Innovation Institute


Launched in 2022, the Tulane University Innovation Institute equips bright minds to bring their discoveries to the markets and the world. Tulane and New Orleans are home to creative, ambitious thinkers committed to addressing the world’s great challenges. On any given day, pathbreaking researchers in fields such as medicine, biotechnology, energy, infectious diseases, and engineering are working towards new technologies and discoveries that can improve lives and benefit the world. Ambitious entrepreneurs are building businesses poised to fuel the local economy, create new jobs, and deliver much-needed products and services. Talented students are taking their classroom learning out into the world to launch and support promising new ventures.

Green Dividing Line

The Innovation Institute builds on this tremendous potential by offering funding, academic resources, and engagement opportunities to help new companies and technologies thrive. When a student, faculty member, or community innovator wants to take their big idea to the next level, the Innovation Institute is ready to partner through training and mentorship, proof of concept and seed funding opportunities, and commercialization expertise.

Now is the moment to support key Innovation Institute programs that help turn promising ideas into successful commercial ventures. With your support, we could ignite a culture of entrepreneurship across campus and help shape the future of New Orleans and the Gulf South.

Now is the moment to support key Innovation Institute programs that help turn promising ideas into successful commercial ventures.

Giving Opportunities

Tulane Green

Name the Innovation Institute

The Innovation Institute is our most ambitious effort yet to fuel innovation and entrepreneurship at Tulane, in New Orleans, and across the Gulf South. A gift to name the Innovation Institute would be transformative: Your gift could establish an endowment to provide lasting support for initiatives that help commercialize promising ideas and cultivate the next generation of entrepreneurial talent. With a gift to name the Innovation Institute, your name could be synonymous with harnessing Tulane’s greatest potential to save lives and respond to pressing global challenges.

Tulane Blue

Named Spaces for Innovation

Supporting our brightest minds means equipping them with the tools and collaborative spaces they need to realize their greatest ambitions. Tulane University is embarking on a billion-dollar initiative to revitalize downtown New Orleans. We are expanding and renovating our downtown campus to promote scientific discovery and to help keep the vast economic impact of those discoveries right here in New Orleans.

Key to our vision for downtown New Orleans is a renovated Charity Hospital, a building of tremendous local significance that has stood vacant since 2005. With Tulane as the lead tenant, a refurbished Charity Hospital will house the Innovation Institute alongside state-of-the-art labs and classrooms. Renovations will create many naming opportunities for collaborative, thoughtful environments that help the Innovation Institute fulfill its mission.

COMMERCIALIZE: The Robert L. Priddy Innovation Lab

Opportunities to help innovators turn their bright ideas into sustainable commercial ventures.

Provost’s Proof of Concept Program

Housed within the Robert L. Priddy Innovation Lab, the Provost’s Proof of Concept program helps Tulane innovators take promising ideas to the next level. Every semester, Tulane teams can apply for grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 to help new discoveries and technologies become market ready. Provost’s Proof of Concept funds are awarded to projects where an infusion of money will make a significant contribution towards commercialization. Funds typically support important milestones such as prototyping, customer discovery, market application research, laboratory studies, or intellectual property analyses.

Your gift could endow this signature commercialization program, providing a steady stream of funding to help accelerate groundbreaking discoveries that emanate from Tulane research. Alternatively, you could establish a specific Provost’s Proof of Concept fund, designated for students or faculty, or directed toward an area of focus such as infectious diseases or environmental solutions.

Customer Discovery Grants

Customer discovery is a vital stage of commercialization when startups validate business ideas, understand customer needs, refine their products or services, and uncover valuable insights to boost their chances of gaining traction in the market. Good customer discovery helps innovators demonstrate that their products meet a real need and that there is a market for their ideas—two important factors that also help make entrepreneurs more competitive for external grants and funding. This stage can be costly, however: Customer discovery often requires extensive travel and a strong presence at industry conferences and events to build relationships in the target market. Your gift could create grants to support Tulane innovators in their customer discovery efforts, as they turn nascent ideas into successful and sustainable ventures that resonate with the market.

Technology Assessment Fund

One of the hallmarks of Tulane’s technology development process is rigorous and thorough assessment. Closely analyzing new innovations provides meaningful feedback to innovators and inventors at an early stage, better positioning their technologies for commercialization. Gifts to support a technology assessment fund could help the Innovation Institute engage internal and external experts to assess the market and develop strategies for Tulane technologies.

