Sometimes, researchers need a helping hand to close the distance between a brilliant idea and a commercially viable product, service, or business.

That’s where the University of Iowa’s GAP Funding Program comes in.

Sponsored by UI Ventures and the UI Research Foundation (UIRF) in the Office of Research and Economic Development, UI GAP invites faculty, staff and graduate students on the verge of commercializing their work to submit pre-proposals between June 1 and July 31 to Director of New Ventures Paul Dymerski at Selected applicants will be invited to submit a formal proposal through the UI Research Information System (UIRIS) by Aug. 31.

More information is available at

The program, started in 2007, is intended to bridge the gap between basic research discoveries and life-changing products, procedures, services, and companies. Funds provided through the program are meant to reduce the technical or market risks related to early-stage inventions by meeting a series of commercial development milestones.

For FY2015, UI Ventures awarded a total of $750,000 in gap funding to 11 faculty innovators. Among them was Zhendong Jin, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UI College of Pharmacy, who has received gap funding for two years running for the development of an anti-cancer drug he will license through his company, InnoBioPharma.

Dymerski said the submission process helps faculty, students and staff answer important questions about their inventions that may otherwise not be commercialized because of a lack of funding.

“The ultimate goal of gap funding is to ‘de-risk’ an invention so it might be more attractive for further commercialization funding or private investment or licensing to an existing company, or generate new intellectual property around which a new venture can be formed,” he said.

In addition to funding, grant awardees will be assigned mentors to work with them throughout the year to ensure they’re moving toward a commercially viable outcome. The UIRF will then help to protect and license the intellectual property to a company or startup that can bring the product or service to market.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.