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Innovation Delaware (InDE) Fellowship

A catalyst for translating ideas, discoveries and inventions from the laboratory to the marketplace. 

About the Fellowship Program

The InDE Fellowship Program brings together Innovation & Entrepreneurship ecosystem leaders to provide Delaware scientists and researchers with the critical knowledge, skillsets, and connections to successfully translate discoveries and inventions from the lab to the marketplace. The process of translating scientific discoveries to commercial products is often long, inefficient, and risky. An early focus on commercialization of discoveries and comprehensive founder support can add efficiency to the process and make innovations more quickly available to markets. But the path to commercialization requires skills which are not taught in science and engineering curricula. Additionally, they are not taught in many popular start up methodologies (such as lean start up) where the value of research translation is seldom considered.

Researchers often receive little training in entrepreneurship and the steps necessary to transform an idea into a product ready for commercialization. This gap in entrepreneurship knowledge presents a significant barrier to translation. And even after venture creation, the knowledge gaps regarding commercialization and scaling often remain.

Too often, busy professionals are so focused on bench or classroom responsibilities that the prospect of pursuing the commercial potential of their discoveries and making a positive societal impact is not at the forefront of their thinking. The InDE Fellowship will provide scientific innovators in Delaware with a seamless, comprehensive nexus for gaining knowledge, resources, and connections, thereby facilitating commercialization.

Abi Nolin Headshot

Abi Nolin

Material Science and Engineering

"The InDE Fellowship experience has been invaluable. The knowledge, skill building, and connections I received far exceeded my expectations. I gained valuable insight and broader context for translating my research."

Program Features & Benefits

Fellowship participants benefit from a series of fifteen, 4-hour workshop sessions hosted at a variety of university-based and industry-focused innovation centers in Delaware. All sessions emphasize development of critical knowledge, skillsets and connections needed to successfully bring new science and technology-based products and services to market. They also focus on experiential learning, insights gained from practice and networking.

Workshop Sessions. Each session engages leaders and subject matter experts from Delaware’s I & E ecosystem – including experienced innovators & entrepreneurs; industry, government, trade association and academic leaders; business service providers; media representatives; and investors. Collectively, these leaders and experts will share insights and experiences pertaining to:

Developing a personal brand / elevator pitch Authentic networking Business basics for scientists
Industry-specific opportunities and pitfalls Innovation & entrepreneurship processes Customer segments and ecosystems
Value proposition and customer discovery Business modelling Leveraging internal and external networks
Legal considerations Effectual logic User-centered design thinking
Investments and Investors Leadership, culture, & teams Storytelling
September 27, 2024 October 11, 2024 October 25, 2024 November 8, 2024 November 22, 2024
December 13, 2024 January 10, 2025 January 30, 2025** January 31, 2025** February 14, 2025
February 28, 2025 March 7, 2025 March 28, 2025 April 18, 2025 May 2, 2025
*Advanced notice will be provided for any schedule changes.
**Denotes the InDE Fellowship Retreat - Thursday 1PM-5PM / Friday 9AM-1PM

Practical Experience. Participants will select one of three practical experience pathways to focus on during the Fellowship program: (1) startup business, (2) asset development, or (3) intrapreneurial venture. Fellows who select the startup business pathway will utilize learnings and connections to initiate or accelerate the process of translating their own inventions and discoveries into marketable products. Fellows selecting the asset development pathway will seek to devise and validate a viable commercialization strategy for a university or government-owned technology. And Fellows who select the intrapreneurial venture pathway will seek to develop a new product or business model for a company-owned technology. All Fellows will share periodic updates on their progress during workshops and receive individualized feedback and guidance from program mentors.

Innovation Showcase. The InDE Fellowship program will conclude with an Innovation Showcase in which Fellows pitch their startups, asset development projects and intrapreneurial ventures to an audience that includes workshop presenters, mentors and other invited guests. Follow on funding may be awarded to support the most promising startups, projects and ventures.

    Eligibility, Selection Criteria and Cohort Composition


    The Fellowship is open to anyone interested in learning about, and gaining experience with the process of translating research-based discoveries and insights from the lab to the market. This will typically include industry research scientists, graduate students in STEM fields, postdoctoral researchers, university faculty and independent inventors.

    Selection Criteria

    Involvement in research, demonstrated interest in innovation and entrepreneurship as well as a strong commitment to prioritizing participation in workshop sessions will serve as the primary selection criteria for evaluating fellowship applications.

    Cohort Composition

    The ideal cohort will include both industry and university participants with varied backgrounds and disciplinary interests. The  cohort will be limited to no more than 15 Fellows.


    Application Process

    To be considered for selection as an InDE Fellow, prospective participants must complete an application form and submit a letter of nomination. An interview may also be required.

    The application form asks prospective Fellows to provide background information and detail their specific interests. Letters of nomination may be provided by a supervisor, faculty advisor or anyone who is well positioned to comment on the applicant’s interest and suitability for selection as an InDE Fellow. Letters should specify whether the nominator (or their organization) intends to support the program fee for the applicant (see below).

    Applications Open: April 1, 2024
    Applications Close: June 14, 2024
    There is no cost to apply!

    Program Fee

    The program fee helps to ensure sustainability of the InDE Fellowship by covering all costs associated with participation, including workshop materials, individual mentorship, speaker honoraria, facility rentals, food and more. The fee is payable from any corporate, university, non-profit or personal funding source, as available and appropriate. Financial assistance may be available for well qualified applicants.

    •  Industry participant: $6,950
    • University/Non-profit: $4,950
    • Pre-revenue or early stage startup: $4,950
    Cohort 1

    Coalition for Translational Entrepreneurship

    The InDE Fellowship is offered by the Coalition for Translational Entrepreneurship (CTE) as a collaborative project of Horn Entrepreneurship and the College of Engineering at the University of Delaware. Please contact Dan Freeman, Founding Director, Horn Entrepreneurship (freemand@udel.edu) or Mark Mirotznik, Associate Dean for Research & Entrepreneurship (mirotzni@udel.edu) to explore opportunities to participate, collaborate, sponsor a Fellow or seek additional information. Delaware State University and Delaware Technical Community College are also CTE partners.