Commercialization Gap Fund GUIDE


Important Dates

Technology Disclosure DeadlineMay 17, 2024, 5:00 p.m.
Letters of Intent DeadlineJuly 19, 2024, 5:00 p.m.
Pre-proposal form dueSeptember 6, 2024, 5:00 p.m.
Internal Committee ReviewSeptember 16-27, 2024
Full Proposal InvitationsWeek of October 7, 2024
Full Proposals DueNovember 8 2024, 5:00 p.m.
PowerPoint Slides for Invited Pitches DuesNovember 8, 2024, 5:00 p.m.
Full Proposal Presentation and ReviewWeek of November 11, 2024
Award AnnouncementsWeek of December 2, 2024
Funded Projects BeginJanuary 1, 2025

STEP 1. Disclose your Invention

The technology under development must first be disclosed to the Office of Commercialization (OC) before Friday, May 17, 2024, with rights assigned to WSU. The disclosure should be made as early as possible so that the OC staff have time to fully understand the invention, evaluate the disclosure, determine any obligations of underlying funding, assess intellectual property (IP) rights and landscape, and evaluate possible commercial opportunities.

For more information on how to disclose your invention please visit our Inventor Portal.

STEP 2.  Contact your technology licensing manager

After disclosing your invention, let us know that your interested in competing in the CGF fund. Communicate with your Technology Manager to discuss your project and what you may need to accomplish to move it toward commercialization. Your Technology Manager can provide guidance throughout the CGF application process. The OC staff will communicate with you frequently to help gather concrete market information, assess the competition landscape and potential licensees, and conduct a patent landscape analysis. This team effort will lead to a strong, commercialization-focused proposal.

STEP 3. Submit your Letter of Intent

The Letter of Intent form will close at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, July 19, 2024.

Click here to submit your Letter of Intent (LOI) 

The LOI will consist of the following sections:

  • PI full name
    The designated PI must be affiliated with WSU for the duration of the funding cycle.
  • Descriptive title of your project in layman terms
  • OC Technology Manager’s name

STEP 4. Fill out the Pre-proposal form

Due: Friday, September 6, 2024, by 5:00 PM

The form consists of several key areas that help scope your project.

Pre-proposal form sections include:

  • Lean Canvas and Customer Discovery List
  • Measurable Milestones and Timeline for the Project
  • Budget Worksheet and Budget Justification
  • Funding Worksheet
  • Customer Feedback
A. Lean Canvas and Customer Discovery List

Please fill out the Lean Canvas concisely to outline your business model. In a few sentences, and in layman language, describe the problem you are trying to address through your innovation.

  • What are the end product results you are striving for?
  • How is the product unique?
  • What advantages does it contain compared to the current market offerings?
  • How might you out-compete other potential competitors?
  • Who is the customer? Please list the names, organizational affiliation, and specific feedback for the customers you contacted (minimum of three). Do you have a prototype or completed solution? Describe what stage the technology is at in its development.
  • What still needs to be done after this funding to get to license and to market?
  • Why is CGF funding necessary to advance this technology towards commercialization?
  • Describe the current intellectual property (IP) landscape. Are you aware of any potential conflicts with existing IP holdings?
  • Do you see this as a license given to an existing company or as a new WSU spin-out? Why?
  • If a spin-out, what specific role (if any) would you want to play with the new company? List the roles of anyone else participating in the new company.

Information on how to fill out a Lean Canvas can be obtained from here.

Additional information on how to create a Lean Canvas can be found in the following links:

Here’s an example of how to fill out a lean canvas

Additional examples

As part of the pre-proposal, applicants are required to identify at least three potential customers who will be contacted during the application period. Applicants are expected to collect feedback from these potential customers as a summary of the feedback will be required as part of the full proposal.

Identifying customers:

  •  Differentiate between “User” (those who use the product) vs. “Customer” (those who will pay for the technology)
  •  Identify the target audience
    • Target experienced users
    • Understand their role/functions
    • Know the company
  •  Use personal network, LinkedIn, social media networks and reach out to people across geographical boundaries.

Customer survey questions:

  • Gather validation that your solution does not already exist and that it would have a valued impact in the market place, but do not go into advertising your product.
  • Try to understand your target customer’s motivations and needs so you can craft your pitch accordingly.
  • Understand current business practices and/or processes to the problem you are addressing.
  • How is your solution a step up from existing solutions they might have in place?
  • How much time and money might they be willing to invest in a solution?
  • What do they like about the current solution/process?
  • What improvements are they looking for with the current process/technology they use?
  • Develop open-ended questions.

More information on market research is available here:

B. Measurable Milestones and Timeline for the Project

Commercialization includes meeting goals in a timely manner. Provide measurable milestones and their dates. If you are given a CGF award, a brief progress report documenting the successful completion of each funded milestone will be required before releasing the money for the subsequent milestone.

