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ASPIRE to Innovate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program


The ASPIRE to Innovate Postdoctoral Fellowship program has two primary objectives: 1) To enable the commercialization of technologies discovered at Vanderbilt University and 2) To provide a biomedical PhD scientist with a structured training opportunity to learn how to transform a technology into a company.

This pilot initiative will hire a biomedical sciences postdoc to launch a successful start-up leveraging intellectual property of Vanderbilt University. Fellows will work full-time to develop a commercialization strategy on a particular technology while immersing themselves in the local bioscience entrepreneurial ecosystem. Applicants may select from the two proposed technologies provided in this call for applications. The fellow also will assist in organizing and hosting the Enabling Innovation Initiative (eI2) seminar series in collaboration with the Dean’s office and BRET Office of Career Development in order to network with local innovators. The program will provide extensive mentorship, supplemental training, and networking opportunities to give the fellow the tools to transition from academic researcher to entrepreneur.

The ASPIRE to Innovate Fellow will be supervised by the Associate Dean for Research, the Senior Associate Dean for Biomedical Research, Education and Career Development, a member of Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC), and the PI of the technology chosen for the pilot program.

The selected individual will be appointed as postdoctoral fellow within the BRET office and provided with a salary and benefits. Appointment will be for an initial year and extendable to a second and final year, provided satisfactory progress towards commercialization objectives has been made.  Fellows will have the opportunity to become a co-founder in the new venture. They also will have access to the principle investigator and lab where the intellectual property was developed and will be provided office space.


  • Current Vanderbilt biomedical sciences graduate student or postdoctoral fellow.
  • Available to start in full-time postdoctoral position on July 1, 2021.

Ideal candidates will:

  1. Have taken the ASPIRE module(s), Management and Business Principles for Scientists and/or Technology Commercialization
  2. Have demonstrated an interest in entrepreneurship and technology commercialization through past attendance or participation in any number of related programs such as the Life Science TN/BioTN Tech Venture/SciPreneur Challenge, Enabling Innovation Initiative (ei2) seminars, Wond’ry programming, relevant ASPIRE PhD Career Stories seminars, ASPIRE/other Internships, or other relevant programs.
  3. Exhibit strong ability to work independently, be proactive, and energetic
  4. Demonstrate a willingness to learn and be coachable, and possess an entrepreneurial mindset.

How to Apply:

  1. Complete SurveyMonkey application:
  2. Upload to SurveyMonkey application a 1-page Personal Statement explaining your motivation for applying for this program, your project of interest and how your expertise will add value.
  3. Upload to SurveyMonkey application a 1-3 page Resume

Deadline to apply:
noon, Monday, March 15th, 2021  EXTENDED  to noon, Monday, March 22th, 2021

Notification: selected participant will be notified in early April, 2021
Start Date: July 1, 2021

Questions should be directed to:

The ASPIRE to Innovate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program has been made possible through a partnership between the Vanderbilt School of Medicine Basic Sciences, Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization and The Wond’ry.