Technologies disclosed to the Office of Technology Transfer and Intellectual Property Development (OTT) initially exist in an embryonic state. Additional proof-of-concept work or prototyping may yield important information or further development that would make a technology more commercially attractive. Achieving additional developmental milestones can add increased value to a nascent technology by making it more attractive to either a venture capital investor (as a platform for a start-up company) or to an established company (as a licensing opportunity). Often, the developmental costs to further a technology cannot be allocated to or supported by an investigator's existing funding. The OTT has received requests from inventors for resources to fund the construction of a prototype or to support additional developmental studies on a new invention. The purpose of the Technology Innovation Gap (TIG) Fund is to provide Tulane inventors with the resources to generate additional information supporting the commercial relevance of a new technology and consequently, to incentivize companies to review and/or license the technology.
The TIG Fund was funded from the third round of strategic projects from the Wall Bequest Fund awarded in May of 2002. Initial start-up funding consists of $50,000 for Year 1 commencing in June 2002, with follow-on funding of $100,000 for Year 2 and $150,000 for Year 3.
Replenishing the Fund
Primary goals for the TIG Fund are to have the project ultimately be self-sustaining and to increase the financial resources available to the Tulane inventor community through the initial Wall Fund award. Expenditures from the TIG Fund will be treated in the same manner as an allowable deduction for the calculation of net income as defined in the Intellectual Property Policy and Procedures. Funding will be contingent on the inventors signing an agreement with the University that upon the commercial licensing of the TIG Fund-supported technology, the TIG Fund will be reimbursed from "first monies in" for the amount of funding. In addition, the Fund will receive a portion of all future net income derived from the technology as follows: Five percent (5%) of the proceeds allocated to the OTT and five percent (5%) of the proceeds allocated to the University's unrestricted use, as stated in the IP Policy. The Fund will also receive ten percent (10%) of the proceeds retained by Tulane from any liquidated equity received in consideration for licensing the technology.
Obtaining Funds From the TIG Fund
Invention Disclosure Enhancement Award (IDEA)
As an initial phase of the TIG Fund program, Tulane inventors may request funding up to $20,000 to further develop a new invention through the Invention Disclosure Enhancement Award (IDEA). Funding for an IDEA is available for inventions that have been disclosed to the OTT. Tulane inventors may request IDEA funding to develop a prototype or to acquire supplies and equipment for proof-of-concept studies that will enhance the commercial value of a technology.
Procedures for applying for IDEA funding:
1) An inventor(s) should formally disclose the invention to the OTT. Instructions and an Invention Disclosure Form are available at the Disclose an Invention section of the OTT website.
2) Submit a brief (2-3 pages) written proposal to the OTT requesting IDEA funding. Requests should specifically address the following: