Innovation Gap Fund


The deadline for the declaration of intent for the Spring 2023 cycle is 5 p.m., Monday, March 6, 2023.

View the S2023 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 Innovation Gap Fund is a partnership between CoMotion and the Washington Research Foundation to provide over $1.1 million annually in awards of up to $50K to UW project teams. Its mission is to fund and support projects with a high chance of making an impact but are unlikely to do so without gap funding. The program helps teams and technologies transition between the conclusion of academic research grants and achieving the level of development where they can attract seed-stage private investment. The funds can be used to de-risk your idea and to develop a proof-of-concept.

Successful projects have used funds to: create prototypes, complete software coding or user interface development, initiate beta testing, evaluate customer demand, or validate markets.

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 Spring 2023 Innovation Gap Fund to be announced


Who qualifies for grants?

  • faculty
  • postdoctoral fellows
  • graduate and undergraduate students, depending on the track and assignment of IP


  1. All proposed projects must have an identified UW Principal Investigator (PI)* at the time of application.
    * A UW PI must have current Faculty Grants Management workshop training and have Departmental signatory authority on grants.
  2. Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students must submit a Record of Innovation to CoMotion prior to applying.


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 marketing 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 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.