InVent Fund Application

Torsten Wittman, Kidney Image

The Fund

The University of California, San Francisco is proud to announce the launch of our UCSF Innovation Ventures Philanthropy Fund or “InVent Fund”, a philanthropic trust to boost the University’s most promising healthcare discoveries through translational studies and closer to the marketplace. Traditionally, to guarantee their breakthroughs advance to commercialization, universities partner with industry, licensing discoveries to new or established companies whose goals are to develop those inventions into successful products. In return for industry investment, universities and inventors usually cede control over the relevant innovation at an early stage and with much higher risk. As a consequence, even in the case of discoveries that are ultimately transformed into blockbuster products, universities receive relatively modest financial returns for the ideas that originated in their laboratories. Creating the InVent Fund, UCSF seeks to rewrite the rules on how breakthrough discoveries are developed at our university. Instead of prematurely licensing the rights to our most promising but early findings to industry, we have created the InVent Fund to provide financial support, as well as experienced product development mentoring and expertise to a small number of outstanding projects. By supporting and de-risking our most promising projects through translational development, we expect to capture greater value for UCSF and our inventors with the added benefit of building a sustainable program of funding for future innovations.

Project Selection

All proposals from UCSF faculty for projects that have the potential to lead to an impactful product or service will be considered for funding. Projects that have successfully completed Catalyst Program funding will automatically be considered. Other proposals that are submitted using a brief application form below will also be considered. Applications will be reviewed primarily for potential patient impact. Proposals for this round of selection must be submitted by September 27,2019. The initial review of proposals will be conducted by advisors within the broader Catalyst advisor network who have particular expertise in the subject matter of each proposal. Selected proposals will then be considered for funding by the InVent Funding Committee, comprised of biotech executives, industry experts, and UCSF leadership. All applications are to be filled out by, or in the name of, the Principal Investigator (PI).

The 2019 round of submissions has concluded. We look forward to the next round of submissions when the 2020 dates are announced.

InVent Application

Project Management

In addition to funding, Innovation Ventures will provide project management resources and utilize expert industry consultants, contract research organizations, and entrepreneurs-in-residence to help advance the projects. Aided by the inventors, each Project Manager will lead the creation of a milestone-driven project plan, timeline, and budget.

Budget Administration
  • Applications are open to Principal Investigators (PIs) across campus, regardless of their departmental affiliation. We encourage collaborative projects between research groups on campus. Anticipated allocations for projects, depending upon the progress of those projects, could range to as high as >$1M. Note that the InVent funding is not a typical grant or award in that funds are not transferred en bloc but are instead tied to specific aims and milestones.
  • Funding will be released based on following the work plan, meeting milestones, and achieving results. If a project fails to meet a certain milestone, the remainder of funding may be withheld.
  • Funds may be used for both internal project development and for outside service providers…they may not be used to support faculty compensation.
  • If it becomes apparent that a technology will become licensed without further InVent funding or that a technology likely no longer has market potential, the remainder of funding may be withheld.


General Eligibility
  • The lead PI must be a UCSF faculty member holding a primary appointment at UCSF, in that their extramural grant applications must typically be submitted through the UCSF Office of Contract and Grant Administration.
  • Project teams may include non-faculty members (e.g., graduate students, postdocs, staff, nurses, etc.) who have signed the UC Patent Acknowledgement.
  • The underlying intellectual property should vest with UCSF (the Regents) only.
  • Technologies that have already been or are in active licensing negotiations are not eligible for UCSF InVent Fund support, as the Fund aims to support technologies that have not yet been licensed to a third party.
General Evaluation Criteria
  • Address an unmet medical need via a well-defined product or service.
  • Technical feasibility.
  • Commercial potential/market.
  • Competitive advantage.
  • Qualifications of the PI and team members.
  • Strength of the preliminary data / proof of concept and development plan.
  • Status of the intellectual property and/or opportunity to develop new intellectual property.
  • Ability to tranche budget with clearly defined timelines/milestones.

UCSF thrives on bold ideas. Our faculty members have the freedom to pursue ambitious research beyond the scope of most commercial laboratories. UCSF scientists regularly collaborate with clinicians at UCSF Medical Center to access patient samples and data, to design and run clinical trials, and to translate revolutionary discoveries into patient care. At the same time, UCSF is distinguished among academic institutions by its entrepreneurial successes. Our community includes hundreds of biotechnology industry veterans and experts in investment and licensing, who have helped our researchers spin off biomedical companies valued in the billions. With the UCSF InVent Fund we now have an opportunity – if not a duty – to do more.

For follow-up questions directly related to the fund, please contact InVent Fund here:



Make a Gift


We need visionary donors to support the growth of the Innovation Ventures Philanthropy Fund (InVent Fund) and help UCSF realize its mission. For more information about the InVent Fund, please contact Michael Faber, associate vice chancellor, at (415) 476-2617 or [email protected]