HIT Fund FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions about the HIT Fund
What is the High Impact Technology (HIT) Fund?
The High Impact Technology (HIT) Fund is a program that aims to accelerate the commercialization of Stanford-based innovations. It provides seed funding along with strategic and advisory support to faculty, students, postdocs, and staff to help transform innovative, advantaged, and scalable Stanford technologies into new products, services, or companies.
What is the purpose of the HIT Fund?
The HIT Fund has two main purposes:
- Accelerate Impact: It helps accelerate the transition of technologies with the potential to have a societal or economic impact on the world’s most pressing problems, by addressing the critical technical and market risks.
- Advance Education: It enables access to industry-specific advisors and domain experts, friendly VCs, patent attorneys, and MBA Interns, and provides guidance helping to enhance the team's practical, entrepreneurial, and commercialization education.
The objective of the Fund is to advance technologies to the point where additional external funding and/or technology transfer is achieved.
Who is eligible to apply?
This opportunity is open to current Stanford faculty, students, postdocs, and staff, in any Stanford school, institute, center, and department.
I’m not a faculty member. Can I apply?
Yes, you do not need to be a faculty member to apply. Stanford students, postdocs, and staff can also apply. However, each proposal must include at least one faculty member as a principal investigator (PI). The PI can be an active participant on the team or act as a sponsor.
Do I need to be in a particular school at Stanford to apply?
The HIT Fund is open to all Stanford schools, institutes, centers, and departments. Those outside of the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine are encouraged to apply.
Will you fund primary research?
No. The HIT Fund awards are for innovators whose work has progressed towards developing solutions for scalable end use applications.
There are many possible applications for my technology and I don’t know which one to pursue. Can I apply?
Yes, if your technology has advanced beyond the primary research stage. Awards can be used to explore alternative applications and markets. If you don’t already have a demo, prototype, and/or a pilot program in place, it’s recommended that you include a milestone in your proposal for the development of one.
I have a great business idea, but don’t have any associated technology. Can I apply for the HIT Fund?
All applications for the HIT Fund are required to have intellectual property that has been disclosed to the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL).
My technology is innovative, but I haven’t disclosed it yet to OTL. Can I still apply for the HIT Fund?
If you disclose the technology to OTL prior to the application deadline of July 15, 2023, we will consider your proposal. You can learn more about submitting an invention to OTL on the Submit an Invention page.
My technology has the potential to have more of a societal impact than an economic impact. Can I still apply for the HIT Fund?
Yes. Projects to deliver innovative technology and solutions with the potential to have a societal impact are encouraged.
I’m interested only in the HIT Fund’s non-monetary support, to make industry connections and for help with business planning, customer discovery, and go-to-market strategy. Should I apply?
Yes. Applications that are solely for advisory support and do not include a financial request are also encouraged. In your application, indicate that you are applying for a Track 1 award.
Is the HIT Fund only for those who want to form a start-up?
The objective is to help advance technologies to the point where additional external funding or technology transfer, to an existing organization or to an inventor-led start-up, is achieved.
My technology has already been licensed to an external organization. Can I still apply for the HIT Fund?
It depends on the specifics of the license. Please contact the HIT Fund team (HITfund2023@stanford.edu) to arrange a time to discuss your situation.
I’ve already launched a start-up based on my technology. Will the HIT Fund provide funding to my start-up?
No. Funding is only for projects undertaken on behalf of Stanford. If you have questions, contact the HIT Fund team (HITfund2023@stanford.edu) to arrange a time to discuss your situation.
Can funding be used for faculty salary?
No. Funding can be used for student, postdoc, and staff salary if necessary for achieving the project milestones.
What do you mean by “milestone-based funding”?
Proposals should include a set of milestones for achieving the proposed outcome of the project, each with a proposed budget. Award funding is released in tranches, as the objectives for each associated milestone is achieved.
What milestones should I include in my application?
The selection committee will assess the proposed milestones to determine if they are addressing the critical activies to get external funding. While there may be many activities that will help move your project along, the proposed milestones should be focused exclusively on resolving those issues that must be addressed for the technology to be attractive to external funders, such as prospective partners and licensees or venture capital if a start-up is planned.
Do you recommend applying for the maximum award amount of $250,000?
We expect to fund only one project at the $250,000 level, so the competition will likely be significant. The large majority of funded projects will be between $50,000 to $150,000.
How do I apply for the HIT Fund?
Please note: the applications submission period for 2023 awards is now closed and we are no longer accepting submissions. All applications received before the July 15, 2023 deadline are now being reviewed. Thank you!
What are the key dates for the HIT Fund application process?
- Call for applications opens: Thursday, June 1, 2023
- Deadline to submit an application: The deadline to submit was Saturday, July 15, 2023. Application submissions for 2023 are no longer being accepted.
- If you submitted your application prior to the July 15, 2023 deadline and have additional questions, please reach out to the HIT Fund team via email: HITfund2023@stanford.edu
- Finalists selected: September 5, 2023
- Finalist pitches (in person): Tuesday, September 19 and Thursday, September 21, 2023
- Awards announced: September 29, 2023
- Funding begins: October 2, 2023
How can I learn more about applying to the HIT Fund?
You can learn more on the HIT Fund website. If you have additional questions, please register for an upcoming Q&A session, where you’ll have the opportunity to talk with the HIT Fund team:
No upcoming Q&A sessions as 2023 application submissions are no longer being accepted.
If you submitted your application prior to the July 15, 2023 deadline and have additional questions, please reach out to the HIT Fund team via email: HITfund2023@stanford.edu
I’m an MBA student at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. How can I get involved?
The HIT Fund MBA Intern Program offers paid internships for Stanford Graduate School of Business students with experience in the physical sciences or the life sciences. You can learn more and apply on the MBA Intern Program page.