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Office for Innovation

Lab Bench to Commercialization (LB2C) Grant Program

The Eberly College of Science is committed to fostering technology development and bringing academic research to the marketplace.

The Lab Bench to Commercialization (LB2C) Grant Program provides competitive funds for researchers within the college.

  • The goal is to create and advance opportunities to commercialize research from the college.
  • The purpose is to provide financial support that will enable researchers to enhance the commercial potential of ongoing research projects.
  • The intent is to stimulate and foster the footprint of the college in the public sector via economic development, mediated by the transfer of technologies to the marketplace.

Researchers who apply for funds should be prepared to take the next steps in translating their intellectual property (IP), including formulating strategies for continued development and market commercialization (this may include third-party licensing or startups).

The LB2C Grant typically provides $25,000 to the principal investigator (PI).

Funds will be available starting September 1, 2023, and need to be expended by June 30, 2024.

Any unspent funds will return to the LB2C Grant Program unless an extension is approved.

During the funding period, the college’s technology liaison, Emily Kuhns, will assist grantees in critically evaluating their technology, help to find optimal market applications, and give feedback regarding plans for development and commercialization (including licensing to third parties).

Awardees will be required to work with the Penn State Office of Technology Management to protect any new IP, manage the protection of founding IP, and assist in licensing the IP to a third party (including an inventor startup).

For questions regarding the LB2C Grant Program, please contact Emily Kuhns.



Successful applications must demonstrate that funding will significantly impact development activities for existing IP and/or research that may be commercialized (see the proposal evaluation form). Subject inventions may include a tangible product, therapeutic, process/method, software program, or significant improvement of a current market product. All nonpublished data or IP not covered under a provisional patent, patent application, or issued patent will be considered confidential.

Applications must be single-spaced and include the following components:

  1. Title and project summary (one page, maximum)
    • Title of proposal
    • PI(s), including name(s) and title(s)
    • Participants, including name(s), title(s), and department(s)/unit(s)
    • Penn State invention disclosure number, provisional/patent number, and/or title of founding IP (if applicable)
    • Project abstract (250 words, maximum): summarize the technology and plans for commercialization, with space divided equally between research details and planned approach for future development and commercialization.
  2. Proposal narrative (three pages, maximum)
    • Background (one page, maximum): summarize the research progress to date, including a clear statement of the problem, the market opportunity the research is addressing, the value proposition compared to the competitors in the field, and a summary of the technology as it currently exists.
    • Technology development plan: outline the anticipated accomplishments for developing the technology, including projected milestones, potential hurdles, known market feedback (if any) and how it will be addressed, and a schedule of deliverables.
    • Commercialization plan: briefly describe the expected path to technology commercialization, including a description of final product and target market, patent strategies and expected IP protection, plans for overcoming applicable government regulations, and expected third-party licensees or investors.
  3. References (no page limit)


  4. Budget (one page, maximum)
    • Provide an outline of how you would spend $25,000; if additional funds may be needed, please outline the amount, the timeline, and why these additional funds would be needed.
    • Describe how the funding will be spent to enable technology development and commercialization. Up to 50 percent of funds may be used toward partial support of research staff (postdoc, technician, or graduate student). The remaining funds may go toward purchasing equipment or supplies and/or acquiring third-party research services. Budget information can be submitted as text/table (no need to involve the college’s grants office).

    Note: Using grant funds as supplemental salary will not be permitted. The PI of the proposal must be an Eberly College of Science faculty member. If funding is used for a graduate student stipend or tuition, the student must be in the Eberly College of Science; or if the student is in an intercollege graduate degree program, they must be mentored by an Eberly College of Science faculty member. Grant funds may not be used to license Penn State IP.



Proposals will be evaluated through a combination of review on scientific merit and potential for commercialization (see the proposal evaluation form). Those reviewing the application will seek the consultation both of individuals with expertise in the relevant academic field of study and of individuals well-versed in technology transfer and commercialization; this may include internal University faculty, staff, or entrepreneurs in residence, as well as external third parties. Confidential information will not be disclosed to nonpermitted third parties.


Deadlines and Funding Dates

Proposals will be reviewed yearly. Unsuccessful proposals may be resubmitted, with revision, for the subsequent funding cycle. Technologies that are subjects of proposals previously funded by the LB2C Grant Program are not eligible for resubmission.

The 2023–2024 funding cycle will run from September 1, 2023, through June 30, 2024. Proposals are due July 31, 2023, with award notices being made as soon as possible thereafter. Proposals must be submitted in a single PDF file, via email, to Emily Kuhns, with “Submission: LB2C Grant,” followed by the PI name, in the subject line.



Grant awardees are expected to meet with and provide a less-than-30-minute presentation to the Eberly College of Science Office for Innovation sometime around November 2023 and again in May 2024. A written final report is required and will be due to the associate dean for research and innovation by June 30, 2024.

All meetings and final reports should summarize progress toward commercialization, advancement of the deliverables, any recent IP activities, and the status of any third-party partnerships.

For additional details regarding the 2023–2024 LB2C Grant Program requirements, please contact Emily Kuhns.

