About the GAP Funding Program


This commercialization funding competition is designed to expand the commercialization of UI technologies. Funds are available to support the development of innovations with commercial potential through a range of stages in technology development, from initial concept, through proof of concept, to licensing and commercialization.

Interdisciplinary proposals are encouraged. Applications that do not have a clear connection with commercialization and/or technology development will not be considered responsive to this call for proposals and will not be reviewed.



2016 (FY17) Program

GAP Pre-Proposal Submissions will be accepted on a rolling basis as will awards.

A Faculty Innovators Workshop Series is scheduled several times a year and is required for GAP awardees. 


Eligibility Criteria

All tenure-track or tenured faculty, clinical faculty, research track faculty, research scientists, research engineers, associates, and other staff members who have at least a 50% university appointment during the year of the project are eligible to apply. These individuals are designated as PI-eligible applicants. The proposal may have as many co-PIs as appropriate.

Visiting faculty, lecturers, postdoctoral associates, fellowship trainees, medical residents, graduate students, and undergraduate students should confirm eligibility with uiventures@uiowa.edu prior to submission.



Funding per project is expected to range from $10,000 to $75,000.


Stage 1: Pre-Proposal Application Submission

Submit Pre-Proposal form via email to uiventures@uiowa.edu. Pre-proposals are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year.

Pre-proposals for innovations in a wide range of application areas may be submitted (e.g. medical devices, medical imaging, healthcare informatics, software, hardware, educational technologies, physical sciences and engineering).

Existing industry partnerships are not strictly required; however, projects that demonstrate clear commercial interest and include dedicated industry mentors will be looked upon favorably. All projects should have a clear commercial benefits for Iowa, including, but not limited to:

  • Creating a new company in Iowa
  • Generating jobs in Iowa
  •  Licensing IP to an existing company in Iowa 


  1. Cover Page: Include the project title, the names and contact information of participants, and a project summary of 200 words or less (1 page maximum).
  2. Innovation (1 page maximum):
  • What is the ultimate commercial product or service at which the technology is aimed (be specific)?
  • What is the commercial problem or market need solved by the technology?
  • What is your technology’s current state of development?
  • What are the most directly comparable products or services currently available?
  • What secret have you found that allows you to develop a better product or service than any of your competitors can?
  1. Provide a summary of the specific goal of the proposed project. (1 page maximum)
  2. Will your project generate IP for licensing to an existing company, or create IP for launching a new venture?
  • If the former, what companies would want a license?
  • If the latter, what role will you play in new company?

A market analysis will be performed by UI Ventures if a report is not already on file. You will be asked to participate in this analysis. The report will be added to the proposal, and will be available to you.


Stage 2: Full Proposal Application Submission

Full proposal submission is by invitation only. 
Submit full proposals through the University of Iowa Research Information System (UIRIS).


1. Project Description (5 page maximum):

  1. Describe the specific project aims and explicit project milestones of these aims. Discuss what quantitative milestones are required to be met to de-risk the technology. If these milestones are met, what would be possible in terms of commercialization that is impossible today.
  2. Timeline for the project.
    • All projects must be designed to be completed in a reasonable amount of time, commensurate with the complexity of the project (one year maximum).
    • All projects must include one or more measurable milestones with dates (at least quarterly) for project review.
    • Clearly and succinctly identify what product (or process) will be achieved, developed, initiated through the gap funding. Provide an explanation of the purpose of the proposed project. Provide convincing arguments as to the significance of the proposed project.
    • Projects tasks and milestone dates must be broken out in a Gantt chart
    • If there are deliverables other than the aims and milestones, describe them.
  3. Feasibility of the Project: The aim(s) of the project should be well correlated with the time and funding limitations of the award. Provide a candid assessment of the likelihood of completing the proposed project (maximum: ½-page).
  4. Describe Potential Pitfalls of the Proposed Project: List possible problems and difficulties that may arise with the methods and approach described in the proposal. List possible ways to circumvent these pitfalls (maximum: ½-page).
  5.  Next Steps: If the project is successful, what are the next steps anticipated in the commercialization process? Will the intellectual property (IP) be ready for licensing? Is there licensing interest from a new or existing venture? (maximum: ½-page).

2. Budget (1 page maximum): Expected awards are $10,000 - $75,000.

3. Attachments

  • CV: A 2-page CV or biosketch must be included for PI and all co-investigators or collaborators (PI-eligible personnel).
  • Bibliographical references
  • Relevant Papers (maximum of 3)

Proposals missing the required information, or not meeting these formatting standards, will automatically be delayed. Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposal with UIRF staff or contact Paul Dymerski.


Proposal Budgets

Eligible Expenses

  • Budget items may include: research assistant salary, post-doctoral associate salary, undergraduate stipends, and graduate student stipends (fringe benefits and graduate student tuition costs must be included in the budget), external consultants and partners, equipment, supplies, animal care costs, payment to subjects, computer services, and any other costs relevant to the project. Travel expenses are eligible only when the travel is required to conduct the project.

  • Ineligible Expenses: Principal Investigator(s) (PI) salaries and travel to attend conferences or present findings are not eligible. "Bridging" support to maintain research operations for interim periods between grant termination and funding renewal is not allowed. Contact the OVPR&ED for information to specifically request bridging support.

  • Enter budget items, costs and justification in appropriate areas of the on-line form.

