate Director of Asset Development at UIRF. “As prospects for increasing federal funding of research remain subdued, private investors, industry and Universities are stepping up to fill the gap with the goal of developing these technologies further so that we’ll be attractive to more conventional funding from the private sector.”
The program offers additional benefits to the community and the state in support of economic development. The Iowa Centers for Enterprise actively encourages and supports the creation of faculty start-up companies, and licenses university technologies to existing Iowa companies in an effort to grow the Iowa economic and employment base.
In addition to this important funding source, the Iowa Centers for Enterprise has recently expanded its support programs for UI researchers interested in commercializing their work by creating their own new local ventures. The UIRF, along with the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center and the Small Business Development Center, offer hands on mentoring to these budding companies. Services also include patent management, business training, and introductions to investors.
“The commercialization fund is modeled on the highly successful Grow Iowa Values Fund, which enabled the University to invest in several early stage technologies and assist in the creation of 20 start-up companies over the past several years. Due to concerns over state budget constraints, the University has committed to sustaining this program to a limited extent through this novel investment, which we hope will continue to be matched by some state investment going forward,” said Dr. Dymerski. “The previous success of our licensing programs has enabled the University to create some reserves which can be reinvested in research in this way and insure a continued pipeline of commercialization and start-up company success. The funds will be made available to promising technologies and innovations that are deemed to have clear commercialization potential after careful review by technical and financial experts and will be used to fill the gap (often referred to as the “Valley of Death”) between peer reviewed research grants and follow on investment capital.”
More information can be found at the UIRF web site: http://research.uiowa.edu/uirf/ or by contacting Paul Dymerski, Associate Director of Asset Development, 319-384-3425.