LSU LIFT2 Grant Program Launches, Request for Proposals Due June 20

BATON ROUGE – The new LSU LIFT2 Grant Program has launched, just four months after creation of the new proof-of-concept program by the LSU Board of Supervisors.  The Request for Proposals, or RFP, for this pilot phase of the program was released today; applications for grants from the LSU LIFT2 Fund are due June 20, with awards to be made in mid-July.

“Research universities like LSU are critical to the local, state and national economy. The work done at LSU drives innovation, attracts industry and stimulates the entrepreneurial spirit,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “LIFT2 is an excellent method for us to support our faculty as they take their discoveries down the long and winding path from basic research to market.”

The LSU LIFT2 program was created by the LSU Board of Supervisors in January of 2014 to help “Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer” across all the campuses of the LSU system. “Innovations” include creative and artistic works as well as devices, drugs, software and other more traditional inventions; thus, personnel from all disciplines on all LSU campuses are strongly encouraged to consider an application to further develop an invention which has been previously disclosed to their campus technology transfer office.

The LSU LIFT2 Fund provides support to help transfer LSU technologies and innovations to the market – support difficult to come by through traditional means. Providing a bridge over the critical gap between basic research and commercialization, the LSU LIFT2 Fundwill award grants to faculty on a competitive basis twice a year, in amounts up to $50,000, to validate the market potential of their inventions.

“The LIFT2 grant funding will offer new resources for commercialization of academic innovation,” said Arthur R. Cooper, chief executive officer of the LSU Research & Technology Foundation. “Supporting LSU’s entrepreneurial enterprise will increase the number of inventions that are available for licensing.”

 

By permanently securing a portion of licensing income for the LSU LIFT2 Fund, LSU has ensured continual reinvestment in new innovation opportunities and affirmed its commitment to advancing discoveries for public benefit. Commercialization of academic innovations through technology transfer further enhances multiple aspects of LSU’s mission and creates new economic opportunity in Louisiana and elsewhere.

Applications to the pilot LSU LIFT2 Grant program will be scored by an external review panel on criteria primarily related to technical merit and commercial potential. In this pilot round of the LSU LIFT2 Grant Program $500,000 will be available to support proof-of-concept projects.

Faculty members wishing to submit an RFP, should do so online at http://lsurtf.submittable.com/submit by June 20.

According to Cooper, the LSU LIFT2 website was designed with an easy and efficient grant application process for LSU’s entrepreneurial and creative faculty to transition their innovations to the marketplace.

LSU Student Incubator Awards Cash

BATON ROUGE – The LSU Student Incubator awarded $25,000 cash to five student-run startups during the culmination of the third-annual Venture Challenge on April 25. This is the third year the Venture Challenge has showcased LSU’s brightest student entrepreneurs, and the LSU Student Incubator plans to continue providing student business with the total startup experience next year.

lsu-student-incubator-awards-cashThe $25,000 prize was distributed among the five student businesses, including the four Venture Challenge finalists and the two “Audience Choice” Startup Showcase displays. One of the four finalists also won the “Audience Choice” prize.

The final round winners were:
The Hospitality & Senior Care Institute, which set a new Venture Challenge record with a cash prize of $15,000. The startup provides training in professional and workforce development and specializes in short-term hospitality, school nutrition and senior care training programs;

Foundations Family Fitness, which received a $3,000 award. The startup is a fitness center that utilizes psychological research to maximize program adherence and optimize health and fitness for the whole family;

Environmental Robotics Institute, which received a $2,000 prize. The startup is committed to implementing and developing environmental robotics systems and networks to build a better world and support global environmental sustainability;

E T C H Studios, which received $4,500 total from the final round and as the Startup Showcase “Audience Choice” winner. The startup is a laser-cut jewelry business focusing on crafting unique, geometric and edgy accessories for the social media generation; and

Mashball, which received the $500 runner-up prize for the Startup Showcase “Audience Choice” display for their tailgate, beach and outdoor game.

A panel of 18 local judges from the professional community selected four of the 14 student teams to advance to the final live-pitch round of the Venture Challenge. The finalists pitched their business plans during the final round and answered questions from the four final judges including CFO of Louisiana Funds Richard Babb, local civil engineer Niraj Kumar, CEO and President of Forte and Tablada Inc. Ann Forte Trappey and Partner at Jones Walker Law Firm Robert “Bob” Tucker. The judges evaluated the finalist’s presentations and question response to determine the cash amount each finalist would receive from $23,500. The remaining $1,500 went to the “Audience Choice” winner and runner-up from the Startup Showcase.

