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Southwest Virginia Region 2021 Innovation CFP: Ideation to Commercialization

Objective

The Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI) is establishing Virginia as a global center of excellence at the intersection of security, autonomous systems, and data. With a mission of research, innovation, and workforce development, CCI serves as a catalyst for the commonwealth's long-term leadership in this sector through the leadership of a central hub and four regional nodes. The Southwest Virginia Node is led by Virginia Tech (VT).  

The product development process includes idea generation, screening, concept development, product development, and commercialization. The objective of this Call for Proposals (CFP) is to further innovation and product development by funding a project to the subsequent stage(s) in the process. For example, the team may propose funds for 1) market research (concept development) if that is the next stage of the product development, or 2) prototype creation 

(product development), or 3) other mechanisms to advance commercialization.  

Eligibility 

The PI must be from a public institution of higher education in CCI Southwest Virginia and be deemed eligible by their home institution to serve as a Principal Investigator (PI) on an external grant. Researchers who do not fall into this category, including postdoctoral associates, may apply as a co-PI with an eligible PI. Students interested in this call should work as part of a project team led by an eligible PI.  

Women, gender minorities, underrepresented minorities, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply as PIs (if appropriate) or as co-PIs or team members.  

CCI Southwest Virginia includes Radford University, University of Virginia at Wise, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech, Liberty University, Danville Community College, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research New College Institute, Mountain Empire Community College, New River Community College, Patrick and Henry Community College, Southwest Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College, Virginia Western Community College, and Wytheville Community College. 

Focus areas should be within the intersection of data, autonomy, and security. CCI Southwest Virginia has a particular emphasis on cybersecurity related to fast, secure, and customizable communications systems and technologies, including 5G, AI, ML, defense-in-depth cybersecurity solutions, emerging technologies (such as NextG and quantum algorithms) and cryptographic protocols, applications to transportation, energy, space, autonomous systems, manufacturing, and agriculture, as well as issues surrounding human factors, privacy, ethics, and global security in society.  

Budgets must be approved by the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) at the PI’s institution prior to the proposal deadline. 

Awards   

Anticipated award amount: up to $50,000 

Award Details: Use of funds may include (but is not limited to) support for prototype development; proof of-concept testing; payment of researchers, students, and postdoctoral fellows; independent verification and validation to be performed by a contract research organization; or costs associated with applying for a patent or a business license in Virginia. Awardees will also be required to specify deliverables. Periodic reporting will be required. By the end of the program, specified deliverables should be complete. Indirect costs (IDC) are NOT eligible costs in the proposals submitted in response to this CFP. 

Award Conditions:

Successful applicants are expected to participate fully in the activities of CCI including providing materials needed for reports, participation in CCI meetings, and responding to data collection requests by the CCI. All publications and presentations resulting from the grant should acknowledge support from Commonwealth Cyber Initiative (CCI).

Period of Performance 

April 1, 2022 – December 31, 2022 

Proposal Format  

Proposals must use 1-inch margins, 12-point (Calibri or Arial) font, and single line spacing. Proposals should adhere to the following outline:  

1. Title Page (1 page)

  • Title of proposed product, names of faculty/student team, contact information for Principal Investigator (PI) and co-Principal Investigators (co-PIs)

2. Proposed Product (1-2 pages)

  • Description of product
  • Past performance: description of past successes and lessons learned related to product
  • Discussion of relevance to CCI
  • Deliverables, such as prototype, business plan, IP disclosure(s), patent(s), or business license in Virginia

3. Commercialization Potential (1 page)

  • Description of unmet need and how the proposed product meets that need
  • Potential obstacles to success
  • Plans for or confirmation that an invention disclosure form has been submitted to the appropriate university unit

4. Budget (1 page)

  • Budget items and justification
  • Budget must include requested amount
  • Budget must be approved by OSP

Biographies

  • Up to two pages per PI/co-PI, including prior commercialization experience

Proposal Submission

Proposals must be submitted to Gretchen Matthews gmatthews@vt.edu with subject “IIC proposal submission” by the project PI no later than the close of the business day (5:00pm) on Monday, January 24th, 2022. All proposals must be submitted as a single PDF document.   

Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of reviewers according to the following criteria: 

Commercialization Potential (20%)  

- Clearly defined problem/unmet need

- How proposed technology will address this problem/need

- Technical feasibility

- Data or prototype available

- Strength, experience, and engagement of team

Market Potential (20%)

- Market size or opportunity

- Strength of competition and competitive products

- Ability of proposed solution to capture market share

- Ability to secure long-term competitive advantage including IP protection

Development Plan and Budget (20%)

- Clear and appropriate budget that aligns with technology development plan

- Plan can be achieved in allotted time frame with requested funding

- Milestones have defined end points and deliverables

- Scientific/development methods are valid

Value of the Funding (20%)

- Commercialization funds will move technology to clearly defined next stage or inflection point

- Value of potential technology development exceeds the risk-adjusted cost of funding

- Achievement of milestones will de-risk technology and/or validate market opportunity

- Funds will have proportional impact on moving technology forward with CCI goals

Alignment and Qualifications (20%)

- Relevance to CCI focus areas

- Suitability of team background to proposed work