Funding Opportunities


Finding the funding to develop a research opportunity through proof-of-concept and beyond is increasingly challenging. The barriers to entry for investors are set higher every year.

To help investigators bridge this funding gap, ITA compiles a range of relevant funding opportunities for researchers, from traditional government sources to non-traditional sources, such as crowdsourcing and disease foundations.

We encourage you to visit the following websites to determine the specific criteria required to qualify for funding. Contact your ITA Professional with any questions you may have.

Basic and Translational Research

UCSF Center for Clinical and Translational Science Catalyst Awards +

Awards up to $100,000 for direct costs for diagnostics, therapeutics, devices and digital health projects. Previously funded programs are acceptable, the key is the desire to commercialize. There are two award cycles a year. Successful applicants negotiate through three distinct stages to receive critical feedback, expert consulting and funding for their projects.


UCSF researchers can check out the "Crowdfunding for Science" Chatter group for more information and updates on new crowdfunding opportunities (MyAccess login required to view the Chatter group page). 

Current crowdfunding sources include indiegogo and

For Entrepreneurs

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program  +

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program is a federal government program that provides grants for domestic small businesses to engage in Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) that has the potential for commercialization.

Similarly, the federal government’s Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) program allocates a percentage of the qualified federal agency's budget for domestic small business concerns to engage in R/R&D that has the potential for commercialization. To date, the SBIR has awarded over $12 billion to various small businesses.

The SBIR and STTR programs are similar in that both programs seek to increase the participation of small businesses in federal R&D and to increase private sector commercialization of federal R&D. However, the two programs differ in a few substantial ways:

Under the SBIR program, the Principal Investigator must have his or her primary employment with the small business concern at the time of the award and for the duration of the project.

Under the STTR program, primary employment at the small business concern is unnecessary.

The STTR program requires research partners at universities to have a formal collaborative relationship with the small business concern.

For more detailed information, refer to the SBIR/STTR website.

ITA aids UCSF investigators interested in applying by providing a “Letter of Intent” or “Certifications of Research Institution” to help businesses secure funding. Once a grant is awarded, ITA will work with you and your business to structure the sub-contract award with UCSF.

NCI Phase II Bridge Award  +

This grant is designed to support the next stage of development for previously funded NIH-wide SBIR Phase II projects in the areas of cancer therapeutics, imaging technologies, interventional devices, diagnostics and prognostics. The purpose of this award is to address the funding gap known as the "Valley of Death" between the end of the SBIR Phase II award and the subsequent round of financing needed to advance a product or service toward commercialization.

Mission Bay Capital  +

This is an independent venture firm focused on making pivotal, early-stage investments in bioscience companies emerging from the University of California. The current fund has a three-fold goal: to kick-start 15 companies with an average of $500,000 in seed funding, bring public attention to the caliber of UC science, and attract the attention of other venture capital firms to participate in this process.

Life Science Angels  +

LSA is a leading angel group in the Bay Area that invests in biotechnology and medical device companies. Since 2005, LSA has invested approx. $32,000,000 in 40 companies which have received an additional $600+million follow-on funding from VCs. Typical investments range from $250,000 to $750,000, with syndicated financings reaching $3 to $5 million.

Sand Hill Angels  +

This group of successful technology executives invests in private companies at all stages and favors investments in the Internet, Information Technology, and Life Sciences, specifically devices and diagnostics. Investments range from $100,000 to $500,000. Sand Hill Angels often syndicates with traditional venture investors and other organized angel groups.

AngelList  +

AngelList is a platform for s, a community of angel investors who share deal flow with each other. Companies have raised $1.1 billion through the platform. There are specific lists for healthcare and healthcare IT companies.

RockHealth  +

This Healthcare IT incubator is making available to startups accepted into its program a $100,000 investment. Startups also receive $30,000 in goods and services, office space at Rock Health's San Francisco headquarters or at its location at Harvard Medical School, and operational support.

Breakout Labs | Thiel Foundation  +

A project of the Thiel Foundation, is a revolutionary revolving non-profit funding model that supports early-stage companies in the pursuit of their most radical scientific and technological visions. Breakout Labs provides up to $350,000 in funds to help early-stage companies achieve a defined set of milestones that will catapult them into the next phase of their development. 

YCombinator  +

More appropriate for digital health than other life science sectors, YCombinator is a prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator. It invests a small amount of money (average $18,000) in a large number of startups (currently 82). They work intensively with their companies to refine their pitch to investors and end the cycle with a Demo Day.