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By Aaron Hale

The Office of Research is now accepting applications for the university’s new Innovation Fellows Program. This program is designed to support faculty who want to engage in commercialization and product development, with an eye toward fine-tuning their research programs to align with industry and market needs. 

Faculty of all ranks are encouraged to apply.

President Jere W. Morehead announced the Innovation Fellows Program during the State of the University address, delivered in January. It is part of a multi-pronged effort to fuel greater innovation on campus.

“This new program is responding to a vibrant and growing culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the faculty at the University of Georgia,” said Morehead. “I am excited to see this initiative launch and take shape in the months and years ahead.”

Each semester, one to three faculty will be named Innovation Fellows. Fellows will receive up to $10,000 in funding to support customer discovery, make connections with potential industry partners and learn from successful entrepreneurs and investors. 

The fellowship begins with a weeklong immersion in UGA’s innovation-oriented curriculum from programs like NSF I-Corps followed by another week of activity planning and matching with mentors. The remainder of the semester will require a weekly commitment of about eight hours to keep moving the Fellows’ potentially commercially viable ideas forward. 

At the end of the program, Fellows will have a deeper understanding of industry needs as well as the tools to better assess how those needs align with their particular research interests. They also will be strongly connected to the university’s growing innovation ecosystem, including the new Innovation District initiative. 

“In addition to gaining new insight into how their research program aligns with industry needs, we hope these Fellows will serve as beacons for innovation within their home departments, informing and inspiring fellow faculty to connect with the Innovation District  initiative and to find new ways to make their research available to the wider world,” said Derek Eberhart, associate vice president for research and executive director of Innovation Gateway.

Applications for the fall 2019 Innovation Fellows Program are due May 20, and instructions can be found athttp://startups.uga.edu/Innovation_Fellows/. Appointments will be announced the week of June 3.