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The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development is helping Auburn faculty move research into the marketplace with the 2020-21 LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program.

The LAUNCH program, now in its sixth year, was conceived by the Auburn University Research and Economic Development Advisory Board as a mechanism to bridge the gap between innovative research and the marketplace. The program was created in 2015 with the support of the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development with the goal of creating an endowment of $10 million that would provide annual funding for LAUNCH Innovation grants. To date, the LAUNCH program has awarded a total of $579,000 to entrepreneurial Auburn faculty, resulting in a license agreement, two pending license agreements, an option agreement and follow-on funding from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

“LAUNCH plays an important role in fueling innovative research that serves society and drives economic development,” James Weyhenmeyer, vice president for research and economic development, said. “Entrepreneurially-minded research faculty are encouraged to participate.”

The grant process begins when faculty interested in commercializing university research submit proposals to a LAUNCH evaluation panel, who, through a series of reviews, narrow submissions to a group of five finalists. Those finalists will make presentations to the evaluation panel in the spring of 2021 as part of Auburn's Entrepreneurship Summit.

LAUNCH Award recipients have the opportunity to work with experts in entrepreneurship from Auburn's Raymond J. Harbert College of Business and with the members of the Office of Innovation Advancement and Commercialization to develop the plans and assemble the resources necessary to translate scientific achievement into commercial success. Researchers may also be partnered with Auburn alumni with extensive experience in industries related to the projects.

The Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development is accepting applications for the 2021 LAUNCH Innovation Grants Program from Sept. 14 to Oct. 23, 2020. To learn more, click here.