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UConn Quantum Startup Awards

Advances in quantum science have the potential to have transformative social and economic impact.  New technologies are poised to revolutionize major industries, creating opportunities for new applications that will fuel economic growth.

To accelerate the translation of quantum technologies, UConn’s Office of the Vice President for Research is creating a new program to support faculty entrepreneurs interested in creating new startups based on quantum-related innovations – the UConn Quantum Startup Awards

This program is offered as a companion program to the Quantum-CT Regional Innovation Engine project. Quantum-CT, led by UConn and Yale University, is an effort to build an innovation ecosystem of researchers, educators, industry, and state/local stakeholders to harness the economic impact of new quantum-enabled technologies through technology development, innovation and entrepreneurship, and advances in STEM education and workforce development.


Program Timeline

  • Program opens 8/15/23.
  • Submissions to be made through the UConn Quest Portal.
  • Proposal deadline 10/30/23 at 12 noon.

Eligibility and Award Details

Eligibility:  The UConn Quantum Startup Awards program is available to UConn / UConn Health faculty or postdoctoral fellows from UConn or UConn Health.

  • UConn/UConn Health faculty of all ranks are eligible to apply.
  • The UConn/UConn Health faculty member or postdoc applying for the award must be one of the core startup team members (founder, co-founder, interim CEO, or similar).
  • Startups must be centered around a quantum and quantum-adjacent technology that has been disclosed to UConn’s Technology Commercialization Services team.

Award details:

  • One-time, non-refundable award of up to $15,000
  • Eligible costs are limited to a) fees related to the incorporation of the startup; b) fees for an SBIR expert to help write an SBIR/STTR grant; or c) funds for a small project that is critical to the success of the startup.
  • Incorporation of the startup and disclosure of the technology to TCS are required to receive the award.
  • Technology Commercialization Services (TCS) will provide other necessary consulting support to faculty during the startup launch and throughout its life cycle.
  • For the most promising startups, OVPR may consider additional funding to support a technology development project within the startup.

Submission Instructions

  • Submit an invention disclosure to UConn TCS for the technology that will be at the heart of the startup (if one has not already been filed). Startup teams that have not completed the invention disclosure process will not be considered for Startup Formation Support awards.
  • After submitting an invention disclosure, potential applicants will need to contact TCS (contact information below) to discuss your technology and its commercialization pathway.
  • Submit a proposal via the Quest Portal (UConn NetID required). Proposals should include:
    • Applicant information form (available on Quest): PI Name, Home Department, School/College, email, phone, academic rank, primary employer.
    • Quantum Startup Award application form (available on Quest): project title, invention disclosure information, team members (with roles and affiliations), project abstract, amount requested
    • Project Narrative (PDF Upload) – no more than 5 pages (1” margins, 11-12pt fonts, single spacing and single side pages), outlining the following:
      • Description of the innovation/technology and its novelty
      • Anticipated impact: Identify the industries/sectors that your startup will address and describe
      • Intellectual Property Status: Describe your IP position, and the competitive IP landscape. List your current patent applications or patents pending as well as any granted patents related to this project. If you currently have no patent applications, please mention plans for future invention disclosures.
      • Estimate Market Size:
        • Please describe the total available market this invention addresses (TAM)
        • Estimate serviceable available market (SAM)
        • Estimate serviceable obtainable market (SOM)
      • Team: Describe the core startup team and advisors, along with their roles.
      • Resources: Describe your current understanding of the resources needed for the startup to succeed.
      • Funding strategy: Describe the startup’s path to future funding (SBIR/STTR, VC investments, etc).
      • Business Plan: Describe your plans for developing your technology and your strategy for bringing it to market. Include key technological and business development milestones, along with appropriate timelines.
        • If you are requesting funds for seed project activities, please also include an overview of your project aims, approach, and significance.
      • Time commitment: Describe the Faculty/fellow’s current time commitment and workload that demonstrate he/she can engage in the startup.
    • Budget: Describe and justify the use of Quantum-CT funds in this Internal Budget Funding template
    • Biosketches / CVs for core team members.

For any additional details required to help with the proposal please contact:

Vivek Ramakrishnan

Director, Venture Development

Technology Commercialization Services


Review Criteria

Market Need—does the innovation/startup address an unmet need and is there evidence that there is a market for the proposed solution?

  • Does the applicant make a strong case that there is a need/problem that needs to be met?
  • To what degree will the innovation satisfy the unmet consumer/industry need?
  • Does the proposal include market data and a compelling estimate as to what share of the market the innovation may realistically capture?

Innovation and Novelty—Is the innovation novel and/or does it make a significant improvement over currently-available solutions?

  • Does the proposal make a convincing argument that the innovation is novel and or makes a significant improvement over currently-available solutions?
  • Is there existing or the potential for intellectual property protection?
  • To what degree does the innovation solve the unmet need differently (e.g., better, faster, cheaper) than the current state-of-the art?
  • If novel, is the innovation a disruptive technology, a platform technology, or an incremental improvement over the current state-of-the art?

Commercialization Plan—Is there a realistic path for commercializing the innovation?

  • Does the proposal present a path to bring the innovation forward to market?
  • If so, is the startup path the most promising for the innovation?
  • Does the proposal contain reasonable estimates of the time needed to enter the market?
  • Does the proposal present plans for future financing of the project, such as SBIR/STTR or industry investment?
  • For future development, will this technology require regulatory approval?  If so, does the proposal address plans for successfully navigating the process?
  • Does the applicant point to any obvious potential licenses / commercial partners for this innovation?

Program Contacts