Subscribe to Office of Technology's Newsletter

Entrepreneurship Support (EPIC)

We have developed a complete platform to validate and accelerate the transformation of ideas and inventions into products or services for the market place. Our Entrepreneurial Proof of Concept and Innovation Center (EPIC) delivers this integrated commercialization approach consisting of experiential entrepreneurial education, individualized mentorship by seasoned entrepreneurs and access to capital.  


We provide innovators and technology entrepreneurs with the practical tools needed to understand the process of technology commercialization and how to transition from idea validation through to venture/product launch.


Our proof of concept methodology is an effective method to de-risk new products and ventures. Innovators work side by side with a seasoned technology executive in identifying the key market and technical validation milestones needed to de-risk their technology for the marketplace. 

Climate Action INNOVAR Workshop: Spring 2024

Dates and Time:

April 16th, 23rd, 30th

May 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

5:00-7:00 pm Class Time

*Note: Spring 2024 classes will be held on Zoom, except for the first and last class


APPLICATION DEADLINE: April 8th, 2024 by 11:59 p.m.


Apply Today!


Proof of Concept Grants (Faculty Only)
Upcoming Call: TBA


Judy Swineford

Tel: (951) 827-7941 


Your EPIC Liaison

Francisca Reyes

Blackstone LaunchPad Lead EIR

(951) 827-6454

Francis Reyes

EPIC: Process

UCR EPIC provides a complete path to market platform for the region’s innovators assisting them with market validation, technical feasibility demonstration, resources for company formation, and access to capital. Teams and companies gain access to increasingly intensive support delivered in a phased approach, starting with education and  individualized mentorship leading to intensive business acceleration, access to proof of concept funding and raising of capital.

EPIC Platform


Success Story

Highlander Fund invests in Sensorygen

In January 2018, the Highlander Venture Fund invested in Sensorygen, a company founded by UCR professor Dr. Anandasankar Ray, focused on using computational biology to discover naturally occurring compounds that alter smell and taste perception. Our office helps to license UCR technology and provides startup support to those interested in spinning out a company.

Programs + Services

We provide a suite of services to support entrepreneurs and innovators at any stage; from concept to launching and growing your company.


    The education program of EPIC gives UCR and community innovators the training to validate their ideas, identify and reach customers, and build a sustainable company using two core components: seminars and multi-session workshops.
    Seminars are offered monthly on the UCR campus or community venues through EPIC SBDC. Topics include intellectual property, how to raise funds, building a startup team, working with industrial partners, company formation, and customer discovery and are selected to support the current needs of UCR and community entrepreneurs.


    UCR teams of faculty, graduate and post-doctoral researchers can apply for proof of concept grants ($25K - $50K) to develop functional prototypes and relevant data to attract market interest. Teams are selected by external panels of experts and business executives from the region. Selected teams are assigned an EIR to help them develop mutually agreed milestones. EPIC staff and EIRs also assist with access to experienced management teams, identification of external advisors, company structure and incorporation. Teams that attend UCR's I-Corps program can also apply for the NSF I-Corps National program ($50,000) to further validate their idea through an intensive customer discovery.


    Working closely with the Technology Commercialization and Corporate Sponsored Research teams, EPIC helps UCR innovators license their technology, partner through sponsored research, or launch their startup. Community innovators can receive support to launch or scale their tech startup through EPIC SBDC.  


    Startups can continue to develop their companies at ExCITE or the Life Science incubators, which provides the company with the infrastructure, structured mentorship, and access to EPIC's entrepreneurial ecosystem through key partnerships in the region. Companies also have access to capital through the Highlander Fund and other partner VCs and SBIR/STTR support through the SBIR/STTR Resource Center.


    EPIC recruits Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (“EIRs”) and mentors from regional volunteer subject matter experts and successful business executives to support all phases of the EPIC program. Each EIR is assigned early on to entrepreneurial teams to help qualify the commercialization potential of their invention or idea, set milestones for progress, and guide teams through the EPIC process. Leveraging the expertise of the diverse, capable pool of EIRs, teams receive individualized support to achieve their milestones.


Funding Opportunities

We provide funding opportunities to validate your technology and bring it to commercialization.


    If you have an innovative idea or techology and want to increase the chances of successful commercialization the NSF I-Corps Workshop is for you.   

    • Dedicated Mentorship: Receive 1:1 mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs who will guide you through the Lean Launchpad methodology to see if your idea has market potential.
    • Transferable Business skills: Sharpen presentation skills, learn basic business concepts and how to effectively present your idea or technology to non-technical audiences.
    • Expanded Network: Connect with fellow innovators, industry experts, and potential customers, partners, investors, and stakeholders to validate your idea or technology through interviews.
    • Access to Funding: Upon completion, qualify for $50,000 in additional funding from the NSF and secure special preference for Proof of Concept grant funding of up to $35,000 through the Office of Technology Partnerships.

    Application for the NSF I-Corps Winter 2023 cohort is now open!


    If you have  completed the UCR NSF I-Corps workshops or are a recipient of NSF grants you are eligible for the I-Corps National Program.   

    • Funded by the National Science Foundation I-Corps.  

    • NSF provides $50,000.  

    • 7 week intensive workshop offered in National I-Corps sites across the country. 


    If you have an invention with commercial or business potential this grant is available to you.  

    • Funded by the UCR Research and Economic Development Office.   

    • We provide faculty with grants of up to $50,000. 

    • Funds can be used for prototyping or to conduct translational experiments to bring a technology closer to commercialization.  

    • Five to eight awards are distributed annually through a competitive process. 

    • For more information on the Proof of Concept funding, contact Brian Suh  

    • Applications that have been validated through the I-Corps program secure special preference for Proof of Concept grant funding.


    Our SBIR/STTR Resource Center is here to help you develop and submit winning proposals.  

    • Programs are structured into 2 funded phases, with awards typically between $150,000 - $1,000,000.  

    • UCR’s SBIR/STTR Resource Center provides one on one mentorship and a robust training program that provides insights on preparing competitive proposals.  

    • For more information about preparing an SBIR or STTR proposal, contact Misty Madero  


    If you have a UCR affiliated company you can apply for venture capital investment through the Highlander Venture Fund.   

    •  Investments between $250,000-$500,000. 

    • For more information about the Highlander Venture Fund, contact Scott Brovsky