C. Budget Worksheet and Budget Justification

Applicants may request an award of up to $50,000. Award amounts may vary and/or be adjusted based on the number of projects funded and other budgetary considerations. No CGF award will exceed $50,000. The technology development or research budget is limited to $48,000 (to include a limit of $15,000 for wages and benefits). Prepare your budget accordingly. An additional $2,000 will be available for WSU related business development activities (e.g., marketing studies, reimbursement for regulatory consultation, customer contacts, and feedback). Please be sure to work with your Technology Manager to ensure your proposed business development activities are allowable expenses.

D. Funding Worksheet

Provide a comprehensive list of all previous and planned funding for this technology including: the funding source (e.g., NIH, NSF, DOE, DOD, USDA), the funding mechanism (e.g., RO1), the dates of funding (for proposed funding, estimate the date you expect to receive the funding), all previously funded milestones, and indicate whether each milestone was achieved. You may attach additional pages for the funding worksheet.

E.  Customer Feedback

There is an expectation that teams (e.g., the PI and other researchers, graduate students, interns, entrepreneurs, or industry partners) will make direct contact with at least three potential customers to submit with the pre-proposal documents. Names, organizational affiliation, and specific feedback are required in the pre-proposal. The team should work as a unit to get the greatest value from customer interactions.  See Step 6 below for more information.

Pre-proposals will be reviewed internally for compliance and alignment with the rules and goals of the CGF program. Any pre-proposal not conforming to the specific instructions on the form will be rejected and applicants will be required to wait until the next funding cycle to resubmit. Unless the pre-proposal fails to comply with the rules above, all projects will advance to the Internal Committee Review, STEP 5.

STEP 5. Internal Committee Review

The internal committee review will be conducted from September 16-27, 2024. Invitations to submit a full proposal will be sent via email during the week of October 7, 2024. Feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of submitted proposals will be made available upon request.

STEP 6. Obtain More Customer Feedback

There is an expectation that teams (e.g., the PI and other researchers, graduate students, interns, entrepreneur or industry partners) will make direct contact with at least 8-10 potential customers to be submitted at the time of the full proposal. Names, organizational affiliation, and specific feedback are required in the pre-proposal. In this step, the team should work as a unit to get the greatest value from customer interactions.

The customer feedback will be different for every project. We are looking for an understanding of the market potential surrounding your technology.

  • Who is the customer, purchaser, and end-user?
  • What are the current strategies in place for solving the problem? When talking to the customer, try not to start with introducing your technology/idea to them.
  • What accomplishments or milestones would motivate the customer to change from their current practice to adopting your technology?
  • What is the minimal viable product that might serve as a market entry point?

STEP 7. Submit your Full Proposal

Full Proposals are by invite only
Due: Friday, November 8, 2024, at 5:00 PM

Full proposal submissions include the following:

Note: the Full proposal submission also includes an executive summary.

  • Departmental Approval Form for each PI signed by the PI’s Dean and chair
    The designated PI must be affiliated with WSU for the duration of the funding cycle.
  • Executive Summary containing:
    • Overview
      • Give a clear and concise overview of what your innovation is and why the reviewers should be interested in learning more.
    • Problem and Solution
      • Describe the solution your innovation will deliver and the value it offers to customers. Don’t go overboard in describing the technology at the expense of adequately addressing the business opportunity.
    • Market
      • Describe the minimum viable product.
      • Describe the market you will target.
      • Summarize customer feedback, at least 8-10 potential customers for full proposal.
      • Who is the customer? Please list the ones you contacted in STEP 6 and their specific feedback.
    • Competition and Differentiation
      • Who/what are the competitors in the market?
      • What differentiates you from the rest of the companies competing against you for market share?
      • How is the market fragmented and who are the big players?
      • Traction
    • Intellectual Property
      • Describe the intellectual property landscape.
    • Regulatory and Reimbursement (if applicable)
      • Include a plan with a clear path to clinical approval and payment.
    • Management Team
      • Briefly list team members.
      • Why are they the best possible team to achieve the next value-added milestone?
      • Identify any key hires that could complete the team.
    • Technical Plan: With each milestone, include an argument for how it will add value.
      • Milestone 1 and associated activities
      • Milestone 2 and associated activities
      • Milestone 3 and associated activities
    • Needs/benefits of CGF support, including a plan to attract follow-up funding.

CGF full proposals will be accepted only from teams invited to submit a full proposal. CGF full proposals are due on Friday, November 8, 2024, by 5:00 p.m.

STEP 8. Present to Committee members and Review

The presentation will be the Week of November 11, 2024

A specific time will be assigned to each invited participant.  Come prepared to present with a maximum 10-minute pitch for your technology and its commercial opportunity to a panel of experts. Your presentation should follow the outline defined in the PowerPoint pitch template for preparing the presentation.

PowerPoint files must be emailed to no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 8, 2024.

The PowerPoint template can be downloaded here:


  • Slide 1: Introduction
  • Slide 2: Description of the Problem
  • Slide 3: Solution (benefits)
  • Slide 4: Traction
  • Slides 5-6: Market Size and Customers
  • Slide 7: Market Plan
  • Slide 8: Competition
  • Slide 9: Team

STEP 9. Award Distribution

January 2025

The OC staff in collaboration with the PI and departmental fiscal personnel will make the necessary arrangements prior to the disbursement of funds.

The Process