The LSU Student Incubator assists students with business idea development to create a post-graduation career option. The program was launched in 2010 and has supported over 50 student-run startups annually. The incubator provides students with one-on-one consulting, business planning software, professional mentors and speakers, an Elevator Pitch Competition, the Annual Venture Challenge and other valuable resources needed to start and grow a business. The LSU Student Incubator is a program of the Louisiana Business & Technology Center at the LSU Innovation Park, which endeavors to enhance economic development in Louisiana by supporting and developing small businesses. For more information on the LSU Student Incubator visit www.studentincubator.lsu.edu.

04/30/2014 01:18 PM

LSU Proof of Concept Fund Launched with $2 Million

LSU LIFT, or Leveraging Innovation for Technology Transfer, Fund will support commercialization of faculty intellectual property through small grants for applied research on proof of concept

In addition to approving changes to its regulations governing technology transfer and commercialization at LSU, the LSU Board of Supervisors today approved the creation of the LSU LIFT Fund – Leveraging Innovation for Technology Transfer – and launched it with $2 million in restricted funds generated by previously-licensed LSU inventions.

“This is exactly the kind of resource we need to provide our faculty with momentum to more effectively transfer innovation out of the lab and into the market,” said LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander. “The LSU LIFT Fund will now support our faculty’s most promising inventions in that difficult-to-fund phase between basic research and commercialization.”

The LSU LIFT Fund will provide small grants to faculty on a competitive basis, twice a year, in amounts up to $50,000, to validate the market potential of their inventions; the first LIFT grants are expected to be awarded by July 1 of this year. This type of funding is typically very difficult to secure, creating a gap between basic research support and marketable products. The Board also approved a recommendation to permanently sustain the LSU LIFT Fund by allocating 5 percent of the university’s future intellectual property licensing income directly to the new fund.

“Our committee is proud to have served our university in this capacity, and we are thrilled that the Board has created the LSU LIFT Fund with such a significant balance,” said Arthur Cooper, chair of the LSU President’s Committee on Technology Transfer, or PCTT, and CEO of the LSU System Research & Technology Foundation. “Launching the LSU LIFT Fund this way sends a strong message to our faculty and our external partners that LSU is serious about innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The Board also received the report of the PCTT, which outlined a new approach to technology transfer at LSU in partnership with the LSU System Research & Technology Foundation, or RTF.  The RTF will provide centralized administrative support functions to each of the campuses, enhancing productivity while allowing each to manage its own operations. The budget for this partnership is expected to replace what the campuses currently spend on external legal fees each year, and will be shared according to a formula based upon each campus’ relative proportion of LSU’s total annual research expenditures.

“This new policy and LIFT Fund should greatly increase the number of inventions moving from the laboratory to the marketplace and create new opportunities for LSU students to find great jobs in Louisiana once they graduate,” said Stephen Waguespack, president of LABI. “We support LSU in making this and other changes that will have a major impact on our state’s workforce and innovation sectors.”

“This new, collaborative approach to commercialization at LSU will advance innovation while being more responsive to the needs of both faculty and business,” said J. Stephen Perry, member of the LSU Board of Supervisors and chair of its Research & Economic Development Committee. “The LSU LIFT Fund will provide our excellent faculty with a new means of advancing their innovative research towards the market and will support LSU’s critical role in building an innovation economy across Louisiana. I am thrilled that we can kick-start this initiative by launching the LIFT Fund with such a significant initial investment.”

The Board’s Research & Economic Development Committee  today recommended these new programs to the full board.

“Biomedical innovation – a key driver of economic development – will be greatly improved by the change in the tech transfer approach and new LIFT Fund,” said Michael Hecht, president and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc. “Considering the prospect for biomedical research in New Orleans, this has real potential to help catalyze research, commercialization and new company formation.”

The full report of the technology transfer recommendations provided by the PCTT is available athttp://www.lsusystem.edu/docs/agenda/2014/20140131TechnlogyTransferReport.pdf.

“This streamlined approach to commercialization and technology transfer indicates an acceleration of LSU’s already considerable commitment to licensing intellectual property, and the LIFT fund provides the support necessary to sustain this effort,” said Joseph Lovett, managing director of Louisiana Fund I. “This is an exciting moment for Louisiana’s business community, and we look forward to working even more closely with LSU in the future.”

JANUARY 31, 2014