Faculty Innovation Fellows

FIF image

                                    OPEN CALL FOR FACULTY INNOVATION FELLOWS 2020 PROGRAM

This is an OPEN CALL for UCLA’s second cohort of Faculty Innovation Fellows (FIF). Started by the Technology Development Group, the Office of Research and Creative Activities, and Startup UCLA, the Faculty Innovation Fellows is a program aimed at advancing entrepreneurial excellence and startup culture among faculty across campus. A UCLA Newsroom story about last year’s program can be found here.

New in 2020, we are including postdoctoral researchers in the program. Open to all UCLA faculty and postdocs, we seek to identify 8-10 faculty-led teams to participate in dedicated mentoring with Startup UCLA. This program is a two-quarter "accelerator" focused on pitch development, business strategy, and venture consulting. It is designed to advance innovative academic projects into new startup companies, centers, or non-profits. The program will culminate in a public Pitch Showcase (Sprign 2020) to a network of local entrepreneurs and investors.

The application for the 2020 cohort CLOSES December 1, 2019 . Click on the link below to apply:




When TDG, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Creative Activities and Startup UCLA launched the Faculty Innovation Fellows program (FIF), they aimed to take UCLA’s entrepreneurial excellence and startup culture to the next level. The program’s rapid success was indisputable on May 22, 2019, when the inaugural 10 fellows took the stage at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering for the program’s first “Pitch Showcase.”

Each fellow presented their innovation before an audience of industry leaders, venture capitalists and others with the power to propel UCLA entrepreneurs towards becoming the next generation of top-tier industry leaders. The fellows hail from both North and South campus, representing the diverse landscape of knowledge and excellence that distinguishes UCLA. Together, they presented a world of new possibilities, from leading-edge enhancements in entertainment, to empowering agents of social change, to saving lives through early cancer detection.

TDG congratulates these fellows for displaying excellence in research and the pioneering spirit that makes UCLA a leader in delivering the life-changing technologies of tomorrow.

The FIF program is an accelerator designed to hone innovators’ great ideas and put them into action. Each year, 10 faculty-led teams with academic projects that have potential to create real-world impact through new startup companies, centers or non-profits are chosen to participate in the 12-week program. Fellows collaborate with mentors and colleagues to increase their competitiveness in the areas of pitch develop- ment, business strategy and venture consulting. The most commercially viable projects and startups that develop from the FIF program may receive financial support from TDG’s Innovation Fund.

Meet our 2019 Fellows



Assistant professor-in-residence, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior: ChatterBaby – a new technology tool that deciphers the meaning of infant cries.


Assistant professor, Department of Sociology, UCLA School of Letters and Sciences – Division of Social Sciences: Du Boisian Scholar Network: W.E.B. Du Bois – an online social change platform that connects and empowers sociologists and grassroots social activists to collaborate on today’s most pressing social justice issues.


Professor-in-residence and associate dean, Department of Theatre – Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance, of Theater, Film and Television, School of Theatre, Film and Television: XRA IV – a platform that brings live theatre and augmented reality together to create a next-generation entertainment experience.


Professor, co-director, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies: BESSTT (Building Educational Solutions for Students, Teachers and Trainers) – research-based educational assessment tools that improve student learning outcomes.


Professor, Department of Pediatric Cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine: Pediatric Covered Stents – stents designed specifically to meet the needs of pediatric heart patients.


Professor, Department of Art, School of Arts and Architecture : Desktop Sculptures and Archeology – a web platform for artist and archeol- ogist providing modestly priced and modestly sized art objects, enabling cultural preservation, education and activism.


Professor, Department of World Arts and Culture, School of Arts and Architecture: Archive of Healing, Ritual, and Transformation – a searchable database of world-wide approaches to healing.


Assistant professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Henry Sam- ueli School of Engineering and Applied Science: Rocket Project – a four-year program that teaches university students how to build rockets and become the space engineers of the future.


Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior: mWellness – an app that monitors patient mental health, allowing for early intervention and prevention of mental health crises.


Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine: EarlyDiagnostics, Inc. – an accurate, affordable and non-invasive tool for early cancer detection.