Funding Startups

The VPRI Innovation Fund provides grants of $25,000 to $75,000 to qualifying UO faculty and staff members to cover the direct costs of translational research projects. Translational research involves transforming fundamental research or early stage innovations into more commercially viable products and services or even a new business.

Applications for the VPRI Innovation Fund Program are open on a rolling basis to all faculty researchers with a disclosed innovation. The first step in the application process is to share the basic details of your innovation with Innovation Partnership Services (IPS). You can do this by proposing to work on a previously disclosed innovation to IPS or by disclosing a new innovation online via our Innovation PortalLearn more here.

The VPRI Professional Services for Inventors provides grants of up to $5,000 to cover costs associated with professional services needed to successfully launch a new invention-based company, such as grant writers for SBIR submissions, web development, pitch coaching, legal counsel, accounting advice, or business intelligence research.


Business Oregon offers an SBIR support program for Oregon entrepreneurs. From the Business Oregon site: "Business Oregon encourages small businesses in the state to access this non-dilutive, but very competitive, funding and seeks to provide businesses with advantages in accessing it. To achieve that goal, the agency has three types of grants to assist companies: Matching Grants, Phase 0 Grants, and Phase 00 Grants."


S B I R S T T R Logo

Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (SBIR and STTR)  funds are government grants provided in support of small business research. We strongly encourage faculty and staff to consult with university offices prior to preparing and submitting an SBIR/STTR application (particularly if this is your first).  If you are embarking on that exciting journey of forming a new company, make sure you have picked up your conflict of commitment/conflict of interest approval first from the UO Conflict of Committment officer. A few things to remember about SBIR and STTR: 

  • UO services and resources normally available to UO staff and faculty are not available to the business receiving the SBIR/STTR award unless prior arrangements are made with the appropriate UO institutional officials
  • If the project involves Human Subjects or Animal Research, the business will need its own Federalwide Assurance (FWA) prior to receiving the funds, and cannot presume reliance upon the University's Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)
  • While UO staff and faculty are not allowed to use their UO time and resources -- including staff and students -- to develop and submit the STTR/SBIR application, Innovation Partnership Services (IPS) can help you identify state and other regional help to get your proposal to the finish line.
  • Once your company is awarded a SBIR/STTR grant, UO employees cannot engage in the sponsored activities as an agent of the UO and the sponsored business, unless these activities are established through a subaward or other agreement, and approved by UO.
  • There are limitations based on the phase of your project and differences between federal agencies, so consulting with the office of research is well worth your time.
  • Investigators are strongly encouraged to consult with their own department/center director as well as Innovation Partnership Services, Academic AffairsHuman Resources, Sponsored Project Services, Research Compliance Services, and any other University units typically involved in the particular type of research activities to be funded.
  • For more details see the NIH's SBIR FAQs and the SBIR/STTR (R&R) Application Guide. If you have any questions about how this may apply to your project, please contact Innovation Partnership Services early in the grant application process.

To learn more about the application process, support programs, and current funding opportunities, visit the SBIR/STTR support center.

For more resources, go to to view webinars about the startup process. Webinars are free for UO personnel.

solicitation calendar

Graphic provided courtesy of VertueLab