2021 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 active 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

Competition schedule (2021)

  • September 14, 2020: Application window opens.  Apply through the Auburn University Competition Space.
  • October 5, 2020: Deadline to either 1.) submit an Innovation Disclosure form to IAC for the subject innovation or 2.) have a meeting with an IAC licensing officer to review the subject innovation.  This is also the early review deadline to submit a draft application to IAC (dircomm@auburn.edu) to receive feedback before formal submission; feedback to be provided by October 16th.
  • October 26, 2020: Application window closes.  Applications not associated with active Auburn invention disclosures will not be reviewed.
  • November 20, 2020: Semi-finalists notified; all applicants receive judges' feedback on their applications.
  • December 7th-17th, 2020: Each PI requested to be available for a 30 minute call with an outside assessor as part of the evaluation process.
  • January/February: Pitch training session for semi-finalists.  The same session is offered twice to accommodate schedules.  (Live or virtual TBD)
  • February 3, 2021: Deadline to submit 3-page proposal summary, including goals, budget, timeline and milestones, plus 2-page CV of PI
  • March 3, 2021: Finalists notified.  Finalists should begin preparing their final presentation, including at least one practice round with IAC in advance of the finals.
  • March 24, 2021: Finals.  This will include short presentations given to the evaluation committee, followed by questions for each set of presenters.  (Live or virtual TBD)
  • Post-Award: Winning applications will receive awards and provide progress reports as needed.