Quest Innovation Fund to Reward Creatively Disruptive New Projects
University Public Affairs
VCU is introducing an ambitious new effort to inspire bold and creative ideas for the university’s future among its students, faculty and staff.
The Quest Innovation Fund is designed to help back innovative pilot initiatives at VCU that support “Quest for Distinction,” the university’s strategic plan. Resembling a venture capital fund for the VCU community, the fund will provide seed money – from non-public university funding sources – for projects that aim to advance Quest and to help VCU become the premier urban public research university in the United States. VCU will reward projects that provide enhancements to the classroom or laboratory experience, create efficiency improvements and employ novel uses of technology, among other possible realms.
“The Quest Innovation Fund will be another opportunity for all of us – students, faculty and staff – to improve VCU and realize the goals of Quest for Distinction,” said David Hanson, vice president for finance and administration at VCU. “VCU prizes innovative approaches to the university experience. This will be an important effort to encourage the entire VCU community to pursue fresh and innovative ways of doing things.”
In particular, VCU hopes to spur some level of “disruptive innovation,” a term made popular by Dr. Clayton Christensen at Harvard University for ideas that disrupt the status quo, and to uncover new and unique models for VCU and higher education.
Applications will be based on several factors, including a project’s ties to at least one of the Quest themes. Applicants should be well-versed in the strategic plan’s themes, which include student success, innovative research, human health and community engagement. More on the Quest themes can be found at http://www.future.vcu.edu/.
Those seeking funding will need to demonstrate that their project supports VCU’s mission and meets the tenets of disruptive innovation. Promising projects will propose programs or initiatives that could become self-sufficient in the future, that promote resource efficiency and that propose truly unique solutions to common problems or obstacles. Projects with matching funding will earn additional points.
Faculty, staff and students, as well as those outside of VCU who have co-sponsorship from within the university, are eligible to apply for Quest Innovation Fund awards. A select committee of university faculty, staff and students will advise VCU President Michael Rao about those innovative ideas that deserve funding.
Because the Quest Innovation Fund is designed for seed money, proposals will be capped at amounts up to $50,000. There is also embedded in the program an accountability process so that all funds awarded will be tracked and the applicants who receive those funds must account for the use and benefits (i.e., "ROI") of the awards.
For more about the Quest Innovation Fund, including the application process, visit http://www.future.vcu.edu/fund/index.html. The first applications are due Oct. 19, 2012. The first awards will be announced on Jan. 16, 2013.