Charger Innovation Fund

The Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC)-managed Charger Innovation Fund (CIF) will be a UAH development mechanism that will assist faculty and staff with furthering the commercial potential of technologies developed at the University. Funds will be awarded under the advisement of the CIF Advisory Council, which consists of UAH faculty, research staff, and the local business community.

The objective of the CIF is to support short-term projects that will enhance the commercial value of UAH intellectual property assets that are disclosed and wholly assigned to UAH. Financial support is provided for a period of up to six months from the commencement of the project. Project commencement shall begin no later than six months of award notification.

The CIF will support demonstrative commercial technology development work reducing an invention to practice, providing critical commercial-relevant data, or developing working prototypes. All projects will be viewed to make the technology more commercially marketable. It is a requirement that all proposals are based on intellectual property disclosed to UAH.

Application and Evaluation Process

Applicants must submit a 5-page double-spaced application addressing specific commercialization priorities, including details of the proposed development project and rationale for the proposed development project achieving the CIF goals.

The CIF Advisory Council will convene soon after the application deadline to review applications. All applicants will be invited to “pitch” the proposed project to the CIF Advisory Council. Each pitch session will be no more than 15 minutes long with an additional 5 minutes for questions. Strict time limits will apply and presenters should assume that the CIF Advisory Council has read and is familiar with the proposal. The objectives of the pitch session are to provide a forum for the applicant to benefit from the expert advice of the CIF Advisory Council and to provide an opportunity for the applicant to address the questions of the CIF Advisory Council. Applicants are advised to work with the OTC as they prepare for the pitch session.

Each presentation made to the CIF Advisory Council and OTC Director will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  1. The technology’s novelty
  2. Intellectual property disclosed to OTC
  3. The market need
  4. The maturity of the technology
  5. The impact that the requested CIF funding will have on the technology’s stage of development
  6. The legal landscape for the technology (i.e. IP position and third-party obligations)
  7. The principal investigator’s commitment to commercialization
  8. The experimental design and budget pragmatism  of the proposed project

Terms of Award

All project funds shall be expended within 6 months from the date of project commencement. Such project shall not commence more than 6 months from the date of the award.  Extensions of time will be granted only in extraordinary circumstances, which must be described in a written request to the Director of OTC as soon as timely completion of the project is in question, but no later than 30 days prior to the end of the project term.

Three (3) months into the project, award recipients shall meet with the OTC director to provide a status on the project. A final progress report must be submitted to the OTC director after 30 days of the end of the period of performance, or an approved extended term if applicable. At the end of the project term, all remaining funds will be returned to the CIF.

Funds awarded to recipients are internal funds and shall not be subject to Indirect Cost Recovery.

Proposal Submission Format

For consideration, all proposals must be submitted through the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) in accordance with established University procedures and protocols.

The proposal length should not exceed five (5) double-spaced pages, excluding the cover sheet, the budget pages, and the curriculum vitae. The proposal should maintain one-inch margins and use Times New Roman font at 12-point size. In the interest of fairness to all faculty members, any proposal exceeding the page limit or not conforming to the margin and font requirements will be returned without review. All proposals must follow the format given below:

  1. Cover Page
  • Title of Project
  • Name of PI and associated department and/or research center
  • Name of CO-I and associate department and/or research center
  • UAH Invention Disclosure or Copyright Disclosure Reference Number and Title
  1. Background Information
  • What is the invention?
  • Why was it created?
  • What need does it address?
  • How does it address the need?
  • What might be claimed in a patent?
  • Summary of the current state of the technology (players in the industry or competitors)
  1. Statement of Work
  • What will be done with the CIF Fund Award?
  • Describe the proposed work and time frame to complete the work.
  • It is the responsibility of the PI to ensure all applicable regulatory approvals are obtained prior to award (animal & human subject, etc).
  1. Marketing
  • How will this work make the invention or technology more marketable?
  • Are there any companies currently interested in taking license to this technology?
  • Could this be a startup opportunity?
  1. Budget Requested by Category
  2. The budget must be appropriate for the project. Budget will be prepared by the Office of Sponsored Programs, and justification with appropriate level of detail to allow for an informed evaluation of your proposed budget. This justification should not exceed one page. To be helpful, some guidelines for constructing the budget are given below.
  1. The PI may apply funds in the budget towards his/her salary (academic or summer). Research staff and faculty salary requests are limited to only one semester (4.25 months) or the summer; summer salaries cannot exceed 33% of the base salary (faculty: 9 months; staff: 12 months). Funds may also be used to support salaries and wages for individuals other than the faculty member if their work is critical to the completion of the innovation project by the faculty member (provided this is addressed in the budget justification). Typical examples are, graduate and undergraduate student support required in the acquisition, development and preparation of research materials and data, machine shop time, and equipment operation assistance. Administrative and graduate student tuition support is not covered. (There is no cost share of tuition.)

