CRCF FY2020 Solicitation Preview

More information on the Letter of Intent (LOI) approach is now available! Scroll to the Approach section below to learn more, and check out the updated FAQs accessible from the Documents box on the right. Don't forget to also view our just-announced regional briefings schedule, under the Solicitation Roadshow section, below.

CIT is excited to preview the CRCF FY2020 solicitation, identifying programs offered, eligibility criteria, and other high-level information. Approximately $2.5 million is available to award. The RFP will be announced in late September and will include complete criteria, including program guidelines, application materials, and expanded materials such as webinars and regional briefings. At that time, applicants may begin submitting LOIs.

To be included on the CRCF listserv for announcements about this and future solicitations, visit: The CRCF team can be reached at


The Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund (CRCF) advances science- and technology-based research, development, and commercialization to drive economic growth in Virginia. To do so, CRCF creates and fosters high-potential technology companies while encouraging and strengthening collaboration and partnerships between the public and private sector. The Fund seeks to advance Virginia's position in strategically important areas including, but not limited to human health, cyber security, smart communities, and unmanned systems.



Industry Sectors

Projects submitted under any FY2020 solicitation program must directly align with one or more of the following industry sectors:

  • Clean energy: includes solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, nuclear, clean coal, and energy efficiency technologies
  • Cyber security: includes technologies designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access
  • Data analytics: technologies envisioned are specialized systems or software. Data analytics is the process of examining large data sets in order to draw conclusions about the information they contain, increasingly with the aid of specialized systems or software. The insights from data are used to recommend action or to guide decision-making rooted in business context.
  • Life sciences: includes diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, health IT, and biotechnology
  • Unmanned systems: unmanned or autonomous vehicles or systems for air, space, land, or maritime use. Eligible technologies include vehicles or other mobile solutions and their subsystems, components, and software, as well as the data derived from their use.

Approach -- UPDATED!

The LOI process has been revised for FY2020. This year the LOI will call for more information about the proposed technology and why funding its development would be a good investment for the Commonwealth. A completed LOI will address the following topics; the level of detail for each topic is identified within the LOI template (available at the top right of this page, in the Documents box).

  • Market opportunity
  • The technology
  • Your project
  • Team
  • Projected economic outcomes

LOIs are to be a maximum of 2.5 pages and prepared using the template with Arial font, size 11, and with .5" minimum margins. The response for each section should be no more than 1200 characters, including spaces. Applicants may begin submitting their LOI when the RFP is announced in late September; access and instructions will be shared at that time. 

LOIs will be reviewed for eligibility and fit for the FY2020 CRCF program following the November submission deadline. The review will be completed by the RTIAC and a pool of subject matter experts. Each question will be assigned a score, 5-1, from highly promising to poor or not a fit for CRCF. An LOI's overall score will determine whether a proposal will be invited:

  • 25-22: considered 'highly promising' and expected to be invited to submit a proposal
  • 21-18: considered 'promising' and may be invited to submit a proposal
  • 17-15: may be asked to strengthen one or more areas and submit in a future round
  • 14 and below: may be asked to strengthen one or more areas and submit in a future round or will be advised that the technology or project is not a fit for CRCF

All applicants will be notified of their acceptance status in mid-December; those invited to submit an application will receive instructions and those whose LOIs are not selected will receive reviewer feedback. LOI decisions are final.


A single solicitation will be offered in FY2020 through five programs: Commercialization, SBIR Matching Funds, STTR Matching Funds, Matching Funds, and Eminent Researcher Recruitment.

All programs support commercialization goals primarily through technology development efforts in Virginia. CRCF monies additionally may be used for market validation, intellectual property protection, acquisition of materials and supplies, and/or other efforts that further technology commercialization and drive economic growth in Virginia. Projects must be based upon sound scientific principles and present an opportunity for valid research.

Private Sector

Award cap: $75,000
Technology companies in Virginia may submit one application under the following programs:

Commercialization Program

The Commercialization Program assists technology companies in Virginia commercialize high-potential technologies that have a reasonable probability of enhancing the Commonwealth's national and global competitiveness. Projects must be for proof-of-concept, prototype, or minimum viable product (MVP) development work with the intent to enable commercialization. A one-to-one match is required.

Applicants are to be for-profit companies headquartered in and with an express desire to grow the business in Virginia and Virginia must be the primary place of business for the company's senior executives. Additionally, the company may have received no more than:

  • Eight federal SBIR or STTR awards, combined
  • $5 million in combined outside private investment (not including funds from family, friends, founders) and cumulative sales revenue since January 1, 2015
  • Two prior CRCF awards

SBIR and STTR Matching Funds Programs

The SBIR and STTR Matching Funds Programs accelerate commercialization of high-potential research or technologies by Virginia-based technology companies that have received a recent SBIR or STTR Phase I or II award from a federal agency. SBIR and STTR Matching Funds awards advance work supported by the federal award. The associated federal award fulfills the CRCF requirement for a one-to-one match.

