Fall 2022 LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program
Director for Commercialization
The IP Exchange
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.
Between the 2015-2016 and 2021-22 academic years, the LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program has provided 20 awards totaling over $750,000. While many of these projects are ongoing, six of them have successfully advanced towards the market in the form of license deals or follow-on funding.
- See official announcements for past LAUNCH Awardees: 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017.
- See update on previous LAUNCH Awardees Dave Worley, Bernhard Kaltenboeck and Virginia Davis/Bob Ashurst.
The OVPRED has set aside a pool of $100,000 per competition to go into LAUNCH awards. At the discretion of the judges and the VPRED, 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 are typically traunched, such that additional grants are provided upon the successful completion of proposed milestones.
- The subject innovation to be advanced must be owned by Auburn University.
- An active Innovation Disclosure Form must be on record with The IP Exchange when the initial application window opens.
- 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
Competition schedule (Fall 2022)
- June 13, 2022: Application window opens. Apply through the Auburn University Competition Space.
- Applications must be related to an Innovation Disclosure filed with IPX before the application window opens; applications not meeting this requirement will not be reviewed.
- July 25, 2022: Deadline to submit an (optional) draft application to IPX (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive feedback before formal submission; feedback to be provided by August 2nd.
- August 8, 2022 (4:45pm): Application window closes.
- August 22, 2022: Semi-finalists notified; all applicants receive judges' feedback on their applications.
- August 22-September 2, 2022: Each PI requested to be available for a 30 minute call with an outside assessor as part of the evaluation process.
- September/October: Pitch training session for semi-finalists.
- September 26, 2022 (4:45pm): Deadline to submit 3-page proposal summary, including goals, budget, timeline and milestones, plus 2-page CV of PI
- October 26, 2022: Finalists notified. Finalists should begin preparing their final presentation, including at least one practice round with IPX in advance of the finals.
- Tuesday, November 15, 2022: Finals. This will include short presentations given to the evaluation committee, followed by questions for each set of presenters.
- Typical schedules are presentations in the morning, judges deliberations in the afternoon, and announcement/awards in late afternoon/early evening.
- PIs submitting proposals should try to leave this morning available.
- Post-Award: Winning applications will receive awards and provide progress reports as needed.