Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership








Through the Columbia-Coulter Translational Research Partnership, selected teams receive funding and guidance to advance promising biomedical technology ideas from conception to proof-of-concept. The Partnership aims to better position these ideas for partnering with a commercial entity that will invest the necessary resources to bring the concept to market.

Information Sessions
For those interested applying for the program, we host Information Sessions each Fall to review the application process, eligibility and evaluation criteria, and how the Partnership works with teams to facilitate the translational research process. Specific dates will be posted here.


The Partnership is led by the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, in collaboration with the Departments of SurgeryOrthopaedic Surgery and Radiology at Columbia University Medical Center, and Columbia Technology Ventures, the technology transfer office of Columbia University.  This program is made possible by a generous grant from the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation and support of leadership from the Offices of the Executive Vice President for Research and the Provost.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible teams must include an engineer, preferably from Columbia's Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science with an affiliation to the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and a practicing clinician, preferably with an appointment at Columbia University Medical Center. If you need an engineering or clinical collaborator, we may be able to facilitate introductions. All technologies that may have a direct impact on human health will be considered (e.g. therapeutic drugs and devices, medical imaging, monitoring devices, biosensors, biomaterials, and platform technologies, etc.).  However, the most relevant are those where time to market can be achieved in less than 10 years.

All members of the team should be committed to commercialization objectives and be open to receiving mentorship, coaching, and oversight of their projects.

Projects that propose to undertake discovery research will not be selected. Successful proposals must be translational in nature, i.e. they must focus on efforts to translate research results into practical clinical application. Visit for a description of projects funded in previous cycles

If you received an award from the Partnership in previous years, you may be eligible to apply for additional funding to support your project. Such additional funding is contingent on successful achievement of your previous milestones and demonstration of compelling market feedback requiring additional technical development, among other factors. To explore further, please contact us at

APPLICATION PROCESS: The application process is multi-stage, starting with the submission of a Pre-Proposal. 

Selected Pre-Proposals are invited to participate in a multi-session Boot Camp. Teams then submit Full Proposals and “pitch” their projects to a panel of experts comprised of clinicians, biomedical entrepreneurs, early-stage investors, and technology transfer specialists, who evaluate projects on the basis of their potential health care and patient care impact, timeline and pathway to commercialization, technical feasibility, and, most importantly, their potential for obtaining further financial investment to bring the proposed solution to the bedside.

Pre-Submission Consultation
Applicants are STRONGLY encouraged to reach out to Columbia-Coulter Executive Team with any questions about the application process or the program overall. Please submit inquiries or request a meeting time via email to

Matchmaking Request
If you have a project idea but don’t have an engineering or clinical collaborator, we will try to help you identify a suitable collaborator, though we cannot guarantee a successful match. As it takes time to find a suitable match, please submit your Matchmaking Request to us as soon as possible via email to All Matchmaking Requests are due byOctober 1st, 2015.

We encourage you to submit your Pre-Proposal as soon as you are ready to do so. Pre-Proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Pre-Proposals are due by December 1, 2015.

Boot Camp
Invited teams are strongly encouraged to send at least one representative of their team to the spring Boot Camp. The Boot Camp helps guide teams as they prepare each of the required sections of their Full Proposal application, as well as answer two fundamental questions: 1) Does your envisioned product address a true unmet clinical need? AND 2) Is there a viable business opportunity? Many of these elements can be repurposed for other commercialization grants, such as SBIRs, STTRs, etc.

Full Proposals and Pitch Day
Detailed instructions for Full Proposal preparation/submission and Pitch Day will be provided to invited applicants. Pitch presentation are similar to investor presentations, i.e. focused on conveying the business opportunity and commercialization strategy, rather than typical scientific talks. Full Proposals and Pitch day take place in late Spring.

Work Plan Development
Based on the Full Proposals and Pitches, selected teams will be asked to develop and submit a work plan and budget, which they will present to the team of judges for a final award decision.  

EVALUATION CRITERIA: Proposals are evaluated on the basis of their potential impact on patient, their timeline and pathway to commercialization, technical feasibility, and, most importantly, their potential for obtaining further financial investment to bring the proposed solution to market.

PROJECT DURATION: Project plans should not exceed 12 months in duration. Teams that successfully achieve their first year milestones may apply for additional funding to meet additional commercialization objectives.

BUDGETS AND USE OF FUNDS: Up to $700,000 of funding is available to support projects selected in the 2014-2015 cycle, with an additional $300,000 worth of in-kind additional resources (marketing, regulatory, reimbursement, and legal). There is no funding limit per project or a set number of projects that must be selected.  All projects and their budgets are evaluated on their own merits. Historically, we have funded 5 to 6 projects per year, with budgets ranging from approximately $60K to $190K, and a median award size of $100K. Generally, the requested budget should be appropriate to the size of the commercial opportunity.

Funds MAY be used for:

  • salary and fringe benefits for project personnel (other than PIs or Co-PIs)
  • materials and supplies (including animal costs for preclinical studies)
  • consumable equipment (e.g. components for systems)
  • costs for human studies (e.g. IRB fees, patient recruitment fees, etc.)

Funds MAY NOT be used for:

  • salary or fringe for PIs or Co-PIs
  • tuition
  • space and renovations
  • indirect costs

For a list of frequently asked questions and answers, click here.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT AND REPORTING: The goal of the Partnership is to position promising biomedical technologies for licensing to commercial partners who will develop solutions to improve patient care and address underserved healthcare needs.

This is accomplished by de-risking proposed projects, bringing in experts to help inform regulatory strategy, working closely with intellectual property counsel, identifying and engaging early with partners that possess product development capabilities, and carrying out specific, determinative experiments in a disciplined, managed process. This approach is based on the Stage-Gate® process and similar approaches used widely in industry. 

Funded teams are expected to report regularly (3 times per year) on progress toward technical and business milestones.  Additionally, monthly check-ins and cooperation with technology transfer and marketing-related activities are required.  Funded teams are expected to work with their commercialization teams as active partners.


The Executive Team is responsible for setting program policies and managing program operations. Members of the Executive Team include:

Andrew Laine, PhD
Coulter Principal Investigator, Chair and Vida L. W. Hudson Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Biomedical EngineeringFu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science

Chaitan Divgi, MD
Coulter Clinical Co-PI, Professor of Radiology, Columbia University Medical Center, and Director, PET Center

Andrea Nye, MBA, MPH
Coulter Program Director


Evaluation and selection of proposals is informed by the Executive Team and the Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee is comprised of the Coulter Principal Investigator; clinical representatives from Columbia University Medical Center; representatives from the investor, industry, and entrepreneurial communities; representatives from Columbia Technology Ventures; and a representative of the Coulter Foundation. It is anticipated that the evaluation and selection of proposals will also rely on external business advisors and technical experts to supply specific domain expertise, as appropriate to the subject matter of the proposals received.



The Wallace H. Coulter Foundation was established in 1998, from the legacy of Wallace H. Coulter, who was the founder and Chairman of the Coulter Corporation (now Beckman-Coulter Corporation) and prolific inventor of 82 patents. Mr. Coulter was passionate about applying the principles and tools of engineering to improve human health and address unmet clinical needs. Coulter's most well-known biomedical contribution, the Coulter Principle, laid the foundation for the Coulter Counter, the first flow cytometer, which revolutionized laboratory hematology.

The Coulter Translational Research Partnership model has been implemented at 15 universities since 2005. More than 300 translational research projects have been funded at these institutions;  roughly 1 in 3 of the projects have resulted in licenses to established companies and/or professionally financed new ventures, which altogether have raised more than $300M in follow-on funding. For more information on the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, click here.

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