Innovation Catalyst Fund

CFRC 2023-2025 Frequently Asked Questions Several sample applications to guide your submission Innovation Catalyst Fund Awardees


The portal for the next cycle of proposal submissions will be open on October 1st, and proposals will be due by October 31st. Apply here:


Vanderbilt's Innovation Catalyst Fund: Igniting Innovation for Success

Ignite your innovative potential through the Vanderbilt Innovation Catalyst Fund.  The Innovation Catalyst Fund provides translational research for Vanderbilt innovations that require proof of concept to attain commercial relevance, nascent projects that have strong innovation potential, and research projects with civic and social relevance.  The program is run by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Innovation in consultation with Division of Finance, VUMC Office of Research, and academic leadership in Vanderbilt schools and colleges, with management provided through the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization.   


Key Features

Through this fund, Vanderbilt is supporting the advancement of basic research programs with commercial potential toward productization through support for a variety of translational and commercially-oriented development efforts. This program is intended to provide:

  • Expert Evaluation – peer-reviewed assessment by a committee of Vanderbilt faculty
  • Accelerated Decision-Making – prompt feedback and timely decision
  • Focused Translational Research – commercial potential and social impact prioritized
  • Tranche-Based Funding – project funds distributed based on milestone completion


Use of Funds

The Innovation Catalyst Fund project selection will be ‘outcomes oriented’ and based on clear project endpoints that achieve a commercial goal with translational research. Examples of uses for funds in this program include:

  • Prototype development and testing
  • Proof of concept validation and data generation
  • Conceptualization and design
  • Software development
  • Process improvement
  • New organization capability
  • Program improvement
  • Campaign or event

Unallowable uses generally include:

  • Services provided by innovation players on campus (e.g., Brock Center, CTTC, Wond’ry)
  • Book subventions
  • Faculty salaries
  • Tuition or financial aid support for students
  • Research supported by other internal funding programs, including Scaling Success, Seeding Success, and RAMP programs


Innovation Focus Areas

All full-time faculty employed by either Vanderbilt University or VUMC are eligible to apply across all disciplines from Arts & Humanities, Engineering & Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, and Bioscience & Healthcare. Part-time faculty, students, or staff are not eligible.

Town Hall

The Innovation Catalyst Fund Town Hall was held via Zoom on Monday, Sept. 18, 2023. The town hall gave an overview of the fund followed by a Q&A session at the end.

Click here to view the recording:  Innovation Catalyst Fund Town Hall - Sept 18 2023

Get Started Today!

  1. Submit your proposal through our user-friendly portal found on InfoReady (
  2. Benefit from expert evaluation, guidance and rapid decision-making
  3. Transform your ideas into impactful solutions

Begin the journey of transforming your ideas into market-ready solutions that make an impact - ignite your innovation with Vanderbilt's Innovation Catalyst Fund. Questions about this opportunity may be directed to