M.J. Murdock Commercialization Initiation Program

Purpose of Grant

To provide critical ‘gap’ funding to take a potential technology from concept to the next step in the commercialization pathway. Projects needs to be in natural sciences, medicine, and engineering (no games or software applications will be considered). The ideal time for submitting a proposal is when the science is solid and a feasible business plan is at hand. The goal of this program is to support the project early in the commercialization life cycle in order to enable the PI or inventor to reduce the science discovery into practice, secure IP and ownership, obtain proof of commercialization concept, and position the development toward the next round of funding. The funding should help the university and the researcher to position their project for an important next-step commercialization funding source (e.g., the SBIR). A strong business plan will be required.

Eligible Organizations

Major Research Universities in Pacific Northwest. The M.J. Trust cannot fund a for-profit entity like a spin-off company.


One proposal per university per year.  Project must be selected by the VP for Research as the priority project.


$75K funding with a one-to-one match. Matching funds can be provided by the university and/or other funders. You do not need matching funds lined up at this internal competition stage – we have been able to help with this after the project is identified.


Project must have a strong business plan and a strong technical aspect (the science must be solid); The proposals will be sent out to top-notch entrepreneurs and scientists in your field for review. For this program, Murdock is interested in technologies with strong commercial potential. Proposals that will help move WSU technologies to either a startup or an existing company under a license within 1-3 years will be given preference.

One project will be accepted per year. The internal WSU deadline for project concepts is March 18, 2021.  If selected, the proposal will be due June 1, 2021.  Funding decisions will be made in August, 2021

Deadlines & Notifications

One project will be accepted per year.  The internal deadline for projects will be March 18, 2022.  If selected, the proposal will be due June 1, 2022.  Funding decisions will be made in August, 2022.

Pre-proposal Form

Please fill out the form below to apply.


Contact Karin Neuenschwander with the Office of Foundation Relations at karinn@wsu.edu.