Past Recipients of the LB2C Grant

  • Marco Archetti (BIO) & John Liechty (Smeal): With contributions from the Smeal College of Business, Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and Eberly College of Science, their project will focus on advancing their COVID-19 antiviral biotechnology through critical pre-clinical studies.  
  • Ken Keiler (BMB): His project will use structure-aided design to generate improved compounds that target a ribosome rescue pathway and will result in a lead optimization campaign for a novel gram-negative antibiotic. Fund contributions came from both the Eberly College of Science and the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.
  • Xiaojun (Lance) Lian (BIO): His project will focus on reprogramming in vivo neutrophils into CAR-Neutrophils using exosome-mediated modRNA vectors to effectively reduce tumor growth and increase survival rates in mice with glioblastoma. Fund contributions came from Eberly College of Science. 
  • Sally Mackenzie (BIO) : Her project will focus on the use of a cloud-based methylome analysis platform to support an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) early diagnostic assay and various deliverables that will bridge the gap to venture capital investments. Fund contributions came from both the Eberly College of Science and Smeal College of Business.
  • Ken Keiler (BMB): His project will focus on developing an anticancer therapeutic targeting a mitochondrial ribosome rescue pathway.  
  • Scott Selleck (BMB): His project will focus on neurological degeneration prevention by inhibition of the heparin sulfate modifying enzyme, NDST1. 
  • Joyce Jose (BMMB) and colleagues: Her project will focus on developing a rapid, cost-effective, and adaptable assay for screening antiviral drug candidates.
  • Sally Mackenzie (BIO) and colleagues: Her project will focus on establishing a technology proof of concept for increasing crop plants’ yield by altering their epigenetics.
  • Lauren Zarzar (CHEM) and colleagues: Developing a method for producing new kinds of color-shifting materials based on a recently discovered optical effect that uses reflective structures at the microscale to generate iridescent structural color. Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Ganesh Anand (CHEM) and colleagues: Investigating vulnerabilities on a virus that could be tapped to design targeted antibodies for use in antiviral therapies.
  • Joseph Cotruvo (CHEM) and colleagues: Developed a method for using a biological protein to detect and selectively capture rare earth elements (lanthanides) for industrial use. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Paul Cremer (CHEM) and colleagues: Developed a method utilizing temperature gradients to assess protein phase behavior, which enables high-throughput testing and accurate predictions of colloidal stability for therapeutic protein formulations. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Kenneth Keiler (BMB), John Alumasa (BMB), Sarah Ades (BMB), and colleagues: Developed novel antibiotic compounds by exploring inhibitors of a new transcription factor target.
  • Benjamin Lear (CHEM) and colleagues: Developed a method to use thermally cured thermoset compounds (e.g., silicone, rubbers, epoxies) in additive manufacturing. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator and research video.
  • Xin Zhang (CHEM) and colleagues: Developed novel fluorescent protein tags to facilitate the detection of misfolded proteins and insoluble protein aggregates. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • John Asbury (CHEM) and colleagues: Developed a novel type of transient absorption spectrometer that produces a higher signal-to-noise ratio, is easier to operate, requires less physical space, and can be manufactured/sold at a lower price point compared to current state-of-the-art spectrometers. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • James Marden (BIOL), Scott Medina (BME), and colleagues: Developed novel recombinant lectins from environmental sources for cancer diagnosis and therapy. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Yu Zhang (STAT) and colleagues: Created a software computational tool that uses functional maps of the human genome to predict disease-specific cell types and genes underlying disease association. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator and research video.
  • Susan Hafenstein (BMB) and Scott Lindner (BMB): developed versatile display scaffolds for CryoEM approaches. Invent Penn State IP Navigator
  • Suvrath Mahadevan (ASTRO) and colleagues: Developed a ball lens microscope for external use with a cell phone.
  • Sarah Assmann (BIOL), Philip Bevilacqua (CHEM), and colleagues: Developed a kit to determine the 3D structure of RNAs inside the cell. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Frank Pugh (BMB) and colleagues: Optimized a technology that characterizes epigenetic modifications on a genome-wide scale. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Mauricio Terrones (CHEM/PHYS), Siyang Zheng (BME), and colleagues: Developed a diagnostic device that uses a specially tuned carbon nanotube filter to capture and enrich viruses. Find out more from the research video.
  • Yanming Wang (BMB), Gong Chen (BIOL), and colleagues: Characterized a potential pharmaceutical therapeutic that allows the body to naturally fight cancer cell growth and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
  • Greg Ferry (BMB), Thomas Wood (CHE), Costas Marana (CHE), and colleagues: Refined a biological process by which methane could be cleanly converted to several products including a precursor to plastic or clean fuel.
  • Scott Phillips (CHEM) and colleagues: Developed an inexpensive, easy to use, microfluidic device composed of paper useful for diagnosing a wide variety of contaminants, such as detecting lead in water or pesticides on fruit.
  • Mauricio Terrones (CHEM/PHYS) and colleagues: Developed a thin graphene film that can be woven into fabrics or chemically altered to provide a wide range of properties. Find out more from the Invent Penn State IP Navigator.
  • Stephen Benkovic (CHEM), James Marden (BIOL), and colleagues: Developed a screen for new boron compounds displaying anti-fungal activity useful in agriculture and environmental settings.