2020 LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program


Launch Fund



Brian Wright

Director for Commercialization

Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization




The LAUNCH Program's specific goal is to advance the commercial potential of Auburn innovations and bring them closer to commercialization.  This could include qualifying the project for the next level of development funding (such as SBIRs or STTRs) or taking it to a stage where it is ready for licensing, either to an existing company or to a proposed start-up company. Any such licensing could then provide revenues back to Auburn in the form of fees, royalties or equity ownership, some of which would be shared with the inventors as well as academic units and labs of the inventors under the Auburn University Patent Policy.


The OVPR has set aside a pool of $100,000 per competition to go into LAUNCH awards. At the discretion of the judges and the VPR, some or all of this amount can be granted to one or more awardees. Any award may be less than what is requested if a smaller project is deemed more appropriate. Further, awards can be traunched, such that additional grants are provided upon the successful completion of proposed milestones. In the long term, it is proposed that an endowment fund be raised to create a larger award pool for future competitions.


  • The subject innovation to be advanced must be owned by Auburn University
  • An Innovation Disclosure Form must be filed with the Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization
  • The proposal must focus on advancing the subject innovation to a stage where it is more attractive for licensing, effectively taking it from "proof-of-scientific concept" to "proof-of-commercial concept"


These are the judging criteria that will be used in the finals; applicable criteria from this list will be used in the preliminary rounds:
  • Market Opportunity of Technology
  • Commercialization Potential of Technology
  • Team's Understanding of Funding needed to advance Technology
  • Impact LAUNCH Funding would have on progressing the Technology
  • Presentation

2020 Competition Finale: May 13, 2020

  • The Finale was open to the Auburn community; presentations are scheduled every half hour starting at 9am via Zoom (schedule below).  Non-presenting attendees were muted, and first entered a waiting room; they were not admitted while a presentation was ongoing:
  • Schedule:
    • 9:00am: Majid Beidaghi, Department of Materials Engineering: “Development of Inks and Printing Technology for 3D Printing of Batteries”  (Awardee)
    • 9:30am: Ben Choe, Department of Mechanical Engineering: “Design of Prototypes of Lithium Ion Battery Packs for Demonstration of Fast and Safe Charging Method”
    • 10:00am: Matt Hilliard, Peter He and Jin Wang, Department of Chemical Engineering: “Novel Circulating Coculture Biofilm Photobioreactor for Valorization of Anaerobic Digestion Waste”
    • 10:30am: Zhihua Jiang, Department of Chemical Engineering: “Novel and Sustainable Feed Binder from Soy Hulls” (Awardee)
    • 11:00am: Stewart Schneller, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry: “Characterization of Antiviral Lead Compounds.”
  • Official announcement of 2020 LAUNCH Awardees