University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards

(1) University Distinguished Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award & (2) University Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award

The University of Arizona is committed to promoting the translation of research to the public for the benefit of society. The University Distinguished and Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards were created in 2021 to honor those who have demonstrated significant involvement in expanding the impact of research to the public good through innovation and commercialization. The call for nominations is issued and awarded annually.


University of Arizona Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost

University of Arizona Senior Vice President of Research & Innovation


The University Distinguished and Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship Awards were created to recognize individuals who have demonstrated significant impact in any aspect of research, commercialization, or education through innovation and/or entrepreneurship, making exceptional contributions at The University of Arizona.


  • Distinguished recipients will receive a one-time allocation of $5,000 in University funds for research purposes to facilitate further work within their discipline.
  • Early career recipients will receive a one-time allocation of $2,500 in University funds for research purposes to facilitate further work within their discipline.


  • Eligibility for the University Distinguished Innovation & Entrepreneurship award shall be extended to members of the general faculty holding any rank.
  • Eligibility for the University Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award shall be extended to members of the general faculty who are at the assistant rank.  

The University Innovation & Entrepreneurship Faculty Awards are intended for individuals who demonstrate outstanding commitment to innovation in any of the following ways: (1) A significant record of innovation in their field, with a particular focus on translation and impact; (2) Commercial impact improving the lives of Arizonans, and people around the world; (3) Sustained engagement with RII to encourage participation in innovation and impact among the student population; and/or (4) Significant and sustained achievement in entrepreneurial education. Considerations may include (but are not limited to) any of the following:

  • Intellectual Property: invention disclosures, copyrights (including software), patent applications, patents awarded, tangible property (e.g., cell lines), data products, etc.
  • Sponsored Research: primarily industry-sponsored activities, but also could include MTAs, unfunded collaborations, STTR/SBIR, or other government commercialization programs, etc.
  • Use & Licensing: licensed intellectual property and technologies, royalties or other payments to the university generated, products on market, potentially other evidence of impact, etc.
  • Entity Creation: startups launched (including for-profit and non-profit) founded on specific university intellectual property, funds (both dilutive and non-dilutive) raised, with a potential focus on dilutive/follow-on funding illustrating professional confidence, number of employees, societal impact (including people impacted), etc.
  • I&E Career Preparation: student-led innovations and startups under faculty mentorship, incorporation of I&E skills into classroom, curricular development/enhancements based on I&E work, etc.
  • I&E Engagement: serving in a leadership role for university I&E priorities (e.g. Industry-Sponsored Institute, Industry Affiliate Program, IUCRCs, programs that foster entrepreneurialism for students), etc.

Nomination Process

University faculty, staff, students, alumni, and external constituents are invited to make nominations. Each nomination should contain the following:

  1. A  letter of nomination signed by at least four individuals, at least two of whom must be University of Arizona faculty and one RII leadership, including Tech Launch Arizona (TLA). The letter should specify how the nominee meets the criteria for the award.
  2. A current curriculum vitae for the nominee, including aspects of innovation and impact.
  3. Documentation of external impact including:
    • Letters of support (no more than four from students, co-founders, TLA, RII, investors, etc.). Limit 2 pages each.
    • A brief statement (no more than 3 pages) of innovation and impact on society.
    • Letter from the Dean. 

Inclusive excellence is the engine that drives the value and practice of diversity and inclusiveness at the University of Arizona. At the center of Inclusive Excellence is the recognition and acceptance of the talents, world-views, perceptions, cultures and skills that faculty communities bring to the educational enterprise. The University of Arizona recognizes the power of a diverse community and strongly encourages nominations of individuals with varied experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds. As a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the University of Arizona also recognized the importance of contributions of the nominee to the HSI mission.

Submission of Materials

Be aware of the two different options to submit the (1) University Distinguished Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award and the (2) University Early Career Innovation & Entrepreneurship Award. Materials are to be submitted online through Arizona Cultivate.

Review the nomination packet carefully before submitting it to make sure that all of the required material is accurate and included. Incomplete Packets may be delayed.

Selection Process

Nominations are reviewed by a university-wide committee, including prior awardees (if available). Notification of the award winners will be sent to the individual, the Dean of the College and the nomination contact person. Notification of nominations that were not selected will be sent to the Dean of the College and the contact person or an appropriate senior member of the nominating team.


Award recipients will be recognized at a university ceremony honoring university faculty awards.

Due Dates

Monday, December 4, 2023 at 5 p.m.

Awardees will be announced by April of 2024.

For More Information

Please contact: Dr. Adrián Arroyo, +1 (520) 621-2121 or email