Brown Technology Innovations

Request for Proposals

Brown Biomedical Innovations to Impact (BBII) is a program to support innovative proof-of-concept projects with the goal of facilitating the translation of biomedical research discoveries through partnerships with industry and startups.

The goal of this program is to help bridge the funding gap between early stage biomedical innovations and well-defined commercial opportunities that are attractive for investment by pharmaceutical partners or investors in new startups. BBII support allows investigators to develop important data to demonstrate the promise of their technology to potential investors and/or industry collaborators and increase the chances for collaboration, out licensing and commercialization.

  • BBII is made possible thanks to $8M in gifts from Brown University alumni and parents.
  • An external panel of industry and investment experts will review proposals and make recommendations for awards to be funded. 
  • Funded projects will be milestone driven and will be managed collaboratively by the Principal Investigator and BBII.
  • To be funded, the product-focused translational development work must be relevant to industry and may be carried out by third-party entities such as CROs or consultants.

View Request for Proposals Form

Program Eligibility


Principal Investigators are faculty whose principal appointment is at Brown University specifically, investigators who are covered by the Brown University IP policy and have an obligation to assign IP to Brown University are eligible to apply. Emeritus, adjunct, and visiting faculty, as well as post docs, are not eligible to lead projects, but may be included on the research team. 

In addition, investigators employed by Brown-affiliated hospital partners (Care New England and Lifespan) who have a primary academic appointment at Brown University shall be eligible so long as their application includes a letter of support from their research administration office*. The letter needs to state (a) that the project is approved for inclusion in this program, (b) that the hospital partner is willing to accept the revenue sharing provisions for this program; and (c) that the hospital partner agrees to waive indirect fees.  

Only one pre-proposal per applicant will be accepted per cycle.

Lifespan and Care New England

  • Lifespan investigators should seek approval letters from the Vice President of Research Administration (current contact Michael Henderson
  • Care New England investigators should obtain a letter from Colleen Ramos, Vice President Finance, Women & Infants Hospital at with a copy to Susan Senerchia at

Activities Eligible for Funding

The focus of this program is the biomedical sciences, specifically, identification and development of therapeutics, diagnostics or medical devices. Examples of translational projects eligible for funding include but are not limited to: 

  • Identification and/or chemical optimization of small molecule leads
  • Development of therapeutic or diagnostic antibodies or other biologics
  • Testing of lead molecules or biologics in cell-based and/or animal models of disease to confirm their therapeutic or diagnostic relevance 
  • Identification and validation of a biomarker for efficacy or profiling
  • Development and/or testing of a diagnostic or medical device prototype

In many cases the work may be outsourced to contract research organizations (CROs), for instance medicinal chemistry services or in vivo efficacy models or nonclinical studies. BBII, with input from the Principal Investigator will identify suitable CRO partners, negotiate contracts and manage outsourced projects.


Awards will typically be up to $100,000 for one year and may be considered for renewal if the agreed-upon milestones are met.  Projects will be funded at the level deemed necessary to achieve the proposed research objectives.  As this is an internal funding mechanism, BBII funding will not be subject to indirect charges.

It is expected that 2-5 grants will be awarded per annual funding cycle.

Application Process

  1. Pre-proposals: Applicants are strongly advised to consult with BBII ( to develop a pre-proposal according to the format in Appendix A (pre-proposal template). Pre-proposals are due by December 17, 2021. Only one preproposal per applicant will be accepted per cycle. Based on recommendations by the Independent Investment Advisory Committee, BBII and Brown Technology Innovations, a subset of applicants will be invited to submit a full application (notification of invitations in February 2022). Please submit pre-proposals via email as a PDF to BBII (
  2. Full proposals: are by invitation only and are to be prepared according to the format in Appendix B. Full proposals will be due in April, 2022 (date to be announced at time of invitation). Staff at the BBII and Brown Technology Innovations will assist applicants with the development of full proposals, particularly with determination of commercial potential and development of milestones to reach that potential. Applicants will be expected to present/pitch their proposals (in person or via video conferencing, TBD, in May) to the Independent Investment Advisory Committee. Full proposals will be reviewed by the Committee and possibly one or more external technical advisors. Award decisions will be made by the Advisory Committee in consultation with BBII and funding is expected to begin in July 2022. Using the Full Proposal Template and email as a PDF to BBII (

