2024 Applications open until April 1, 2024!

Tomorrow’s Health Care Today

Venture Catalyst

STAIR Grant Program

The UC Davis Science Translation and Innovative Research (STAIR™) Grant is one of the technology proof-of-concept programs managed by Venture Catalyst in collaboration with InnovationAccess. Over the past ten annual cycles, the STAIR Program has awarded over 70 awards, with core funding provided by the Vice Chancellor for Research along with supplemental funding provided by Innovation & Technology Commercialization (Venture Catalyst and InnovationAccess) as well as campus and industry partners. This year, in partnership with the UC Davis Health Ventures Office, the STAIR proof of concept program is focusing on the theme of Tomorrow’s Health Care Today, funding interdisciplinary innovations providing breakthrough solutions for problems encountered in human health.

Early-stage technologies from university research are often perceived as too uncertain or too risky to attract funding to translate into commercial products or services.  The lack of accessible funding creates a gap between basic research and early-stage commercialization efforts.  The STAIR Grant helps bridge this gap by providing funding and resources to translate basic UC Davis research with commercial potential by demonstrating proof-of-concept and establishing market viability, thus de-risking the innovation.  The ultimate objective of the program is to develop technologies that attract entrepreneurs, industry, and investors willing to commercialize UC Davis technologies, resulting in societal and economic impacts.

Key features of the STAIR Grant program include:  1) targeted funding to bridge the gap between basic research and early-stage commercialization efforts, 2) project work conducted over a 12-month period, 3) a Review Committee consisting of industry representatives with corporate, investor, and entrepreneurial expertise, 4) feedback and guidance on commercialization from members of the Review Committee and the Venture Catalyst team, and 5) structured entrepreneurial training.

Successful projects will advance human health-focused UC Davis technologies towards commercialization by achieving specific research and development milestones. Outcomes that might be enabled by STAIR Grant funding include, but are not limited to:

  • Generating translational data or research results to create more robust foundational intellectual property (IP), therefore strengthening patent claims
  • Testing commercial and market feasibility
  • Building a working prototype or second iteration prototype to prepare for commercialization
  • Demonstrating scale-up development potential that would be compelling to external partners
  • Producing results that support more competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applications and/or hitting a technical de-risking milestone that would make the technology more appealing to partners or investors

Venture Catalyst proof-of-concept programs (STAIR and DIAL) have awarded over $3.3 million of funding to 71 projects. These projects have resulted in 29 intellectual property agreements, including 21 startups launched around foundational technologies, and have been able to attract roughly $180 million of follow-on funding. View the executive summary for the 2022-23 cycle here.

Venture Catalyst will begin accepting applications for the eleventh cycle of the STAIR Grant program on February 5, 2024 with an application deadline of April 1, 2024 at 11:59 pm PDT. Applications can be submitted through Office of Research’s InfoReady grant application platform (Kerberos login required).

If you would like to request an overview presentation and/or a Q&A session for your department or unit, please email [email protected].


Technology Focus Human Health
IP Consideration Patent Potential
Project Budget $70,000-$100,000
Funding Available for Cycle 2024 Up to $500,000
Download Program Materials for 2024 Cycle STAIR Grant Program Announcement
STAIR-Grant-2024 Instructions

*Supplemental funding available from campus and industry partners

Questions? Please email [email protected].