LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program


Launch Fund



Brian Wright

Associate Director for Commercialization

Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization


On December 3, 2015, The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development (OVPRED) announced the LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program: an internal, competitive grant program designed to support proof-of-commercial concept research.


The LAUNCH Program's specific goal is to advance the commercial potential of Auburn innovations and bring them closer to licensing, either to an existing company or to a proposed start-up company. 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 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 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"

Comeptition schedule

  • January 8th: Application window opens
  • February 8th: Application deadline
  • February 12th: Deadline to submit an Innovation Disclosure form to IAC
  • February 22nd: Semifinalists announced; all applicants receive feedback on their applications
  • Late February / Early March: PI requested to be available for a 30 minute call with an outside assessor as part of the evaluation process
  • March 18th: Deadline to submit 3-page proposal summary, including goals, budget, timeline and milestones, plus 2-page CV of PI
  • April 8: Finalists announced.  Congratulations to the 2016 LAUNCH Finalists:
    • "Increasing antibiotic activity for a skin probiotic"; PIs: Mark Liles (Biological Sciences) & Pete Panizzi (Drug Discovery & Development)
    • "Antimicrobial Wound Dressings"; PIs: Dave Worley (Chemistry & Biochemistry) & Roy Broughton (Polymer & Fiber Engineering)
    • "Low-Cost Fringing Field Hay Bale Status Sensor in Printed Circuit Board Technology"; PIs: Robert Dean (ECE) & Beth Guertal (Crop, Soil & Environmental Sciences)
    • "Novel Cellulose MEMS for Biomedical Testing"; PIs: Virginia Davis (Chemical Engineering) & Bob Ashurst (Chemical Engineering)
    • "Novel agonist for help mitigating Alzheimer's disease"; PIs: Raj Amin (Drug Discovery & Development) & Rusty Arnold (Drug Discovery & Development)
  • April 22: Finals.  This will include short presentations given to the evaluation committee, followed by questions for each set of presenters.
  • Post-Award: Winning applications will receive awards, work with mentors and provide progress reports as needed