2. Innovation-related Equipment/Instrumentation: Any equipment/instrumentation acquired under the grant is owned by the University. Normally, at the end of the project, any equipment purchased will become property of the department to which the grantee is assigned. All purchases for equipment must be supported in the proposal relative to need for accomplishment of the proposed effort. Requests for purchase of equipment not justified and required for accomplishment of the specific project objective and proposed plan will not receive approval.

3.  Innovation-related Operating Expenses: Please break out the total operating expenses necessary to complete the proposed activities into the appropriate categories.

4. Travel: Funds are not provided for attendance at professional meetings but are available for travel required to complete the innovation project. Justification of travel and explanation of its role in accomplishing the project must be included in the proposal.

G. Curriculum Vitae

Recent Awardees

2015 Awardees

Dr. Junpeng Guo (COE) “Robust Ultra-Thin Silicon Film Color Filters for Display Applications” These silicon and metal based filters rely on optical wave interference to display colors.  Unlike current optical filters, these are low cost, robust, and do not change color due to changes in angle.  They are intended for use in display applications such as television and computer screens, signs, and logos.

Dr. Emil Jovanov (COE) “liquidTrac: A Smartphone-Based Monitoring of Liquid Intake” This technology consists of a water bottle that monitors the amount of liquid in the bottle and transmits the information to a smartphone.  This can help remind people to drink enough water for a healthy lifestyle or limit water intake for patients with congestive heart failure or kidney disease.  The information can be accessed by the user’s physician with permission.

Dr. Yongbin Lin (CAO) “Bridging Nano-Biosensing Technology to Device Commercialization” This technology consists of a fiber-based nano-biosensor to be used for molecular analysis in point-of-care applications. The goal is to create low-cost, compact, easy-to-use biosensors for early detection of cancer and other diseases in any environment.

2014 Awardees

Dr. Junpeng Guo (COE) “A Novel Surface Plasmon Enhanced Absorption Spectrometer Chemical Sensor.” This sensor measures small amounts of trace chemicals. It's enhanced sensitivity, smaller size, and lower cost will have significant advantages for disease diagnosis, chemical analysis, and homeland security.

Dr. Philip Kovacs (COEd) “Complexity Engine.” Powered by a sophisticated algorithm, Complexity Engine searches websites for content and delivers free, customized and age-appropriate reading materials to a user's computer. It will give teachers, parents, and students an efficient, affordable way to promote self-directed reading.

Dr. William Kaukler (COS) “Quiet Lawn Mower Blade Development.” This lawn mower blade is designed to produce significantly less noise during operation so that lawn mowers can meet new, stricter sound level regulations.

Dr. James E. Smith (COE) “Passive Cooling of Computer Processors.” This device uses a passive 2-phase cooling technique to provide a less expensive and cleaner method to cool computer processors.

Dr. Debra Moriarty (COS) “Fabrication of Human Organ Analogues Utilizing Additive Manufacturing.” This specialized 3D printing extruder allows for economical and sterile synthetic human organ analog fabrication for use in drug testing. These less expensive testing cultures would allow drugs to be screened for failure early, saving on the cost of drug development.

2013 Awardee

Dr. Fan Tseng (CBA) “Developing a DEA Component for Implementation in a Nurse Staffing Decision Support Dashboard.” This technology consists of a software application, InnovaInsight™, which promotes the use of research evidence in nurse staffing decision-making. It helps nurse managers assess the efficiency of nursing units and make staffing decisions to optimize the quality of patient care.