Ascender Grant Program
11 awards for $880,213 awarded fiscal year 2023
The Ascender Grant program is one of the ways Technology Licensing Office advances technologies for the University of Utah. This program helps inventors bridge the funding gap between research and commercialization by providing support for technology development, proof of concept, and to prepare the innovation for additional investment by entrepreneurs, investors, and potential licensees.
Technology Licensing Office will invite Ascender Grant prospects to apply for funding that may, for example, help to develop a working prototype, conduct market research, or validate scalability of the technology.
Technologies must meet the following eligibility criteria to be considered:
- The technology has been formally disclosed to Technology Licensing Office
- The technology is not licensed or optioned
- The Principle Investigator is a University of Utah employee
- If the technology is jointly owned, an agreement (IIA) exists designating the University of Utah as the lead commercialization institution
Ascender Grants are awarded based on the recommendation of an external advisory committee. This program will make resources available for innovations that show strong commercial potential.
If you believe your technology is eligible, and a good candidate for this program, please speak with our office's Innovation Management team to learn more.
If you are applying for a Phase II Ascender Grant (a second Ascender Grant on the same technology/project), participation in the I-Corps™ ZAP program is required. Please reach out to
Other Grant Opportunities from the U
- Research Incentive Seed Grant Program from The Office of the Vice President for Research
- Sorenson Impact Foundation launched the Equitable & Resilient Recovery grant program
- The Office of the Vice President for Research’s The Faculty Small Grant Program (FSGP)
- Research Instrumentation Fund (RIF) Program - provides support to faculty and core facilities for new equipment purchases, or to replace/upgrade existing research equipment. The VPR Office runs two cycles of the RIF Program.
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) application assistance – As a member of the Office of the Vice President for Research (VPR), Won Yong Lee can help university investigators find appropriate funding sources and develop grant applications. He will help you seek and vet commercial entities to partner with U investigators.
State and Federal Grant Sources
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
- Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Services: The Utah Innovation Center, of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity (Go Utah), provides free services to help Utah companies secure non-dilutive research and development funding. The Center also manages the Utah Technology Innovation Funding (UTIF) program that provides microgrants and nonrecourse loans.
University of Utah 1850 Fund
Technology Licensing Office manages investments in companies spun out of the U through its 1850 Fund. The Fund seeks to invest in promising U of U companies from pre-seed through later rounds of investment, with a preference for investing at startup and alongside top-tier investors in subsequent rounds. The Innovation Fund does not lead investments, but seeks to syndicate with experienced investors. The amounts of investment will vary based on industry and the stage of each potential investment opportunity. For U of U spinouts to learn more about the fund, please contact
Other investment funds from the U
- University Venture Fund from the Sorenson Impact Center & David Eccles School of Business
- The David Eccles School of Business Student Investment Fund
- Sorenson Impact Foundation Investments
- Lassonde's Get Seeded
This is an ever-growing list of opportunities, so check back often.
- VentureCapital.org’s WeROC® (Women Entrepreneurs Realizing Opportunities for Capital)
- Entrepreneur & Investor Life Science Summit
- Boom StartUp PitchUp open pitch competition
- Angel Capital Association Member Directory
- National Venture Capital Association Members
Technology Licensing Office's Pitch Prep Program
If you are looking for help preparing to pitch to investors please contact us.