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Innovation Gap Fund



The fall 2023 Innovation Gap Fund cycle has concluded. Check back here for information about the spring 2024 cycle in the coming months.

View the F2023 CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Information packet for more information. If you are applying for the WE-REACH Program, check the WE-REACH opportunity page for updates.

Follow-on funding for previous winners

If you previously received an Innovation Gap Fund award from CoMotion, you may submit an application for follow-on funding within up to three funding cycles of your initial award start date. However, applicants for follow-on funding will be held to higher standards than first time applications with the expectations that the applicant was successful in meeting the milestones in the first award, have a deep understanding of their target market and customers and the follow-on funding has a strong likelihood of moving the project to a significant value inflection.

Program description

The CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund provides more than $1 million per year in grants of up to $50K per project team to move University of Washington innovations to the next stage of commercial development and investment. The program supports proof-of-concept and go-to-market strategy activities to advance promising innovations that have the potential to enable new products and services.

Successful projects have used funds to research customer demand, research and validate markets, create prototypes, and initiate beta testing. Basic research is not supported.

Areas of focus for projects

Fundable projects will come from university researchers who propose sustainable solutions to pressing needs in:

  • Life sciences
  • Engineering
  • Software/IT
  • Social impact

Key dates for the Fall 2023 Innovation Gap Fund

Learn about the key dates in the program. Unless otherwise specified, all CoMotion Innovation Fund activities will be held via Zoom. Unless otherwise indicated, all steps are mandatory and the deliverables will be used when evaluating whether or not a project should receive funding.


Who can apply?

Open to University of Washington faculty and postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduate students who are working with UW research teams, where the innovations are at the pre-company or licensing stage. Students and postdocs must identify a faculty fiscal sponsor.

Eligibility requirements

  • Projects must support the commercialization of innovations assigned to the University of Washington, with a Record of Innovation filed with UW CoMotion. Personally owned or private company-owned innovations are not eligible.
  • At least one member of the applying team must have completed UW I-Corps or Idea to Plan programs for their innovation or receive the endorsement of their CoMotion innovation development manager.


Disbursement and use of funds

Get funded and receive full-scale support from a team of experts

We award grants of up to $40,000 per project, with an additional $10,000 reserved for business development milestones. In addition, we will pair each team with a skilled CoMotion Advisor. Funds are awarded to researchers for direct project costs for up to 12 months. Applications are accepted each year in the spring and fall. Funds are awarded on a milestone-based schedule worked out with the Innovation Investments team. We strongly encourage that you use funds for product development and customer discovery purposes. No basic research will be funded. UW Principal Investigator salaries are not eligible for funding. Please discuss your proposed budget in advance with the Innovation Gap Fund team or your innovation development manager to identify other non-fundable expenses.

Evaluation Criteria

A final review committee of CoMotion and WRF staff, senior executives, and local investors will rank projects by market opportunity and likelihood that Innovation Gap Fund funding will influence the probability of the project making a social or commercial impact.

Make a gift to the Innovation Gap Fund

Past winners

The CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund has been helping UW research teams for more than a decade.