Applicants are to be Virginia-based technology companies with the express desire to grow the business in Virginia and that:

  • Received an SBIR or STTR Phase I or II award from a federal agency targeted at the development of eligible research or technologies
    • Phase I applicants to CRCF may have received up to five SBIR and/or STTR awards
    • Phase II applicants to CRCF may have received up to eight SBIR and/or STTR awards
    • The period of performance of the matching SBIR or STTR award must have begun January 1, 2018 or later. If the period of performance of the federal award is complete, the applicant must be actively pursuing commercialization.
  • OR Submitted and are awaiting an award decision or plan to submit an SBIR or STTR Phase I or II application targeting the development of eligible research or technologies for a federal deadline on or before March 31, 2020

Additionally, qualified applicants must:

  • Have received no more than two prior CRCF awards
  • Employ fewer than 12 full-time employees
  • Have at least 51% of its employees reside in Virginia
  • Have at least 51% of its property located in Virginia

Higher Education, Research Consortia, Federal Research Facilities, and Nonprofit Research Organizations

Matching Funds Program

Award cap: $150,000
Organizations may submit up to four applications and of these, a Principal Investigator may submit one.

The Matching Funds Program assists qualified organizations in commercializing research or technologies with high potential for economic benefit to Virginia and/or leveraging federal and private funds designated for commercialization. A one-to-one match is required.

Applicants are to be a(n):

  • Virginia public or private institution of higher education or its associated intellectual property foundation
  • University research consortium that includes Virginia college and university member institutions
  • Federal research facility located in Virginia
  • Other nonprofit research institution in Virginia that was established for and whose primary purpose is performing basic and/or applied research

Applications must leverage federal or private funding designated for commercialization and:

  • Fulfill a matching funds requirement for proposals to non-Commonwealth of Virginia funding sources, to be submitted by March 31, 2020; or
  • Be tied to projects for which awards from non-Commonwealth of Virginia funding sources have been made, but required matching funds have not been secured; or
  • Be tied to expansion or commercialization activity in an existing program.

Eminent Researcher Recruitment Program

Award cap: $250,000
Organizations may submit one application.

The Eminent Researcher Recruitment Program assists public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth acquire or enhance research superiority by supporting the recruitment of a top researcher to the faculty of that institution. The recruited faculty member is expected to engage in technology research, development, and commercialization. Projects must include a private sector partner with business operations in Virginia and a one-to-one match is required, with 50% of the match coming from that partner. CRCF funds may be used for such purposes as start-up package support, such as a one-time supplement to the researcher’s base salary and/or the salary for a researcher(s) accompanying him or her, or for supplies, equipment, instruments, or upgrades to the aforementioned for the researcher’s laboratory.

Applicants are to be a:

  • Virginia public institution of higher education or its associated intellectual property foundation with sufficient technology transfer and research capabilities

The following are acceptable recruitment scenarios:

  • Candidate identified: the university has identified the candidate to hire and intends to make a formal offer
  • Multiple candidates under consideration: the university has identified multiple candidates for recruitment who would strengthen the university in similar ways
  • Candidate profiled: the university has detailed the profile of the candidate to be recruited

Solicitation Roadshow -- UPDATED!

The CRCF team will be in regions across the Commonwealth in late September and early October to present the FY2020 solicitation, including the LOI approach, and answer questions. Often we'll be joined by our colleagues who will discuss additional opportunities for Virginia companies: SBIR and STTR support and seed- and early-stage funding through the CIT GAP Funds. Events are free to attend, but advanced registration is requested due to space limitations at some locations.

Click on the region name for a flyer detailing that event; registration also directly available from the corresponding link.

Region 1 /
Southwest VA
Monday, October 7
3:00 - 4:30 pm
Arlington Friday, October 4
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
Arlington Economic
1100 N. Glebe Road, Suite 1500
Blacksburg Tuesday, October 1
3:30 - 5:00 pm
432 N. Main Street, Suite 220
Charlottesville Thursday, October 3
9:30 - 11:00 am
i.Lab @ UVA
621 Nash Drive
Danville Monday, September 30
3:30 - 5:00 pm
150 Slayton Avenue
Fairfax Wednesday, October 2
3:30 - 5:00 pm
Research Hall, Room 163
Fredericksburg Thursday, October 3
3:00 - 4:30 pm
UMW Center for Economic
1125 Jefferson Davis
Highway, #400
Harrisonburg Wednesday, October 2
1:30 - 3:00 pm
JMU Ice House
127 W. Bruce Street
Lynchburg Tuesday, October 1
9:30 - 11:00 am
Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance
300 Lucado Place
Executive Conference Room
Manassas Tuesday, October 8
11:45 am - 1:00 pm
GMU S&T Campus
10920 George Mason Circle
Room 1004
Norfolk Wednesday, September 25
10:00 - 11:30 am
ODU Strome Entrepreneurial Center
Richmond Tuesday, October 8
12:00 - 1:00 pm
Bio+Tech Park
800 E. Leigh Street
Founders Room
Roanoke Wednesday, October 2
8:30 - 10:00 am
709 S. Jefferson Street
Williamsburg Wednesday, September 25
2:00 - 3:30 pm
W&M Offices in New Town
Discovery 1, 2nd Floor 
Conference Room
5300 Discovery Park Boulevard