NSF I-Corps

CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund


The deadline for the declaration of intent for the Fall 2021 cycle is now closed. Check back for information about the Spring 2022 cycle.

View the F2021 CoMotion Innovation Gap Fund Information Packet for more information. If you are applying for the WE-REACH Program, download the WE-REACH Fall 2021 RFP on the WE-REACH opportunity page.

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 two funding cycles (one year) of your initial award. Please contact the Innovation Investments team (cmifund@uw.edu) prior to submitting a Declaration of Intent, as you may be eligible to bypass several steps of the standard application process.

Program description

The Innovation Gap Fund is a partnership between CoMotion and the Washington Research Foundation to provide over $1.1 million per year of up to $50K grants to project teams. Our mission is to fund and support projects that have a high chance to have impact but are unlikely to get there without gap funding. The Innovation Gap Fund program is intended to help technologies transition between the conclusion of academic research grants and the level of development at which they can attract seed stage 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

Additional funding tracks

The Innovation Gap Fund also includes funding tracks focused on the following sectors:


In October 2018, CoMotion partnered with BECU, Washington’s largest community credit union, to create a fintech hub in the Seattle region. The technology strengths and resources of greater Seattle and the UW ecosystem make a powerful combination that is poised to build the next generation of financial services innovations. In addition, the roll out of public ledger (blockchain), cryptocurrencies, and smart contract-enabling platforms by cloud and enterprise software providers is timely for engaging the best minds to focus on financial services innovation. The Fintech award will go to a team with a technology idea for the fintech sector that may have commercialization potential — whether through a license, startup company, or other.

Key dates for the Fall 2021 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 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