Applicants aren’t prohibited from proposing projects in other sectors included in CIT’s R&T Roadmap. However, it’s unlikely that R&D projects outside of the focus areas would receive “equal” consideration by VRIC.
The peer review panel would score the proposal using the same criteria, including the potential that the commercialization of the patented invention would create jobs and have an economic impact.
However, VRIC will not simply fund proposals in the order or rank at which they were scored. The Committee is interested not only in getting an individual invention to the marketplace, but in creating a critical mass or cluster in a niche research area that will continue to generate new inventions, spin-off companies, etc., eventually creating a self-sustaining research enterprise. In the proposal, the researchers would have to present a compelling case that the non-focus sector has the potential to continue to generate new patents and new products.
Ultimately, it is up to the lead public university applicant whether to put forward an R&D (plus commercialization) project in a non-focus sector as one of the two proposals they are allowed to submit.