Innovation Gap Fund


The current cycle is now closed. Deadline for the declaration of intent for the Fall 2022 cycle to be announced.

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 ( 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 UW project teams. Our mission is to fund and support projects with a high chance of making an 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 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

Additional spring cycle funding tracks

The spring cycle of 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.

Population Health

The Population Health Initiative brings together the University community and others to create a groundbreaking initiative that will advance the health of people around the world by leveraging capabilities and opportunities at the UW and beyond. Population health is a broad concept encompassing not only the elimination of diseases and injuries, but also the intersecting and overlapping factors that influence health. The Population Health award is co-funded by the Population Health Initiative at UW.

Key dates for the Fall 2022 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.