State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

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VRIF Round 1 FAQs

  • Will R&D projects in research areas outside of the stated focus topics, but listed in the Roadmap, receive equal consideration?

    Applicants aren’t prohibited from proposing projects in other sectors included in CIT’s R&T Roadmap. However, it’s unlikely that R&D projects outside of the focus areas would receive “equal” consideration by VRIC.

    The peer review panel would score the proposal using the same criteria, including the potential that the commercialization of the patented invention would create jobs and have an economic impact.

    However, VRIC will not simply fund proposals in the order or rank at which they were scored. The Committee is interested not only in getting an individual invention to the marketplace, but in creating a critical mass or cluster in a niche research area that will continue to generate new inventions, spin-off companies, etc., eventually creating a self-sustaining research enterprise. In the proposal, the researchers would have to present a compelling case that the non-focus sector has the potential to continue to generate new patents and new products.

    Ultimately, it is up to the lead public university applicant whether to put forward an R&D (plus commercialization) project in a non-focus sector as one of the two proposals they are allowed to submit.

  • Please confirm that a responsive proposal will involve further research and development of an invention that has promise for commercialization?

    Yes. At a minimum, research should have reached a point where investigators have begun the process of protecting their intellectual property (filed an invention disclosure or provisional patent). See page 6 of the Call for Proposals under the heading, Type of Proposals. There are additional bullet points on that page that might shed more light on the stage of product development that VRIC is interested in funding. See also Appendix D and Appendix E. In reference to Appendix D on page 26, VRIC members stated in public meetings that they intend to fund projects that are completely past the Proof of Concept stage and they prefer projects that are well into the two Development stages (see the blue box at the bottom right of page 26 for examples of activities in each stage).
  • Please confirm that innovative services are also eligible and it is not necessary to have a product?

    Yes, proposals that seek to push out new services to end users are eligible, whether those end users are physicians, patients, businesses, the general public, etc.  Please ensure your proposal clearly addresses how, when, and to what extent job creation and economic impact will occur, because those aspects might not be as evident in a project for a new service as they are in a project to commercialize a product.
  • Regarding the budget for a project with multiple partners, does the grant funding need to be allocated to partners in the same proportion as the matching funds each partner commits?

    No. The grant funds and matching funds should be allocated to the partners in the way that makes the most sense for the success of the project.

  • If public university partners are unsure at the time LOIs are due which institution is in the best position to lead the project, can two institutions submit identical LOIs, then decide over the summer which one will be the lead institution?

    Yes, as long as the partner institutions understand that one of them is giving up one of their two allotted proposal slots.
  • Has a date been set for the Round 2 Competition?

    No. VRIC has not discussed the timeline for Round 2.

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