Evaluation Criteria

The BBII fund awards are meant to advance technologies to the point where they can be transferred through licensing or receive additional funding through partnering with industry. Proposals will be evaluated on overall potential for commercial relevance. 

Key Criteria

  • Potential impact and significance
  • Scientific and technical merit 
  • Appropriateness of objectives and milestones for achieving commercially relevant proof of concept
  • Unmet need and commercial market
  • Competitive advantages over other technology
  • Patentability of technology
  • Project team
  • Demonstrated interest from potential industry partners


Proposals will be shared with an external investment advisory panel for review and selection for funding. They may also be shared with one or more technical experts and advisors for input on scientific/technical merit or market analysis.

Budget and Funding Period

Successful full proposals will be funded for 6 to 12 months of effort in milestone-driven tranches with potential to reapply for a second year if milestones are met. Awardees shall inform BBII immediately if funding for the project becomes available from another source. Funds may be reallocated to other activities provided they are directly related to the funded project and approval is obtained from BBII. 

BBII funding will not be subject to Brown (or hospital) indirect charges. Funding may only be used for the research approved by BBII and not for any other purpose. Budget items may not include equipment, computers, PI or collaborator salary, or travel. Many projects may be structured to require budgeted activities to be outsourced to a contract research organization or to require the expertise of consultants. BBII, with input from the Principal Investigator, will identify suitable CRO partners, negotiate contracts and manage outsourced projects. 

During Award

A project team will be assembled to manage specific needs and progress of each project through the funding period.  In addition to the PI, the team may include BBII or Brown Technology Innovations staff, research personnel, and consultants that provide particular expertise related to the project (such as chemistry, product development, etc.).  The team will meet as needed but no less than 4 times during the course of the funding period. Each award is made for a research plan that is based on technical milestones accepted by BBII.  The achievement of the milestones will serve as key decision points for assessing the progress of the project and determination of continued funding.  BBII reserves the right to terminate a project if technical milestones are not met.  It may make sense to consider revision of the research plan during the funding period based on scientific or commercial developments however, any changes must be submitted and approved in writing by BBII.

Other Requirements

  1. Inventions and Intellectual Property (IP): There is no requirement for pre-existing IP however, in the absence of filed patent application(s) or invention disclosure, the investigator should provide a strong argument for how the proposed work will generate IP.  In all cases the investigator must file an invention disclosure with Brown Technology Innovations no fewer than 30 days in advance of any public disclosure so that it may be determined if it contains any new potentially patentable subject matter. Brown faculty investigators employed by Brown-affiliated hospital partners must file invention disclosures with the appropriate patent office at the affiliated hospital.
  2. Regulatory Approvals: BBII awards are made through an internal funding mechanism. If Human Subjects, Vertebrate Animals, or Biological Agents are used in the proposed research, the PI is responsible for securing IRB, IACUC and/or IBC approval(s), as applicable. The PI is also responsible for ensuring that Conflict of Interest reporting is completed in accordance with relevant institutional policies.
  3. Publications: BBII shall be cited in all publications that describe work funded by this mechanism. The PI must report any and all inventions to BBII and Brown Technology Innovations at least 30 days in advance of a publication or other public disclosure to allow for the determination of whether new and potentially patentable subject matter exists.
  4. Reporting requirements: Progress reports will be required at regular intervals through the funding period and a final report is due no later than 30 days from the end of the funding period.  


Please email or contact Karen Bulock, Managing Director of BBII (401) 863-5460 for further information about this program.