Pitch Competitions

Pitch competitions are vital for early-stage ventures, offering innovators a chance to earn seed funding, network with fellow entrepreneurs, and get feedback on their products from industry experts. Your gift could help the Innovation Institute expand existing pitch competitions across campus and launch new competitions to ignite New Orleans’s entrepreneurial spirit.

Postdoctoral Fellowship

Postdoctoral fellows at the Innovation Institute immerse themselves in the New Orleans innovation ecosystem and support vital commercialization efforts at Tulane. With the guidance of industry experts, faculty, and Innovation Institute staff, fellows conduct extensive research to inform business strategy for new technologies—either their own discoveries or a new technology in Tulane’s intellectual property portfolio. After they identify a technology, fellows take on the role of chief executive officer for up to three years to commercialize their chosen project and launch a startup company. The Innovation Institute’s postdoctoral fellowship is poised to provide a significant boost to Tulane and New Orleans by making Tulane a highly attractive option for recently graduated PhDs with a passion for entrepreneurship. With your support, we could help cultivate and retain the next generation of academic entrepreneurs right here in New Orleans.

Endowed Leadership Positions

The Innovation Institute’s Commercialize unit is responsible for leveraging Tulane technologies and products for broad public benefit. Your gift could endow one of three leadership positions on this team:

    • The Associate Vice President for Commercialization, an eagerly anticipated new position for the Innovation Institute, will lead Tulane’s efforts to bring promising ideas to the markets and the world. In addition to optimizing technology transfer operations, the Associate Vice President for Commercialization will help shape Tulane’s reputation as a best-in-class innovation center among peer institutions and industry partners.
    • The Executive Director of Commercialization serves two key functions: evaluating nascent Tulane technologies for their commercial potential and connecting Tulane innovators with the resources and strategies they need to bring their discoveries to market.
    • The Executive Director of Intellectual Property Management is a key player in sustaining and protecting Tulane’s strong innovation pipeline. In addition to overseeing Tulane’s intellectual property portfolio, this leader advises Tulane researchers on licensing, technology transfer, industry partnerships, and commercialization activities.


Educational opportunities and programs to ignite entrepreneurial mindsets across campus.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educational Programs

The Innovation Institute’s year-round educational programs equip Tulane students, faculty, and researchers to succeed in a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors. From webinars and fellowship programs to residential learning initiatives, every component of the curriculum is designed to spark innovation and cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset across campus, making Tulane both a training ground and springboard for successful commercial ventures. Your gift could help cover annual costs to design, run, and refine new and existing educational programs and campus partnerships, such as the Innovation & Entrepreneurship Graduate Fellowship Program or the Ignite Residential Learning Community.


Launching an in-house accelerator to support Tulane technologies and early-stage founders is a top priority for the Innovation Institute. We imagine a structured coursework and experiential learning journey to help Tulane innovators take their ideas to the next level. The accelerator could be an especially valuable learning and mentorship opportunity for startups between the early proof-of-concept phase and later-stage venture funding, with opportunities to earn additional funding tied to important commercialization milestones. Your gift could equip Innovation Institute leadership to build this exciting program from the ground up and help offset the costs to run the accelerator throughout the year.

Mentoring Initiatives

Knowing that good mentorship is crucial to successful ventures, the Innovation Institute maintains a roster of leading experts in business, finance, law, product development, marketing, and more. The Entrepreneur-in-Residence, for example, is a full-time role dedicated to cultivating Tulane ventures and forging strong connections across campus. The Innovation Institute also supports the Green Wave Innovation Network, a council of more than 80 mentors nationwide who lend their insights, industry expertise, and connections to help transform promising Tulane innovations into thriving business ventures. Your gift could advance these and other vital mentorship opportunities that help connect Tulane’s entrepreneurial students and faculty to the right resources and opportunities throughout their commercialization journey.

Tulane Research, Innovation, and Creativity Summit

The Tulane Research, Innovation, and Creativity Summit (TRICS) is an annual showcase of groundbreaking scholarship and creative work emanating from Tulane faculty and students. This comprehensive program features more than 400 scholars from all of Tulane’s schools who share their exciting work with the community through presentations, poster sessions, lectures, and panel discussions. TRICS is a valuable opportunity to uncover promising creative works and technologies that have the potential to become ventures at Tulane. TRICS also helps inspire a culture of innovation across campus, encouraging researchers to take their ideas to the next level with the help of Innovation Institute resources and expertise. Your gift could support costs to plan and host this annual celebration of high-impact research and scholarship underway at Tulane.

