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Science Center Awarded NIH Funding for Founders Fellowship

PHILADELPHIA – (October 2, 2023) – The University City Science Center, a catalyst of entrepreneurial activity and economic growth across Greater Philadelphia, is pleased to announce grant funding from the National Institutes of Health. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) Research and Entrepreneurial Development Immersion (REDI) will support the Science Center’s Founders Fellowship through a one-year $250,000 grant with four one-year extensions, making the total expected award $1,250,000 over five years.

The Founders Fellowship cohort being supported through the initial one-year NIA REDI grant is a 12-month educational experience that will provide a cohort of five founders with six months of hands-on learning punctuated with an “elder solutions” capstone project. The second six months of the fellowship will focus on technology translation supported by medical faculty and aging-focused advisors. The fellowship will:

  • expose founders to the aging market for their solutions in a practical and material way,
  • position founders for success in their commercialization efforts, resulting in more successful technology-based startups from NIH-funded and supported researchers,
  • and leverage government investment by increasing the likelihood of raising private capital.

“The Science Center is thrilled to receive funding from the NIH to introduce founders to the aging market and support them in developing solutions in a practical and material way,” says Tiffany Wilson, President & CEO of the Science Center. “Our Founders Fellowship is designed to position academic researchers for success in their commercialization efforts, resulting in more successful startups from NIH-funded and supported researchers; and increase the likelihood of success of private capital by leveraging government investment.”

The Founders Fellowship is designed to redefine the thinking about traditional innovation pathways for academic researchers and introduce entrepreneurial training and startup creation to transform concepts into a business reality. Participants receive a $50,000 stipend and access to the Science Center's robust network of industry experts, investors, and entrepreneurs in addition to facilities at CIC Labs + Innovation Campus in Philadelphia.

The Science Center’s Founders Fellowship launched in 2022 with three fellows who completed the 12-month program in July 2023. Four additional researchers began the second cohort of the fellowship in June of 2023.

The Founders Fellowship is part of a robust suite of best-in-class innovation programming offered by the Science Center. These programs are designed to offer a continuum of technical support for health and science companies, connecting them to local, national, and international networks.

About the Science Center

The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Established in 1963, the nonprofit has been recognized by The Brookings Institution as a best-in-class investor, mentor, and economic development partner for young technology companies. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported hundreds early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services and building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults. For more information visit or follow us at @UCScienceCenter.

Media Contact:

Kristen Fitch

Kristen Fitch

Senior Director, Marketing