Research can often lead to discoveries or inventions, which can potentially improve or create a new process, device, method, composition of materials, or other useful entities. One way to commercialize an invention is for the inventor to create a startup company, and continue to develop the invention into a product that can be sold to interested customers.

In recent years the startup business model has been the way most new companies are established. At the same time, with growing number of startup companies, the competition for new ventures is fierce and usually not financed in the early stages of development. Many new startups tend to begin at one’s home or with very low expenses and overhead costs.

The main goal of a new company is to provide a product, service or a process that offers a solution to an existing problem. It also has to identify its target customers and its potential for growth and expansion. The specific problem addressed does not have to be fundamental or extremely important, but it has to provide a significant improvement or convenience to the customers.

The Research Office seeks to encourage CUNY faculty who wish to launch a startup company. To this end, support will be provided through internal funding for one course release per semester, up to one year, for several faculty members who will work at the CUNY Hub for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iHub) to formulate and finalize their startup plan, and subsequently establish a startup company to be housed at the iHub. The CUNY iHub will also offer several entrepreneurship seminars, workshops and/or training sessions to assist the faculty inventors.


  • Only tenure-track or tenured faculty at CUNY are eligible to apply. Faculty can apply individually or in collaboration with other faculty members.
  • Applicants have submitted or intend to submit an invention disclosure form to the CUNY Technology Commercialization Office (TCO).
  • Proposals have to present the purpose for the startup company. What is the problem that it intends to solve? What is the product or service you want to develop, and what is the potential market for this product. Indicate your own experience and familiarity with your idea, and whether you have conducted any studies or research that sparked your interest in creating a startup company.
  • All awardees must be committed to work at the CUNY iHub, for at least one day per week during the period of their award, on developing their startup company and subsequently housing it in the iHub.

How Will Proposals Be Evaluated?

A peer review panel composed of staff experts from within CUNY will evaluate all eligible proposals.

Awards for this program should be viewed as initial support for a project that will be developed into a SBRI proposal or a startup company. Proposals will be evaluated in part on the basis of the likelihood that the work will continue towards the stated objective.

Proposals will be evaluated on the basis of three criteria:

  1. Creativity and innovation of the proposed device/service
  2. Technical quality and feasibility
  3. Potential for growth and expansion

To obtain more information about the CUNY iHUB, please visit: and contact Dr. Zeev Dagan, Executive Director:

Submission Guidelines

The proposal should include the following:

Proposal Summary. Two hundred words maximum. Please include the project title and the names and affiliation of the PI and co-PI(s).

Narrative Description of the project.

  • The project narrative is a maximum of 3 pages single-spaced exclusive of references and citation, with one-inch border and 12-point type.
  • Applicants should clearly describe the type of product or service their new company wants to develop. Indicate the advantages of the new idea in comparison with other or similar existing products if available.
  • Identify the potential customers for the product/service and a marketing approach.
  • Identify your potential competitors, and describe the technical competencies needed to advance this project.
  • Describe whether your idea requires intellectual property protection (either patent, trademark, or copyright), and will it involve industries which are regulated and require review and approval by State and/or Federal agencies.

Biographical Sketch. Each participating faculty member must submit a 2-4 page biographical sketch (NSF or NIH style).

Proposed time frame of your project. Present your work schedule at the iHub, with specific progress milestones for up to one year. Present a preliminary estimate for the type of initial investment needed to develop your product/service (1 page max).