Quest for Distinction

Quest Innovation Fund

To encourage true innovation, we need a mechanism to encourage bold thinking. The Quest Innovation Fund is a pool of funds designed to support innovative pilot initiatives at Virginia Commonwealth University that help us realize our strategic plan, Quest for Distinction.

Much like a venture capital fund, the Quest Innovation Fund seeks to provide seed funding for disruptively innovative ideas that will create a service, program or initiative that will improve what we are doing in a creative and unique manner.

The fund will focus on projects that advance Quest and help VCU become the premier urban, public research university. Projects might include enhancements to the classroom or laboratory experience, efficiency improvements, novel uses of new technology and more.

The funding process

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 money. Funding decisions will be made based upon a competitive selection process.

As outlined in the application, applicants will be evaluated based on defined criteria, including Quest-based principles, the availability of matching funds and the potential for the idea to be a form of “disruptive innovation.” Recommendations for funding will be made by a scoring committee comprised of university faculty, staff and students.

Application proposals should relate to the four themes of Quest and funds are available strictly for Quest-related projects. As the Quest Innovation Fund is intended as seed money, proposals for amounts of $50,000 or less will be given priority — amounts greater than that will require the sponsorship of a dean, vice president or an equivalent administrator.

Applications are due Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 11:59 p.m. You will have the ability to save and update your application any time and as often as you need up until the deadline. Incomplete applications after the deadline will not be considered. Awards will be announced in early 2014.

What we hope to achieve

The Quest Innovation Fund is the ultimate expression of our slogan, “Make it real.” Quest for Distinction articulates a vision for VCU as a premier urban, public research institute focused on student success, innovative research, human health and community impact.

Realizing this vision is not something to be done by “them” — instead, we all can and do have a role in realizing the goals of Quest. The Quest Innovation Fund is a tangible expression of that shared responsibility, providing a mechanism to allow faculty, staff or students to improve our university and help us realize our future goals.