Commercialization and Funding

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Orange Innovation Fund

The Orange Innovation Fund supports student research initiatives emerging from campus innovation programs. The grant 'concept to commercialization' fund is designed to help move graduate and undergraduate student research or scholarly projects from ideation to proof of concept to commercialization.

The Orange Innovation Fund supports the University’s goal to distinguish Syracuse University for excellence in research, scholarship, student experiential learning and innovation.

Initial funding from the program comes from a gift to SU Libraries from Raj-Ann Rekhi Gill ‘98, a member of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees who is operating partner of Silicon Valley Quad, an angel investing syndicate.

Intelligence++ Ventures

The Intelligence++ Ventures initiative is an extension of the Intelligence++ program that launched in the Fall of 2020 in Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad, in partnership with the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education (InclusiveU) and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). The Intelligence++ program included a two-semester inclusive entrepreneurship and design course, DES 400/600, that encourages students from across campus to imagine and create products, devices and services for persons with disabilities. The Intelligence++ Ventures initiative extends the program to provide funding to commercialize products and services to support people with intellectual disabilities. It emphasizes interdisciplinary and collaborative technological, educational and organizational innovation to enable and empower individuals with intellectual disabilities, their families and their communities. Students applying can come from any school or college and do not need to take DES 400/600 to apply. Students with an idea for the intellectual disability community could apply for this initiative in addition to other funds the Libraries administers.

Administration and Collaboration

Both programs are administered through the Libraries, in collaboration with the University’s research and commercialization programs such as the Syracuse Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Engagement (SOURCE), the Blackstone LaunchPad, Invent@SU, NEXIS, the Innovation Law Center, the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program at Syracuse, Intelligence ++, Syracuse Center of Excellence (CoE) in Environmental Energy Systems, Center for Advance Systems and Engineering (CASE) at Syracuse University (NYSTAR designated Center for Advanced Technology), and the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

Applications are welcome from students engaged in any campus innovation program, as well as from students working on their own commercialization projects through research classes, labs or independent study programs across campus.

For information on the proposal grant workshop and/or the application deadline, e-mail

Forever Orange Student Innovation Fund

Funded by Libraries’ Advisory Board Member Jeffrey Rich ’67 beginning in 2020, the Student Innovation Fund is administered through the Blackstone LaunchPad and helps LaunchPad student entrepreneurs pursue new business ideas and opportunities by providing merit and/or milestone grants of up to $2,500 to support students with startup expenses in the earliest stages of business development. Typically, these needs are related to legal costs such as consultative advice, business formation, operating agreements, contracts, patent work and regulatory requirements (e.g., third-party testing and certification).

Orange Innovation Fund

  • $50,000 will be available per academic year over a five-year period, awarded through solicitations for proposals in September and March.
  • Merit/milestone-based grants of up to $5,000 per award, with deliverables due within six months of the award.
  • Grants will support specifically defined projects over a clear timeframe with identified outcomes that will help move a research project or innovative venture toward proof of concept and commercialization.
  • Use of funds will be for tangible needs related to the development of a product, service, technology or creative work through four phases: 1) discovery, 2) testing, 3) building and 4) launching.
  • Priority will be given to students working with aforementioned research and commercialization programs.
  • Judging of entries will be led by a designated representative of Syracuse University Libraries, working with a cross campus review committee and alumni entrepreneurs.
  • If no applications meet the minimum criteria in the September or March cycle, grants will not be awarded for that cycle and funding will carry forward.
  • Funding decisions may be reversed for reasons that may include, but are not limited to, academic dishonesty, infringement of the intellectual property of others or failure to comply with the agreed upon scope of work and project milestones.
  • Teams or any resultant business entities are responsible for any tax consequences of the awards.
  • Teams may apply for successive awards if they are using the funds for different milestones to advance through proof of concept and commercialization.

The program is open to full-time students, undergraduate or graduate level, who are currently enrolled in and pursuing a degree program. Only one submission per team is permitted per cycle. Individuals may be a member of only one team. If team members include students from other universities, the team leader and key project leaders should be Syracuse University students.

