UNeTech to help with new postdoc grant program


OMAHA, Neb. (January 19, 2021)—A new funding opportunity from the National Cancer Institute aims squarely at helping post-doctoral researchers advance university innovations into new startup companies.

Called the Small Business Transition Grant for Early Career Scientists, it is part of the Small Business Technology Transfer and Small Business Innovation Research programs, or STTR/SBIR for short. The stated purpose of the new grant is to help postdocs transition from academia to an entrepreneurial enterprise.

Joe Runge

An advantage for UNMC cancer researchers is the added resource of UNeTech, the University’s startup accelerator and incubator institute. Among UNeTech’s critical strengths are its resources dedicated to support university entrepreneurs. In particular, those resources include assistance with writing the grant proposal, company formation and mentoring.

“The transition grant opportunity is proof that NIH really gets the challenges faced by new graduates to start entrepreneurial careers,” UNeTech’s Associate Director Joe Runge said. “UNeTech exists to take advantage of programs like this, and I am so excited to help brilliant scientists use it to start amazing companies.”

Proposals for the transition grant program must fit into at least one of the following categories:

  1. Therapeutics and preventative agents
  2. Imaging technologies, interventional devices and in vivo diagnostics
  3. In vitro and ex vivo diagnostics and prognostics

A transition grant would begin as a Phase I STTR, which would allow the postdoc to continue working at the university while completing proof of concept studies. Those studies could then be used to propel the technology into a small business startup, and potentially transition to a Phase II SBIR award. Phase II SBIR grants are often two-year awards that build on the research and development of a Phase I STTR.

The transition grant would also qualify for Nebraska’s SBIR/STTR grant-matching program through the Department of Economic Development.

Letters of intent for the new transition grant are due 30 days before the application. The application deadline is March 10, 2021. Anyone interested in pursuing a transition grant should contact UNeTech Associate Director, Joe Runge, at 559-1181 or hrunge@unmc.ecu.

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