The LSU LIFT² Fund was created by LSU Board of Supervisors in January of 2014 to help “Leverage Innovation for Technology Transfer” across all the campuses of the LSU system. By permanently securing a portion of technology transfer licensing income in the LSU LIFT² Fund, LSU has ensured continual reinvestment in new innovation opportunities and affirmed its commitment to investing in its researchers and advancing discoveries to benefit the public. Commercialization of academic inventions through technology transfer further enhances multiple aspects of LSU’s mission and creates new economic opportunity in Louisiana and elsewhere.
A primary objective of technology transfer at LSU, like most other research universities nationwide, is the transition of inventions from the laboratory to the marketplace for public use and benefit. However, many discoveries require significant additional development to prove there is enough market potential to attract commercial partners. Funding for this type of research is difficult to obtain from either government or private sources, leaving many promising inventions languishing in a funding gap often referred to as “the valley of death.”
Support from the LIFT² Fund will provide LSU’s entrepreneurial and creative faculty with small “proof of concept” grants to support further commercialization of inventions, help establish data which can support commercial feasibility of the invention, and thus reduce the risk for companies interested in licensing the invention. “Inventions” are defined broadly, to include both creative works and ideas as well as devices, drugs, software, and other more traditional concepts; thus, faculty from all disciplines are encouraged to consider an application.
The LSU LIFT² proof-of-concept program will award grants twice a year, on a competitive basis, in amounts up to $50,000, to further develop an invention which has been disclosed but not licensed/optioned to a commercial partner. The LSU LIFT² grants will be time-limited and performance-based, and awarded for applied research which is designed to validate the concept envisioned by an invention disclosure. The LIFT² Fund is designed to increase the number of inventions which are licensed to a corporate partner .
Because there is a desire to expedite the LIFT² Funds and begin to make rapid changes to the innovation ecosystem across the LSU campuses, this initial phase of the LIFT² Fund program is being launched as an exploratory / pilot program. It is expected that after several rounds of this pilot program, lessons learned will be applied to optimize the management of the LIFT² Fund Program which may result in some changes to the award guidelines and rules. However, the fundamental principle of advancing a concept towards commercialization will remain the guiding purpose of the LIFT² Fund.
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