Program Funding Announcements

USC Stevens Center for Innovation
Technology Advancement Grants (TAG)

The 2021 Request for Proposals is now open. A summary is below, but please read the full announcement for details.

Letter of Intent (LOI) Deadline: 5:00 pm, Friday, February 5, 2021
Invited Proposal Deadline: 5:00 pm, Friday, April 9, 2021


Technology Advancement Grants (TAGs) support 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 USC Stevens’ staff and faculty advisors and a final review and recommendation by an external advisory board of industry experts. The process is blinded until the final presentations which will be held by zoom.  It is anticipated that part of the award may be spent on outside organizations that will work with the principal investigator and USC Stevens 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:

  • Innovations created at USC in any discipline that demonstrate strong potential for commercialization and taken to the next level through additional investment on the scale of $50,000 or less.
  • TAG prioritizes projects that are not eligible for other USC technology advancement programs, such as the Alfred Mann Institute at USC, 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 existing 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 USC Stevens prior to the submission of the letter of intent.
  • The project submitted would benefit from using the types of permissible expenses as described in “Types of Assistance” below to move a project closer to commercialization.
  • Examples of innovations or technologies that can benefit from TAG funding include, but are not limited to, new therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, software (health and non-health) with commercial applications, new battery types, novel chip designs, new materials for aerospace and other projects with clear commercial applications.

Types of Assistance:
TAG Awards provide up to $50,000 for a project duration of no more than one year. Permissible expenses include:

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

To Apply:

Further Information and Program Contact:
Questions about the TAG award or the application submission process can be directed to: Jennifer Dyer, Executive Director,, (213) 821-5002.


Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) Call for Proposals
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: Submissions are being accepted year-round on a rolling basis.

For more information, please email Jennifer Dyer of USC Stevens Center for Innovation or call (213) 821-5002.

Pfizer Centers for Therapeutic Innovation (CTI) requests pre-proposals for biotherapeutic targets.

Interested researchers must contact Michael Arciero with 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 researcher, USC Stevens Center for Innovation, and Pfizer CTI.

Pfizer CTI Seeks Projects Relating to the Following Modalities:

  • Antibodies
  • Proteins
  • Fusion Proteins
  • Antibody Conjugates

With Disease Area Focus In:

  • Cancer – Select solid tumors, such as Colorectal, Breast, Lung (small cell and non-small cell), Pancreatic, Ovarian
  • Autoimmunity/Inflammation – IBD, NAFLD/NASH, Atopic Dermatology, Psoriasis
  • Metabolic – T2DM, Cachexia
  • Rare – ALS, Huntington’s, Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy, non-malignant hematological disorders

USC Stevens Center for Innovation
Start-Up Investment Program

Request for Proposals currently open. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. For full details about the program, please read: USC Stevens Start-Up Investment Program RFP Announcement.

The USC Stevens Center for Innovation aims to maximize the translation of USC research into products for public benefit. One aspect of this mission is to support the translation of research through USC Start-ups. The start-up investment program supports this effort by reducing the hurdle for raising start-up funds to pay past patent costs (patent costs incurred by USC Stevens prior to the date of the license agreement with the USC Start-up). USC Stevens will invest in USC start-ups that demonstrate strong potential for success, as assessed by expert advisors, in exchange for equity interests granted to the university. In addition, the assessment will be used to help determine the best pathway for commercialization, and to advise the faculty inventor on business strategy.


  • USC will continue to accept an equity interest in start-up companies in lieu of an upfront licensing fee whether the start-up is USC Start-up or not, when requested by the start-up.
  • Companies that qualify as USC Start-ups will have the option of applying for additional investment in the following manner:
    –Upon approval, USC will invest a portion of its patent budget in USC Start-ups that demonstrate promise to succeed as a business.
    –In exchange, USC will receive an additional minority equity stake in the USC Start-up,  providing potential for future income to expand technology transfer in lieu of patent cost reimbursement income that USC would normally receive from a licensee.
    –A decision to invest will be based on a careful assessment of the business plan for the  start-up, including analysis from outside advisors who understand the industry.
  • The USC investment will be complemented by guiding faculty to seek investments from other sources, such as Small Business Innovation Research program, angel investors, venture capital, and other sources to complement USC’s investment.

Further Information and Program Contact:
Questions about the program or the application submission process can be directed to: Jennifer Dyer, Executive Director,, (213) 821-5002.

USC Stevens Center for Innovation
Commercialization Awards

The awards, given annually by the USC Stevens Center for Innovation, recognize the commercialization success of technologies developed by inventors across USC who worked with the USC Stevens Center for Innovation to execute a license for their research or technologies during the previous Fiscal Year. The first awards were given for the 2016 Fiscal Year.

Read our article for more information.


USC Stevens Center for Innovation
Legal Office Hours

This program provides complimentary legal assistance, counseling and information materials to all USC innovators (faculty, staff, students and alumni) and start-up companies. Our services are on-campus and are provided by qualified outside corporate and intellectual property attorneys.

For more information, visit our Legal Office Hours page.

Allied Minds and Bristol-Myers Squibb
Deadline: Applications accepted on a rolling basis.

CATALYST is an exciting new program launched by Allied-Bristol Life Sciences (ABLS), a joint venture of global pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb and venture builder Allied Minds, to identify and develop commercially-promising biopharmaceutical innovations from leading universities and research institutions. Launched in 2014, ABLS provides world-class expertise in drug development, access to a fully integrated drug discovery and development center (with medicinal chemistry, biological assays, animal models, pharmacology, toxicology capabilities, etc.) as well as seasoned management and the necessary financial backing to bring transformational academic discoveries to patients.

Through CATALYST, ABLS aims to:

  • Identify therapeutic opportunities with strong translational potential and that are aligned with ABLS’s strategic areas of interest.
  • License and develop lead compounds, investing ~$12M to $16M per program to undertake pre-clinical development and position the program for further clinical development and commercialization by BMS.
  • Strengthen relationships with leading academic institutions.

Disclosure and Confidentiality:
The information contained in your proposal is NOT deemed confidential unless your institution has entered into a Confidentiality Agreement with ABLS that covers the subject matter of your proposal. Please consult with Jennifer Dyer at USC Stevens for guidance on disclosure of confidential information.

Selection Criteria and Process:

  • Successful proposals will have elucidated novel and differentiated mechanisms, supported by strong scientific validation, underlying disease states of strategic interest (see below). Priority will be given to those projects where initial lead molecules have already been identified and possess the potential to deliver first-in class drug candidates
  • Proposals are accepted on a rolling basis. Proposals submitted by the 1st of each month are reviewed on or before the 28th of the same month. PIs of selected proposals will be invited to present their projects to the CATALYST Steering Committee. If your project is selected, we will work efficiently with you to finalize the research plan, budget, and necessary agreements.

Strategic areas of interest are:
Immuno-oncology, Oncology, Immunoscience, Cardiovascular, Genetically-defined diseases, and Fibrosis. More information on these areas of interest and the full application can be found on the CATALYST website.

For more information, including the identification of potential background Intellectual Property, please contact Jennifer Dyer at USC Stevens.