Budget Categories

  • Salary: Salary and fringe for all eligible personnel on the project (e.g., research staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students). Note: graduate student tuition costs must also be included as a budget expense.

  • External Consultants and Partners: May include content experts, both scientific and commercial, as well as any required contract services.

  • Equipment: Amount requested for equipment only. Specify each item.

  • Supplies: Amount requested for project supplies, such as purchase of CDs, books, animals, animal care per diem costs, glassware, sera, etc. Specify all major categories.

  • Related Services: Amount requested for services performed by non-academic units. Examples include costs to utilize the Small Animal Imaging Facility, DNA Facility, Central Microscopy Facility, etc.

  • Travel: Amount requested for all travel-related costs (e.g., airfare, lodging, meals, long-term housing, etc.). Specify each trip. Only travel directly related to the conduct of the proposed project will be considered. Travel expenses to attend conferences and to report results are not eligible.

  • Other: Amount for costs not covered in other budget categories. If you believe an item does not fall within any of the categories listed, enter it under “other” and justify it in the text box provided.

Budget Expectations

  • An appropriate budget should be designed to permit the completion of all award-related activities within the submitted timeline. If project costs exceed the amount requested on the budget, then other confirmed sources of funding must be identified and shown on the budget. The departmental executive officer (DEO) must endorse the availability and projected use of any additional funds required. Justification must be included in the on-line form as to why each item of the budget is necessary for the project.

  • You are strongly encouraged to first look at UI and State of Iowa resources for assistance before seeking outside assistance--i.e. for prototyping, consulting, etc.

DEO/Chair Endorsement
  • The applicant’s DEO/Chair will be sent an email message from the Office of the Vice President for Research & Economic Development requesting the endorsement of the proposal shortly after the proposal is submitted. The endorsement must be received electronically from the DEO/Chair by the due date indicated on the email. If the DEO is submitting a proposal, the review will occur at the collegiate level.
Conflict of Interest in Research
  • At the time you submit a request for these funds, you and the other key personnel on the study team are required to have on file a financial interest disclosure form (submitted through the Electronic Conflict of Interest (eCOI) system).  The Conflict of Interest in Research Office will review the disclosure forms of all key personnel to determine whether there is a conflict of interest, or the appearance of one, related to your proposed research. If it is determined that there is a conflict of interest, then it will need to be managed prior to the awarding of these funds. Information about conflict of interest is available from the Conflict of Interest in Research Office.  
  • Log in to eCOI to complete or update your financial interest disclosure form.   If you have any questions, please contact the Conflict of Interest in Research Office, at 5-8892.


Application Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated for their potential to grow and enhance Iowa's economy and generate income with University of Iowa (UI) technology. Each project will be reviewed according to the following criteria (listed in order of importance).

Commercial Viability: How likely is it that, if the project is successful, there is a viable licensing or investment opportunity involving an Iowa company or private investor?

Technological Viability: If the project is successful, how much has the technology been de-risked and how much has the reproducibility and transferability been increased as a result?

Project Viability: How likely is it that the project milestones can be achieved within projected budget and timeframe?

As proposals are received, a market analysis will be performed to pre-screen for commercial potential. These results will be added to the proposal for the review committee. Proposers are required to participate in this analysis process. Understanding the target market, competition, etc., will aid product development.


Conditions for Continued Project Funding 

  • Failure to submit milestone reports will result in suspension of withdrawal of funding.
  • Failure to submit a written final report will disqualify PIs from future UIVentures funding.
  • All GAP project team members are required to enroll in at least one university-sponsored entrepreneurship or commercialization training event (Venture school or other) within 3 months GAP project initiation. Failure will result in in suspension or withdrawal of funding


Project Reporting

Milestone Reviews:
The purpose of milestone reviews is to assist the research team in meeting their project goals. At each milestone (or at a minimum each quarter), awardees will meet with UIVentures staff to discuss the project. A 1-page status report discussing progress on the project goals must be submitted prior to the meeting. Continued funding will be dependent of demonstrated progress at each milestone. This status report should address two questions:

  • Are you on track to complete all project work? If not, please comment as appropriate.
  • Are there any technical or business issues, resources, or contacts that we can assist with?

Final Report and Meeting:
A final meeting with each awardee team will be held to discuss results of the project. A written report is required 3 days prior to the meeting date. Format of the report is flexible, but there should be a focus on endpoints and their commercial significance.

Failure to comply with reporting will make the PI ineligible for any future OVPR&ED internal funding programs.

UIRF’s GAP Funding Repayment Policy:

You have received the MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT ON REPAYMENT OF DEVELOPMENT AND GAP FUNDS form with these documents because your GAP funding is from the UIRF reserves. In effort to create an evergreen mechanism for the GAP funds, the UIRF’s Board of Directors instituted a pay-back mechanism. The goal is to extend the life of the fund for future commercialization requests.

UIRF will receive a 3X return on the UIRF based award amount from any future royalties and license fees. This will be taken as 20% of the revenues received (before the normal fee allocations) until the 3X amount is repaid. This does not change the dollar amount initial ($100,000) distribution, but does extend time required for inventors to receive their payment.

This repayment plan does not change the dynamics of licensing this technology to an existing company or a UI venture. This plan is transparent to the licensee(s). Their royalties and license fees remain the same.

Repayment plan graph


Contact Paul Dymerski, (614) 561-5286.