The Stevens Center funds several grant and investment programs that are only available to USC researchers. In addition, we coordinate applications for a limited number of external research funding opportunities.

Please consult the lists below for information about these internal and external funding opportunities.

Internal Funding Opportunities Offered by the Stevens Center

The TAG program is currently under review, and proposals are not being accepted at the present time.


Technology Advancement Grants support early stage technologies invented at USC through validation or proof-of-concept development. The awards add value to unlicensed USC-owned technology, aiming to increase the probability of obtaining a license in the future. These awards are not intended to fund basic research or app development.

TAGs have a competitive two-step application process comprising an initial review by Stevens Center staff and advisors, followed by a final review and recommendation by an external advisory board of industry experts. It is anticipated that part of the award may be spent on outside organizations that will work with the principal investigator and the Stevens Center to further develop the technology. The external advisory board may recommend that changes be made to the Project Plan in order for the project to be eligible for funding.

Areas of Interest:

  • Technologies invented at USC in any discipline that demonstrate strong potential for commercialization through additional technology advancement investment of $100,000 or less.
  • TAG prioritizes projects that are not eligible for other USC technology advancement programs, such as the Alfred Mann Institute at USC, Coulter Program, or Ming Hsieh Institute for Research on Engineering-Medicine and Cancer.


Eligibility is limited to projects that satisfy these criteria:

  • The application must be based on Intellectual Property (IP) developed at USC with the rights assigned to USC.
  • The IP cannot be licensed, optioned, or subject to any third party rights at the time of application (other than government interests via sponsored research).
  • The principal investigator must be a USC employee eligible to serve as principal investigator, other than a term employee or visiting employee.
  • A complete invention disclosure must be on file with the USC Stevens Center for Innovation prior to the submission of the letter of intent.

Types of Assistance:

TAG Awards provide up to $100,000 for a project duration of no more than one year. Permissible expenses include:

  • Prototype development
  • Biological target validation and screening
  • Software optimization
  • Preclinical studies, such as toxicity
  • Other advanced pre-commercial research, including sub-contracts to contract research organizations.

Please visit the USC Research Awards page on the Office of Research and Innovation website to see more internal funding opportunities.

External Funding Opportunities Managed by the Stevens Center

Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) requests pre-proposals for biotherapeutic targets. The current submission deadline is June 28, 2021.

For more information, please email Jennifer Dyer or Donaldson Santos of the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, or call (213) 821-5002. Interested researchers must contact Jennifer or Donaldson with their availability for a brief phone call with the Pfizer CTI Director to discuss proposed concepts prior to submissions. No proposal shall be submitted without prior discussion with the researcher, USC Stevens Center for Innovation, and Pfizer CTI.


Pfizer’s Center for Therapeutic Innovation collaborations focus around joint drug discovery where the investigator brings the target, validation and knowhow, and together with Pfizer a joint drug discovery research plan is developed. Pfizer’s areas of interest are aligned with their current core research areas of:

  • Oncology
  • Inflammation & Immunology
  • Rare Diseases
  • Internal Medicine

Details are outlined in the Call for Proposals (PDF).

Please visit the Pfizer CTI website for additional information about the program.

The Stevens Center also distributes calls for proposals from corporations such as Sony, Samsung, and others. These funding opportunities are announced by email and posted on the Stevens Center website and social media accounts.