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Supporting Innovation: A Catalyst for Breakthroughs

Caltech is a community of entrepreneurs. Yet even a breakthrough process or invention with the potential to address an unmet need in the marketplace faces numerous obstacles on the journey from the conceptual stage to commercial development.

James Rothenberg knew that. A former Caltech trustee, Rothenberg believed in the Institute's mission of building a bridge to help entrepreneurial researchers cross the innovators' "valley of death" and bring their discoveries to market.

Rothenberg and his wife, Anne, launched the Caltech Innovation Initiative in 2009 to provide seed funding for early-stage research that could lead to marketable technologies and help address significant global challenges. Bolstered by an additional $15M gift in 2017 and renamed the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2), the program awards up to two years of support for Caltech professors, students, and postdoctoral scholars to help them mature their research beyond the conceptual stage, to the point where their innovations are attractive to outside investors.

Building on a Legacy

The creativity of Caltech faculty, spurred by the brisk competition for RI2 grants, generates an abundance of worthy projects. The initiative supported four new projects and renewed funding for five more in 2022.

With additional backing, RI2 could help even more campus breakthroughs reach the wider world.

Join the Rothenbergs in supporting the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative.