Idea Foundry


Pittsburgh, PA

Project Name

Cooperative Effort to Advance Life Sciences Commercialization in Southwestern PA



Award Amount


Although its roots are as an innovator in steel, the Pittsburgh region has since become an innovator in the life sciences. The success of the region’s economy is largely attributed to the city’s strong education and medical sectors. The region’s robust roots in manufacturing provide the perfect infrastructure for biomedical capabilities and its world class universities and research centers provide the raw ingredients necessary to foster innovation. All of these attributes combined give Pittsburgh a unique position to create and influence the health sciences solutions of tomorrow and to become a global economic force in the life sciences sector.

The overarching purpose of this project is to expand the impact of the existing innovation and commercialization activities at the University of Pittsburgh and Idea Foundry. This will be accomplished through a structured, cooperative effort to advance life sciences commercialization by providing programmatic support to extend innovations from within the University and its R&D centers to outside the academic domain. Funds will be used to provide access to a wide network of mentors, subject matter experts and industry leaders to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem within the University and beyond. Activities under the proposed project will be centered on the following four components: Discovery of promising innovations, Education and Innovation on Campus, Commercialization, and Sustainability and Growth of life science ventures.

The proposed cooperative effort will achieve the following anticipated project impacts five years after this award:

  • 500 patents filed / issued at the University of Pittsburgh
  • 240 total virtual start-up teams created on campus
  • 36 University of Pittsburgh spin-off companies created through Idea Foundry Accelerator Program
  • 1080 jobs created in the region

In addition the program will provide increased visibility for the region as an innovation cluster in the life-sciences sector, foster workforce development and increase the flow of risk capital into the region while increasing corporate engagement into the innovation life cycle.