Research inventions that could be patentable should be owned by students. Funds may not be sought by graduate students working on faculty research or University intellectual property projects.

Students working on independent research that could be patentable should demonstrate they have done an abbreviated freedom to operate search that assesses the patent landscape for any protected technology that would keep them from using their technology freely. Campus resource providers can provide direction on how to use databases and search tools available through SU Libraries and the Innovation Law Center.

Proposals will be reviewed against the following selection criteria:

  • Innovative research which could be commercialized as a product (hardware or software), service or technology and has the potential to make a meaningful impact.
  • Proposal viability and feasibility, sound research and development, and quality of the written proposal.
  • A team that is actively engaged with the campus innovation ecosystem and is utilizing technical assistance and mentoring, as well as other campus program resources.
  • A sound commercialization and product development roadmap that will move the research forward, along with expected outcomes, such as development of prototype for testing, first sales, attracting angel or pre-seed investment for commercialization, or moving an idea to market through production or licensing agreements. Does this project move the idea toward commercialization and fill a needed gap?
  • Reasonable and professionally researched budget to demonstrate that the award will have an impact on overall traction and future roadmap.
  • Proposed match, or ability to use this award to leverage other funding, if applicable.
  • Qualifications and strength of project team, including a faculty or industry mentor and subject matter experts to help guide the process.

Student teams will be expected to participate in an annual “Demo Day” that showcases the MVP (minimally viable product) or proof of concept created through the funding. This event will be coordinated annually by Syracuse University Libraries and will be open to campus and community partners, alumni and potential funding partners.

Two proposal writing workshops will be offered each semester by Linda Dickerson Hartsock, advisor, strategic initiatives Syracuse University Libraries, and former founding director of the Blackstone LaunchPad. These workshops are useful as an introduction to grant writing that can be applied toward developing proposals for other public, private and foundation funding programs. Students must take one of these two workshops to apply.

Proposal writing is a valuable skill and the process will strengthen applications, as well as demonstrate rigor and commitment to the program.

Applications will be due following the proposal workshops. For a link to the application, email

  1. Applicants will be directed to a simple Qualtrics form to collect basic information/ data for tracking.
  2. Applicants should e-mail a PDF of their grant proposal to
    1. The PDF should be titled and saved in this format: Name.Date
      1. For example: MarySmith.9.29.2023
      2. This naming convention is important for tracking applicants and date of submission.
      3. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.
    2. The proposal should be approximately seven pages (up to 12 pages if needed). Style guidelines:
      1. Single space, 12-point typeface, margin size from .5 to 1 inch.
      2. Please run spell check and syntax check before submitting.
      3. While you can use AI to assist with research and writing, be sure to have an extremely good grasp of what you are proposing, since you will be asked detailed questions if/when you are asked to pitch to the review committee.
  3. The proposal should be ONE DOCUMENT saved as a SINGLE PDF. It should follow this table of contents:
    1. Cover letter with your contact information
    2. One-page executive summary
    3. Proposal and case for support
      1. What is the problem you are solving?
      2. What is the technology (hardware or software) you are developing to solve it?
      3. What customer discovery have you done and what has it indicated?
      4. What is the addressable market potential for this technology?
      5. What is the competitive landscape and your differentiator/value proposition?
      6. Who are your strategic partners and what are their roles?
      7. Do you have letters of intent from customers or strategic partners?
      8. What is your business model?
      9. What traction have you achieved to date?
      10. What is your commercialization roadmap?
      11. What is the proposed use of these funds?
      12. What product development/commercialization milestone will you accomplish with this funding and what gaps will remain on your commercialization roadmap?
      13. Who is your team?
      14. Who are your advisors and mentors?
      15. How will you measure success?
      16. Why should we fund you?
      17. Include website, social media links.
    4. Project budget
    5. Project timeline
    6. Team resumes (these do not count against page length)
    7. Support letters (these do not count against page length)
    8. Supplemental materials (these do not count against page length)
      1. Feel free to include a slide deck in PDF format (if you have one) integrated into the single PDF. It is not required. If you do decide to submit one, do not submit it separately.
      2. Any other visuals that you think would be compelling. Not required, but if you do submit, do not submit separately.