Accelerator Awards Industry Experts

Industry Experts Overview

The Accelerator Awards program at Ohio State provides funding to bridge the gap between academic research projects and market ready technologies, with the intent of creating Ohio-based startup companies. Funds support milestone driven projects that de-risk and externally validate the commercial viability of a technology. The scope of the Accelerator Awards extends beyond research-based activities; key to successful technology development is engagement with external industry-based resources that guide the project team to ensure technology development is informed and viable for commercialization.    

Industry experts are volunteers, external to Ohio State, and guide the principal investigator during the Accelerator Awards application and funded project period. Guidance is focused on helping a principal investigator (PI) identify capabilities or specifications that need to be demonstrated for the technology to attract potential licensees or future investments, corroborate market need and target markets, define technology requirements for market adoption, and validate that technical milestones are appropriate, achievable, and relevant to commercialization goals. The goal is to ensure the project and milestones are geared for commercialization and serve to increase the value of the technology.   

Benefits for Project Team

  • Objective guidance from experienced professionals.
  • Development of a commercially relevant product that solves a problem with a viable market need.
  • Understanding of differentiating features critical for adoption and barriers to overcome.

Benefits for Industry Expert

  • Engagement with Ohio State to support advancing innovative technologies to the local startup ecosystem.
  • Opportunity to share knowledge and expertise through advising faculty entrepreneurs.

Industry Expert Experience & Role

Industry experts are external to Ohio State and have substantial industry experience in a related technology sector that enables them to have technical understanding and application of the technology in the competitive market space. Industry experts should understand the needs of end users, customer segments, and buyers that would advocate for adoption and purchase of the product and recognize the barriers to commercial success. Industry experts may represent key opinion leaders, voice of the customer, potential licensees, or an end user in the target market. They have expertise in the proposed application field and may have experience with an established company in the target market. Their role is to provide an independent corroboration that the proposed product solves a real-world market need, and that the proposed milestones adequately de/risk or validate the technology such that is it positioned to attract follow-on funding or licensees.  


  1. Industry Expert:
  • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Financial payment, or incentives are not permitted. There cannot exist any financial conflict of interest, and the expert cannot also function as a paid vendor performing work on project milestones.
  • We cannot award the industry expert any preferential treatment or guaranteed rights to license IP developed under an Accelerator Award.
  • The industry expert will not be involved in the day-to-day activities of the project and will not provide any contribution to intellectual property.
  • Expected contributions and efforts are refining project milestones during the application and ongoing assessment of milestone achievement and outcomes. Industry Experts are encouraged engage throughout an awarded project. 
  • The industry expert should declare upfront any interest as a potential licensee; conflict of interest matters will be assessed on a project-by-project basis.
  • The industry expert must sign a confidentiality agreement.


  1. Principal Investigator:
  • Be open to guidance from experienced professionals.
  • Initiate a confidentiality agreement prior to engaging.
  • Drive engagement with industry expert.
    • During the Pre-proposal stage efforts should focus on identifying an industry expert and having initial conversations. For the full application stage, industry experts should be engaged to provide guidance and input on the project milestones and a letter of support that is required as part of the full application.
  • Allow reasonable time to engage with industry experts and receive their letter of support.
  • Proactively reach out to if experiencing difficulties engaging an industry expert.


  1. Accelerator Award program:
  • Provide assistance and guidance to support faculty engaging industry experts.
  • If requested, can facilitate initial identification and introduction of potential industry experts, provided however that applicants are responsible for engaging and working with an industry expert(s) they feel will provide the best compliment to their application/project.


Interested in serving as an Accelerator Award Industry Expert

If interested in connecting with Ohio State to help advance technologies towards startup commercialization, please reach out for further information on the Accelerator Awards and Industry Experts.