Commercialization-Innovations Phase II Pilot Awards


The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at the University of Pittsburgh in partnership with the office of the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of UPMC seek applications for the Commercialization-Innovations Phase II Pilot Awards. These awards are part of a series of funding opportunities to stimulate research for which implementation may involve inventions or commercialization.

This specific opportunity will support established stages of work, derived from the first phase of these pilot awards as well as new applications from University projects which have a current industry partnership and minimal concurrent funding. Awards being offered are up to $75,000 for one year of work.

Request for Proposal

Click below for more instructions including eligibility, proposal examples, etc.


Many basic discoveries are more likely to benefit individuals and populations if they are embodied into sustainable products or practices. Multiple funding strategies can support translation or implementation of innovations including support from large companies, start-up company funding from venture capital, and SBIR / STTR grants from NIH or other federal agencies.

This Pilot will support teams in the secondary stage of their path toward competitive proposals for these extramural sources of funding. As such, teams are expected to have already filed an invention disclosure.

This funding opportunity intends to support work leading to new drugs, new therapeutics, or new technology. Applications must focus on a clearly identified invention or product that has potential for commercialization. While we will not exclude applications addressing other areas, there are other programs on campus planned or designed to support digital health, develop new medical devices, and to attract commercial partners.

In addition to product development milestones, this Pilot award may also include the following:

  • Completing a market analysis for an invention
  • Initial prototyping or design of a product that embodies the IP
  • Stakeholder evaluation of the usability of a proposed new product
  • Comparing different design options for a product as part of down selection
  • Completing key experiments to support claims about IP or to de-risk IP
  • Completing a related project with a commercial entity to show partnership

Eligibility: To be eligible for this funding, teams must either:

  • Have previously been awarded funds from Phase I of this pilot, or
  • Have an existing industry partnership and minimal concurrent funding.

For previously funded awardees, this stage of funding is meant to provide additional funding from Phase I of these awards. The progress of Phase I awardees will be taken into consideration. This additional funding can be used in the development of a device to create the initial prototype. A team that already has an invention might use this Pilot to refine the invention for a market or de-risk the invention to attract extramural funding.

This funding opportunity is not intended for projects that have already secured external investment or other grant funding. If the investigators or members of the team have had prior commercialization experience or SBIR/STTR funding, the application must make clear that this is a new project or invention.

This funding opportunity is intended to support early innovation from within the University similar to the STTR awards ( The majority of work must be conducted on campus, and the majority of funds must be expended within the University of Pittsburgh.

We expect and encourage partnerships with external businesses that can accelerate commercial translation of research. University investigators also may be on a path to start their own business as part of the translation. While we value efforts that may help investigators set up companies or partner with external companies, funding of those external entities will not be the focus of this opportunity. Nevertheless, some teams may find that efforts within this Pilot program facilitate those partnerships. Other funding mechanisms on campus are planned and designed for projects in which commercial partners assume a larger role (

Key Dates

Round 1 LOI Submission Deadline:
October 6, 2023, by 11:59:59 p.m. EDT

Round 1 Notification:
October 20, 2023

Round 2 Full Proposal Submission Deadline:
November 17, 2023, by 11:59:59 p.m. EDT (by invitation)

Award Notification:
December 15, 2023

Earliest Anticipated Start Date:
February 1, 2024
(award must start within three months of notification)

Funding Information

Applicants for Phase 2 can request up to $75,000 in direct costs, with a maximum funding period of one year.

The funding cycle will be for 12 months after the start dateno extensions of this award period will be made. Funding cannot start until any necessary regulatory approvals have been received (IRB, hSCRO, IBC, CORID, IACUC). Projects must start within 3 months of Notification of Award. Projects that do not start within 3 months will be forfeited.

CTSI pilots do not have any mechanism for no-cost extensions; any funds that are not used during the award period will be forfeited.

This award is eligible for CTSI Bonus Awards as described on the separate Bonus Award page. For bonuses requested in this award, “community partners” should be representative groups and does not include corporate partners.