Faculty Innovation Curricular Grants

Engaging faculty members as close collaborators in Innovation Institute activities is key to seeding a culture of entrepreneurship at Tulane. In the classroom, faculty members can inspire students to cultivate an entrepreneurial mindset and help them hone the necessary skills to act on their creative ideas and solutions. Your gift could establish grants for faculty members to enhance existing courses or create new learning experiences for students focused on innovation and entrepreneurship. We imagine faculty members using grants to provide honoraria for guest speakers, cover the costs for site visits or meeting with local startups, or develop hands-on workshops with community partners.

Innovation Internships

Tulane students become leaders when they pair academic learning with hands-on opportunities beyond the classroom. Your gift could establish a steady stream of funding for internships that broaden our students’ understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation in one of two tracks. In the first track, we imagine semester- or year-long partnerships with early-stage ventures at the Innovation Institute. Interns could support these startups in their commercialization journey or work with Tulane researchers readying their latest discoveries for commercialization. In the second track, we imagine a cohort of interns who could directly support Innovation Institute leaders as they develop educational programs, interface with community innovators, and leverage resources to commercialize Tulane technologies.

Residential Learning Initiatives

A Residential Learning Community (RLC) is a dynamic model for on-campus living at Tulane. In an RLC, groups of undergraduates live together in a residence hall and participate in hands-on learning opportunities centered around a theme, such as STEM or gender equity. The Ignite RLC—a partnership between Housing and Residence Life, the Lepage Center, and the Innovation Institute—brings together first-year students with an interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. Through experiential learning and academic coursework, the Ignite RLC exposes students to the commercialization process and New Orleans’s vibrant business community.

Your gift could expand and enhance this immersive learning experience for students. We imagine developing new courses for Ignite students, taught by local instructors from the New Orleans business community, or launching accelerator workshops and pitch competitions with seed funding to support Ignite student ventures. We could grow our programs to connect students to Tulane’s vast entrepreneurial network, through alumni roundtables or opportunities to network with other ventures across campus. As a centralized landing point for first-year students with an interest in innovation, the Ignite RLC could be a catalyst for entrepreneurship at Tulane.

Endowed Scholarships

Tulane is proud to offer a distinctive education in one of the world’s most unique cities. Year after year, we attract students who boldly confront challenges and aspire to leave a positive imprint on the world. However, some of the most promising and deserving students never consider Tulane for college or graduate school because they simply cannot afford it. Scholarships can help remove that barrier, transforming the lives of students and, in turn, transforming Tulane.

As we look to ignite the entrepreneurial landscape across New Orleans and the Gulf South, we must invest in the thinkers, doers, and innovators who will build our shared tomorrow. Your gift could establish an endowed scholarship for Tulane students who aspire to make a significant contribution to society through the development of new technologies, products, or services. We could explore a preference for awarding the scholarship to undergraduate or graduate students in a particular school or program, or to students with an interest in fields such as biotechnology, health sciences, energy, infectious disease, or engineering.

Innovation & Entrepreneurship Graduate Fellowship

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Graduate Fellowship program is a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity for talented Tulane PhD students with a passion for entrepreneurship. Fellows partner with Innovation Institute leaders to learn all about the commercialization process, from identifying and evaluating new discoveries to securing funding, accelerating research and development, and bringing new technologies to market. A gift to endow this program could help cover annual operating expenses, including graduate stipends, staff salaries, and costs for trainings, programs, and events. Alternatively, your gift could endow an individual fellowship, designated for talented PhD students from across the disciplines with an interest in entrepreneurship.

Executive Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educational Programs

The Executive Director of Innovation & Entrepreneurship Educational Programs curates hands-on, high-impact learning opportunities to cultivate a climate of innovation at Tulane. Bringing together faculty, researchers, students, and community partners, this leader helps new and experienced innovators alike hone the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their commercial ventures. Your gift could endow this top leadership position at the Innovation Institute, freeing up funding to refine existing programs, grow in new directions, and strengthen university, industry, and community partnerships.


