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Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR) Grant: FY 2017-18

Managed by Venture Catalyst and funded by the UC Davis Office of Research, the Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR[1]) Grant program provides funding to UC Davis researchers to support translational science and innovative research, enabling demonstration of early proof-of-concept and commercial potential or feasibility for technologies being developed with the intent of commercial translation.  Key features provided by the STAIR program are 1) feedback to all applicants and 2) an active mentoring component by industry professionals for finalists and awardees.  View the 2017-18 STAIR-DIAL Grant Executive Summary for a description of the program and the selection process.

In its first four years, the STAIR Grant program awarded a total of over $890,000 to 19 awardees (see list of previous winners here).  Now in its fifth year, the program has gone through the proposal and review stage, and awardees have been selected.  Applicants were notified of the results on June 11, 2018.

The 2017-18 STAIR Grant award recipients are:

  • Anne Britt, Professor, Plant Biology, College of Biological Sciences:  A novel method for rapid and efficient genome editing in tomato (funding provided by TechAccel; see below)
  • Robert Fairclough, Emeritus Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Novel antigen-specific myasthenia gravis (MG) therapeutic biologics
  • Soheil Ghiasi, Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering:  Restoring the sense of bladder fullness for individuals living with spinal cord injury
  • Chen Gilor, Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine & Epidemiology, School of Veterinary Medicine:  Oral delivery of insulin encapsulated in synthetic HepE nanoparticle
  • Dennis Hartigan-O’Connor, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine:  Viral IL-10 deleted RhCMV vectors for cancer immunotherapy
  • Yoshikazu Takada, Professor, Department of Dermatology, School of Medicine:  Development of antagonistic CD40L mutants as therapeutics for chronic inflammation

The 2017-18 STAIR Grant Program began accepting applications on January 24, 2018.  STAIR Grant proposals were due by March 12, 2018.  A total of 29 STAIR Grant applications were received, all of which met eligibility requirements.  Following a rigorous review process involving external industry reviewers (investors, company professionals and entrepreneurs) and internal domain experts, 15 of the STAIR proposals were selected as finalists during the initial review process.  Of these 15, after further in-person reviewer deliberation, evaluation and ranking, 6 were selected for award based on their potential for future high impact discoveries and innovation, as judged by their technical merit, commercial potential, and alignment of budget and milestones with translational enablement.  A total of $300,000 was allocated to the STAIR Grant program ($250,000 from Office of Research and $50,000 from TechAccel, a funding partner focused on investments in agriculture and animal health), with maximum allowable funding of $50,000 per successful STAIR grant recipient.

STAIR Grant Program materials for 2017-18, including the STAIR Grant RFP, Application Form, and information session materials, can be accessed at the Program Materials page.

Venture Catalyst has entered into agreements with several partners to expand potential funding available to particular technologies through the STAIR and DIAL Grant programs.  Partners include Technology Acceleration Partners (TechAccel, LLC–focused on agriculture and animal health); Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV–focused on breakthroughs in energy technology); MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca; UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health (IIFH–focused on enabling safe, sustainable, and secure nutrition for all; see the IIFH support for STAIR Grant announcement here); and UC Davis College of Biological Sciences (providing additional funding to CBS researchers receiving a STAIR Grant award).  More details about the partners and the specific technology areas can be found here.

Go to DIAL Grant Program

[1] STAIR is a trademark of The Regents of the University of California.