The Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2) is an internal program that provides seed funding to support high-risk, high-reward projects. The initiative focuses on funding research that addresses pivotal problems that could lead to commercially useful technologies. The RI2 grants provide Caltech faculty with support to develop bold ideas. Giving them the opportunity to bridge the gap between early-stage research and proof of concept data often required for later-stage investments to introduce a novel technology into the marketplace.
Former Caltech trustee James F. Rothenberg and his wife Anne Rothenberg have supported the initiative since its inception in 2009 as the Caltech Innovation Initiative (CI2). The program was renamed in 2017 as the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2) in their honor, and their generous endowed gift will provide ongoing, essential funding for research that can lead to marketable technologies that fill unmet needs posed by significant challenges in the world at large. If you are interested in philanthropically supporting the RI2 program, please visit our Supporting Innovation page.
RI2 awards are intended to provide support for up to two years with up to $250,000 in total funding (two years of support at $125,000 a year). Requests for a second year of funding are considered based on competitive review of both new and renewal proposals. Supported Projects
The RI2 Request for Proposals is sent out by the Vice Provost for Research at the beginning of each calendar year. The application process will be specified in the Request for Proposals. Proposal due dates are listed below.
The program is open to Caltech faculty, limited to one proposal per faculty member per year. Both tenured/tenure-track and research/teaching faculty may apply.
- Request for Proposals distributed to Faculty: Wednesday, February 24th, 2021
- Proposals Due: Friday, April 23rd, 2021
- For Current Awardees - Progress Report & Request for Second Year Funding Proposals due: Friday, April 23rd, 2021
- Decisions Announced: Early June, 2021
- Funding start date: October 1, 2021
A 2nd year of funding may be requested. Renewals will be reviewed competitively with, not given priority over, new proposals. Renewal proposals must include the following information:
- Re-list milestones from original proposal, followed by specific progress achieved for each milestone
- List publications and ensure RI2 funding was acknowledged
- List all relevant patent filings
- List all other funding sources on the project – both source and amount
- Specify post-RI2 plans: next steps scientifically and commercially, and future funding sources
- A budget must be submitted with the application.
- The budget must include faculty effort at an amount equal to 10% of the total budget request (salary+benefits). Include direct costs only (including tuition remission and staff benefits as applicable); indirect costs should not be included.
- Applicants should include a signed DAF but no MORA is necessary.
- Maximum budget is $125K/year.
- Budgets should not include a subaward component as RI2 awards are intended to support innovative faculty research on campus. Any RI2 funding that is allocated but not expended within the approved proposal award period (typically 12 months) may be returned to the RI2 program.
Yes, the DAF is available here
Applicants should submit their proposal and DAF by email to RI2@caltech.edu