Opportunities to develop mutually beneficial industry and community partnerships that fuel innovation in the Gulf South.

Tulane Ventures

Founded in 2023, Tulane Ventures is the Innovation Institute’s vehicle for investing in faculty, researchers, students, and local entrepreneurs with promising startup ideas. Innovators first pitch to the Innovation Institute’s Investment Committee, and projects selected to move on to the next stage undergo a collaborative due diligence process to uncover the most promising ventures for investment. Portfolio companies selected for investment receive mentorship, guidance, and resources from the Innovation Institute to grow and scale in Louisiana. An endowed gift could help cover the annual operating costs for Tulane Ventures, including compensation for a full-time fund analyst, software subscriptions to facilitate applications and due diligence, marketing to local entrepreneurs, and a robust programmatic infrastructure for portfolio companies.

Tulane Seed Fund

The Tulane Seed Fund is the inaugural venture fund for Tulane Ventures, comprised of a $5 million grant from the state of Louisiana and the US Small Business Credit Initiative and a matching $5 million contribution from Tulane University. The seed fund is dedicated to supporting ventures in Louisiana, including those led by Socially and Economically Disadvantaged Individuals—entrepreneurs who have traditionally faced barriers accessing capital, markets, and networks essential to growing their businesses. Additionally, the fund prioritizes investment in New Orleans tech-enabled startups in health and medicine, energy, and artificial intelligence. Your gift could grow the Tulane Seed Fund, creating more opportunities for home-grown talent to build thriving, sustainable businesses. Alternatively, you could complement the Tulane Seed Fund with a new pool of funding designated for a particular area such as environmental solutions or bioinnovation.

Startup Clinic

Modeled after law school legal clinics, the Innovation Institute’s startup clinic connects faculty experts and student volunteers to local innovators looking to launch and grow viable businesses. Entrepreneurs can visit the clinic to get pressing questions answered or seek out free, on-the-spot advice on topics like business planning, legal structures, marketing, intellectual property, and fundraising. The startup clinic is a valuable experience for Tulane students, too. Working alongside top faculty members, Tulane students from across the university apply their classroom learning to real-world business scenarios as they forge connections with fellow entrepreneurs. Your gift could support the costs to launch and run the clinic, which could include advertising to local innovators, recruiting faculty experts, training a pool of student volunteers, and sustaining a robust resource library on some of the clinic’s most popular topics. Supporting the startup clinic with your gift is an opportunity to help new ventures thrive while sustaining an immersive learning experience for Tulane students.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is an after-school program that helps transform local middle and high school students into real, confident entrepreneurs. Over the course of a year, students generate business ideas, conduct market research, write business plans, pitch to a panel of investors, and launch their very own companies. YEA! programs are poised to change community trajectories: They offer young leaders an engaging introduction to the business world while strengthening ties among colleges and universities, local schools, business leaders, and community organizations.

Your gift could help launch a YEA! chapter at the Innovation Institute. An endowment could help cover licensing costs to use the nationwide YEA! curriculum and salary expenses for a program director. Your gift could equip Tulane’s YEA! program to grow in new directions, too. We are exploring opportunities to weave YEA! into undergraduate service-learning courses, creating new pathways for business-minded undergraduates to link academics and action to serve the greater good.

Innovation Educational Hours

The Innovation Institute regularly convenes local entrepreneurs to share expertise and support fellow innovators in bringing their ideas to life. During these educational hours—which take place virtually, in person, and in hybrid formats—expert guests walk participants through important concepts ranging from startup marketing and business legal structure to the finer points of intellectual property protection and fundraising. Your gift could support these educational initiatives, helping to spark new connections across New Orleans’s entrepreneurial ecosystem while providing a comprehensive learning opportunity for new and seasoned innovators alike. Your gift could help offset costs such as travel and honoraria for renowned guest speakers, technology and software to support a dynamic hybrid experience, and marketing expenses to attract a wide audience of innovators both locally and nationally.

Associate Vice President of Industry & Community Partnerships

The Associate Vice President of Industry & Community Partnerships cultivates strategic, mutually beneficial relationships with industry, corporate, government, and community partners to catalyze innovation in New Orleans and the Gulf South. This leader will be a key player in leveraging university resources and expertise to help solve industry and community challenges.

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