Guidelines & Application
Please note: the applications submission period for 2024 will be announced in spring 2024.
The HIT Fund awards are for Stanford University innovators whose work has progressed towards developing solutions for specific commercial applications. The awards are intended to provide the seed funding for de-risking critical activities that enable technology transfer or securing additional funding from industry or venture capital.
Funding must be for projects undertaken at Stanford University. The project must have a clearly identifiable innovation component. Proposals must include a Stanford faculty PI or sponsor. This is a competitive selection process and only the top-ranked proposals will be awarded.
- Current Stanford students, postdoc, faculty or staff members
- Open to any Stanford school or institute
- Each proposal must have at least one faculty member as a principal investigator
- The intellectual property must have been disclosed to Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) (See: Submit an Invention)
Examples of activities eligible for funding include, but are not limited to:
- Prototype design & fabrication
- Contract manufacturing for scale-up & delivery of samples
- Customer & market research activities - needs discovery, go-to-market approaches, key partnerships
- Consultants – for technical guidance, market research, regulatory process
- Development of strategies for strengthening the technology's intellectual property portfolio
- Student and Postdoc salary and stipends
Milestone-based funding up to $250k, typically for up to 12 months. The award amount will be based on the maturity of the project, a detailed budget, and clearly defined critical goals and deliverables.
Advisory support may include:
- Introductions to industry experts, potential customers, potential partners, and potential investors
- Access to MBA interns to help with business planning, customer needs discovery, go-to-market strategies, and creating pitch decks
- IP strategy and patent mapping
- Guidance on Stanford and external entrepreneurship programs and resources
Award Tracks: Application Options
Track 1 — Advisory Support Only (no funding request)
- Guidance, connections, and access to an MBA intern
Tip for applying: Indicate on your application which advisory resources you are requesting
Track 2 — Funding & Advisory Support
- Monetary funding plus advisory support
Tip for applying: Indicate on your application if you'd like to be considered for a Track 1 advisory-only award if your monetary request is not granted
Evaluation Criteria for HIT Fund Awards
A committee selected from the HIT Fund staff, external advisors, and affiliates provides input in the evaluation of all applications.
The objective of the HIT Fund is to advance technologies to the point where additional external funding and/or technology transfer is achieved. The following evaluation criteria will be considered during the review process:
- Technology/solution has the potential to scale and have a societal or economic impact. If unknown, the proposed Statement of Work includes a needs-discovery or product-market fit activity as an early milestone.
- Demonstrated interest from potential industry partners or customers. If interest has not been established, the proposed Statement of Work includes a discovery activity as an early milestone.
- Competitive advantage over solutions that are currently available or in development. If unknown, the proposed Statement of Work includes a competitive analysis activity as an early milestone.
- A demo, prototype, and/or pilot program exists or development is included in the proposed Statement of Work, without which the technology/solution is unlikely to garner interest for technology transfer.
- Likelihood of success of the proposed technical innovation and project milestones within the budget and award timeframe.
- HIT Fund expertise and resources are appropriate in addressing the current challenges to commercialization and will meaningfully advance the technology/solution along the commercialization path.