How are fellowships moving forward during COVID-19?
During the Covid-19 pandemic we have been very fortunate not to see any interruption to the fellowship program. We have been able to offer remote options for all phases of our program.
Can I apply more than once (different opportunities at the same time/ different rounds)?
Yes! Please! We encourage you to apply to BOTH open opportunities, and if you are not selected, we encourage you to re-apply to the next round. Every VC is looking for something slightly different in a fellow. Successful applications are a match-making process between candidates and VCs.
Do I need to have experience in business or venture capital to apply?
We hope that fellows have demonstrated an interest in entrepreneurship by participating in any of the many innovation activities and entrepreneurial opportunities on the UCD campus. For fellows with less experience, we will connect you with campus opportunities during your 12 months with us.
Who can apply? / Can undergraduates apply?
Graduate students in their final 1-2 years of study, and postdoctoral scholars at UC Davis will be considered. Undergraduates are not eligible for this fellowship.
What will the fellowship funds cover?
IIFH will take over your tuition and salary for 12 months. IIFH will pay for travel to and from the host’s location for the residency portion of the fellowship. During the residency, IIFH will also cover the cost of your temporary accommodation (usually an apartment rental) so that you do not need to pay double rent in Davis and the new location for those three months. There is a budget for up to three conferences (costs vary), and an additional $10K that can be used by fellow and PI to advance research. In total, IIFH will offer up to $70K per opportunity.
What are the expectations and deliverables (3 phases of the program)?
Fellows have regular (informal) check-ins with our fellowship program coordinator every 1-2 months. At the three, six, and nine month marks we have more formal check-ins including short 5-10 slide presentation on learnings and future direction at the six month mark. There is a short report due 1 month after the end of the program (1-2 page written plus several slides) to summarizing the results and impact of the fellowship. We also ask the fellow and their PI to be present at the annual Innovator Summit. Fellows participate in monthly networking events hosted by the IIFH.
How does switching funding work?
That all happens behind the scenes on our end. Your paycheck will continue to come in, and likely look exactly as it always has, only now IIFH will be footing the bill.
Does the timing of the fellowship need to line up with the academic calendar?
No. We are very flexible, and find that the most important aspect to synch up on is that the fellow joins the VC host during a time when the fellow will have maximum exposure to due diligence process and hopefully participate in the full spectrum of the deal-making process.
During the full-time residency (first three months) will I be able to do any UCD research?
We strongly encourage you to put your research on hold during those intensive first three months. If there are aspects of your research (live animals, bacteria, etc.) that cannot be put “on hold” we will work with you and your PI to see if we can design a schedule that allows you to maximize learnings and time with the VC while not jeopardizing your research in any way.
Can I apply to the Innovator Fellowship if I am on another fellowship?
Yes, we have hosted fellows who are two simultaneous fellowships as long as the requirements of each do not conflict. Please get in touch with us to discuss the details as each case can vary.
Can I take classes during the fellowship?
We encourage fellows not to take any classes during Q1 residency in order to maximize focus while they are fully engaged with the VC. If it is unavoidable, a max of one class during Q1 residency is possible depending on the fellow’s ability to manage time/priorities, and up to two classes in each of the subsequent quarters.
Will I become a part of a network of past and current Innovator Fellows?
Yes! Our network of fellows and VCs is always growing. We host networking events among our fellows, with outside partners, and within the UCD network.
Will there be an NDA in place during interview process?
The University of California and our host VCs sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) when we initially enter into a partnership agreement. As a student of the university, you, the interviewee, would be covered under that same NDA.
How "transferable" does my research need to be when applying?
It is not required that your research is transferable, but if it is, this fellowship can help you move that translation process forward. Ideal candidates will have both a demonstrated interest in entrepreneurship and potentially translatable research.
Do I need to be in a STEM field?
You do not need to be in a STEM field to apply. We encourage candidates with a demonstrated interest in entrepreneurship and/or potentially translatable research from any field to apply.
What are the venture capital groups looking for (excellent research, potential contribution, etc.)?
The common denominator that all VCs primarily look for is technical expertise in candidates. Beyond technical expertise, each VC may have slightly different criteria. We encourage applicants to apply to both VCs each round and to re-apply in the future if they are not selected.