Apply now for Bear Cub grants

Washington University in St. Louis is known for its innovation-rich environment, but moving research from the laboratory to the marketplace can be challenging, even for the most accomplished scientists.

The university’s Bear Cub grant program makes that leap less daunting. The Bear Cub Fund supports promising translational research not normally backed by federal grants. This type of research is needed to help investigators demonstrate the commercial potential of their technologies.

University faculty, staff and students can apply for a Bear Cub grant. The grants are distributed annually by the Office of Technology Management through a competitive application process. To be eligible, applicants must have filed with OTM an invention disclosure for their technology. Individual grants range from $20,000 to $75,000, and research selected for funding must be completed within one year.

The application process involves several stages. Initially, researchers submit a short, one-page application and give a two-minute oral “pitch” about the technology. The Bear Cub application is due Nov. 30, and applicants can attend a training session Dec. 16 at the Farrell Learning and Teaching Center on the Medical Campus to learn how to craft a pitch.

Applicants will pitch their ideas at a competition in early January. Up to eight winners each will receive $1,000 to go toward a full Bear Cub proposal that’s due in February.

A key component of drafting a full proposal will be working with a business mentor provided by St. Louis-area organizations that foster entrepreneurship, including BioSTL, BioGenerator and InnovateVMS. These groups also will play an active role in the Bear Cub selection process.

“Over the years, the Bear Cub program has led to the creation of startup companies in the St. Louis region and beyond, highlighting the many ways in which Washington University is an engine of economic development,” said Bradley Castanho, PhD, who heads the university’s Office of Technology Management. “The benefits of commercializing new technologies are far-reaching, extending beyond the university to touch the lives of people worldwide.”

More information about the Bear Cub Fund and the application process is available here. For specific questions, please contact Jon Kratochvil, in the Office of Technology Managment, at (314) 747-0923 or by email,