We are excited to announce the release of a new funding opportunity aimed at strengthening the NIH Proof of Concept Network, an academic innovation ecosystem converting scientific discoveries into biomedical products at over 79 research institutions across 19 states. The funding will be used to stand up five new hubs that will increase research and development impact as well as stimulate regional innovation partnerships.
In less than 10 years, with only $74 million in NIH funding, the NIH Proof of Concept Network has led to the formation of over 120 startup small businesses and 8 products that are available to the public. Some of these products include patient-specific airway stents, mobile nitric oxide therapy for respiratory diseases, and an online toolkit to help first responders maintain their own well-being. You can learn more about the outcomes of the network in this 2021 article.
The network was launched by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute in 2013 with three NIH Centers for Accelerated Innovation and expanded in 2015 and 2018 to support technology development across the NIH mission space through the addition of eight Research Evaluation and Commercialization Hubs (REACH). Due to an increased focus on workforce development and diversity, the National Institute for General Medical Sciences will lead this solicitation for five new REACH hubs.
The hubs support scientists, engineers, and medical researchers from a wide variety of personal backgrounds by providing funding to test the healthcare potential of their scientific discoveries, entrepreneurial training, and direct feedback and assistance from industry experts. The hubs boost local innovation ecosystems by spurring small business development, fostering entrepreneurial culture, strengthening workforce diversity, and addressing issues critical for improving public health.
Institutions are encouraged to apply by February 9, 2023. Projects are expected to launch in December 2023.
A pre-application webinar for the new REACH hubs was held December 12 – a recording and list of questions/answers is forthcoming. For questions about the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please contact Eddie Billingslea (NIGMS Science/Research Contact) or Brett Hodgkins (NIGMS Financial/Grants Management Contact). For more information about the NIH Proof of Concept Network, contact SEED.