University City Science Center launches proof-of-concept funding program

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In October of 2007, the CEO Council for Growth’s study to identify opportunities to connect universities with industry for regional economic development cited a funding gap between research grants and seed money in life sciences technology.

Earlier this month, the University City Science Center in Philadelphia took a step in bridging that gap when it announced a program to support proof-of-concept research projects related to life sciences technologies with high commercial potential in the healthcare industry. Researchers at selected academic institutions in the Greater Philadelphia region have been invited to apply for up to $200,000 in funding for projects to be completed over a 12-month period.

The center expects all 10 institutions, which include Drexel, Temple, Penn, Thomas Jefferson University and University of the Sciences, to submit applications. Selected proposers will be invited to submit a full application, and three will be awarded $200,000 in funding sometime this summer.

“Our region has enormous breadth and depth of life science technology. However, we’re not meeting our potential when it comes to commercializing these technologies,” says Stephen S. Tang, President and CEO of University City Science Center.

The program will integrate four elements that the center deems critical to successfully and efficiently performing early-stage proof-of-concept technology assessments: grant funding, business advice, market drivers and guidance to exit. The hope is to focus existing regional resources to eliminate business risk in early-stage life science research and development projects and to attract follow-up investment.

“It’s a coordinated effort to help demonstrate technology potential earlier in the R&D cycle,” says Tang.

Source: Stephen S. Tang, University City Science Center
Writer: Joe Petrucci

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