Accelerator Awards

Accelerator Awards

The Ohio State University Accelerator Awards are a pool of funds to advance the translation of cutting-edge Ohio State innovations from the university into the marketplace.

Generating proof-of-concept needed to advance promising technologies

The Accelerator Award program aims to generate the proof needed to advance Ohio State technologies to the point that they are either ready to be licensed by an Ohio-based startup company or are determined to be unfeasible for commercialization. The program is funded by the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund (TVSF) and administered through Ohio State’s Corporate Engagement Office. The Ohio Third Frontier aims to create greater economic growth in Ohio through the creation of startup companies that commercialize technologies developed by Ohio higher education institutions. 


The application process for the Accelerator Awards has changed. The Accelerator Awards application process now consists of three required stages: a pre-proposal, full application by invitation and a pitch presentation by invitation.

Key dates and deadlines

Key dates and deadlines for the next cycle of Accelerator Awards funding will be announced as soon as they are available. The full Accelerator Awards process includes:

  • Request for Applications release
  • Pre-proposals 
  • Invitations to submit full applications 
  • Full application 
  • Invitation to finalists selected to make pitch presentation 
  • Pitch presentations take place 
  • Award notices 
  • Project kickoff meeting 
  • Project start date 

The Accelerator Awards program is open to all Ohio State faculty and staff who meet the eligibility guidelines. The principal investigator (PI) must be Ohio State faculty with an appointment that allows them to serve as PI on an externally-sponsored research project. Post-docs and Ohio State staff are eligible to apply as co-PIs. Proposals must fall within one of the State of Ohio’s technology focus areas: software/information technology; biomedical/life sciences; advanced materials; sensors; energy; or advanced manufacturing. Technologies must have already advanced beyond basic research and have the equivalent of a laboratory-scale proof of concept prior to the application.

Projects are designed to advance the commercialization of university-owned intellectual property. By the full application submission deadline, a technology must already have intellectual property protection (patent pending or patent issued), on file with the Corporate Engagement Office.

The award is designed to fill the funding gap between basic academic research support and the investment of seed stage capital. Technologies with industry sponsorship, research grant support, investment partners or those that are the subject of a TVSF Phase 2 award are not eligible.

Review the Accelerator Award RFA for details about eligibility.

Use of funds

Applicants may request an award of up to $150,000 direct costs for biomedical/life sciences projects and up to $100,000 direct costs for all other projects. 

The Accelerator Awards fund milestone-driven projects designed to obtain the proof needed to license the technology to a startup company. All finalists invited to submit a full application will be paired with an industry expert to assist the PI in developing a commercialization-focused milestone plan.

Scope of activities appropriate for Accelerator Awards funds include:

  • prototype development
  • human clinical data studies
  • animal studies
  • complete software coding or user interface development
  • validate markets and customer demand
  • demonstration and assessment of critical failure points in subsequent development
  • scale up and commercialization

Program funds will be allocated to specific, measurable project milestones that are key to establishing commercial viability of the technology. The project scope must encompass activities that can be completed within a period of 12-months, with the majority of project funds allocated to external third-party service providers. Funding is provided in tranches aligned with the project milestones with quantitative metrics of success evaluated on a quarterly basis. General allowable budget categories include: salary and fringe benefits for non-faculty project personnel; purchased services; supplies and equipment. Given the technology transfer goals of the Accelerator Awards program, 75% of project expenditures must be spent with external third-party service providers (i.e. vendors outside of the university). No more than 25% of the total project budget may be allocated to personnel costs.

Review the Accelerator Award RFA for details about award criteria and use of funds.

Award decisions

The Accelerator Awards Selection Committee consists of two representatives of the Corporate Engagement Office and seven external partners with commercialization, investment and entrepreneurial expertise. Based on recommendations from the Accelerator Awards committee, final funding decisions will be made by the Ohio Third Frontier.

Apply today

Please review the RFA and FAQs for complete details and requirements for the program before submitting a pre-proposal. To apply, complete the pre-proposal template and submit the completed PDF to Pre-proposals are due for the Fall 2019 awards program by November 4, 2019 by 5 p.m. EST. 


For more information or questions, please contact the Accelerator Awards team by email at