Empowering the Next Generation of Academic Innovators

A unique fellowship opportunity to develop entrepreneurship skills and gain business fluency while advancing the development and commercialization of impact-driven technologies at the University of Hawai’i.

This UH systemwide program provides one year of funding support and a $10,000 research stipend for promising PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers who have the potential to become productive innovators to advance UH-developed, impact-driven technologies within the scope of blue economy and interrelated areas of research.



  • PhD candidates
  • Postdoctoral researchers
Note: This fellowship requires a Faculty Sponsor


  • Faculty research labs
  • UH-affiliated technology companies



  • Intellectual Property training
  • National Science Foundation I-Corps
  • Professional development workshops on organizational leadership, science communication, cross-functional collaboration, etc.


  • Technology Transfer for IP protection, marketing, licensing, and strategize pathways to commercialization
  • Industry mentorship to assess market potential and commercial viability


  • 1-year of funding support
  • Research and supplies stipend
  • Laboratory facilities and equipment
  • Opportunities for funding & continued technology development


Dani’s research interests focus on the inclusion of local ecological and indigenous knowledge systems in fisheries science, and how these systems can uncover historical changes in fish population dynamics. Her current work employs a novel combination of local knowledge, catch data, and environmental DNA to understand changes in juvenile shark populations in an ecologically important nursery habitat.

FELLOW Danielle Bartz
PhD Candidate, Marine Biology Graduate Program, UH Mānoa
Member, Hawai’i Cooperative Fishery Research Unit

FACULTY SPONSOR Dr. Timothy Grabowski
Adjunct Associate Professor, Marine Science Department, UH Hilo; Marine Biology Graduate Program, UH Mānoa; and Unit Leader, Hawai‘i Cooperative Fishery Research Unit

PROJECT eDNA Filtration System allows for the simultaneous filtration of seawater in preparation for environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses to better address ecological questions in aquatic communities.

Jon’s research focuses on body composition and its association to disease risk. Utilizing knowledge of the available clinical and field body composition assessment techniques, Jon aims to refine technologies by improving their assessment accuracy, while identifying aspects more closely related to risk (or targets for intervention). He hopes to use his experience with diet and exercise to promote disease prevention and reduce the burden of disease across multiple conditions including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

FELLOW Jonathan Bennett, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, UH Cancer Center, UH Mānoa

Chief Scientific Officer and Professor, Epidemiology & Population Sciences, UH Cancer Center, UH Mānoa

PROJECT Body Composition Assessment Technology leverages highly effective obesity models to increase awareness and early detection and intervention of body composition risk factors for obesity

Suman’s research area focuses on the design and development of novel functional materials for energy conversion and storage applications. Having a Ph.D. in Chemical Sciences with emphasis in polymer nanocomposites processing and characterization, Suman has expertise in development of hybrid nanomaterial structures based on metal oxides/sulfides and chalcogenides.

FELLOW Suman Chhetri, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UH Mānoa

Associate Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, UH Mānoa

PROJECT Innovative Desalination Technology through solar thermal conversion helps solve freshwater shortage issues and replace existing energy-intensive processes with sustainable, green technologies for water purification

Kaylee received her B.S. in Chemistry from Clemson University and her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from Colorado State University. Currently at UH Manoa, she is a postdoctoral researcher in the Ray Research Group in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering. Her research efforts have broadly focused on the development of low-cost electrochemical sensors and fluidic devices for bioanalytical applications.

FELLOW Kaylee Clark, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UH Mānoa

Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering, UH Mānoa, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Mānoa

PROJECT A Wearable Sensor for Detecting Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault Drugs is a stylish and functional ring equipped with integrated sensors for personal detection of Rohypnol in beverages to mitigate drug-facilitated assaults

Carl’s research focuses on wastewater surveillance of respiratory and influenza viruses. He aims to develop new assays that improve the detection and quantification of these viruses, with a particular focus on using amplicon sequencing and bioinformatics to identify new variants. He obtained his Master’s degree in Earth Science & Environmental Engineering from the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, and his Bachelor’s degree in Biological and Environmental Chemistry from Chungnam National University in South Korea.

FELLOW Min Ki (Carl) Jeon
PhD Candidate, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UH Mānoa

Professor, Water Resources Research Center, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, UH Mānoa

PROJECT Novel Metagenomic Sequencing Technology rapidly characterizes influenza diversity and dynamics in wastewater to better inform flu vaccine development

With roots tracing back to Germany, Ludwig is a PhD student at UH Manoa in the Lehrer Lab, whose research primarily focuses on enhancing the yields of recombinant protein production and refining workflows for vaccine development, leveraging his strong background in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. He aims to contribute to the improvement of efficacy and accessibility, and make an impact on global health.

FELLOW Ludwig Mayerlen
PhD Candidate, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Mānoa

Associate Professor, Department of Tropical Medicine, Medical Microbiology and Pharmacology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Mānoa

PROJECT Expression Vector System offers a fully customizable product that can be used for the expression of almost any protein and provide high-yield production of vaccine antigens

Christopher’s primary research interests lie in gene therapy and synthetic biology, particularly how to effectively translate scientific advancements to real-world applications by bridging the gap between basic research and practical solutions. He aims to explore various business applications that can amplify the impact of his research efforts.

FELLOW Christopher Tran
PhD Candidate, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Mānoa

Assistant Professor, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, UH Mānoa

PROJECT Programmable Genome Insertion Tool actively and accurately incorporates DNA into the genome of somatic cells at specific locations to develop clinical therapies that use insertional vectors to treat genetic disease

This program is funded by a $2.4 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to develop and advance technologies and opportunities in Hawaiʻi by providing experiential education and cross-disciplinary innovation and entrepreneurship training in order to build a diversified and resilient economy, and a stronger, more sustainable workforce for the state.


The Patents2Products program is open to PhD candidates and postdocs with outstanding potential as future STEM leaders. Applications will be evaluated on the basis of two review criteria: intellectual merit and broader impact.

Selected participants will use their research skills and experience to advance intellectual property developed at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) from early-stage, proof-of-concept prototypes in the lab into minimum viable products toward commercialization.

If you are a PhD student that has not completed a candidacy exam please elaborate about your current status in the program (i.e., course load, % effort dedication to research per week, etc.) and other relevant details the review panel should be aware of.

Individuals that are supported through other funding mechanisms during the duration of this fellowship. If you currently have funding support, you are encouraged to apply, however if selected for the program you will need to ensure you only have one funding source of support at the time of award.

Yes, you are encouraged to apply! Hiring will be conducted in collaboration with the faculty sponsor and their unit (i.e., College of Engineering, John. A. Burns School of Medicine, Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute, etc.) to facilitate the onboarding process.

Before submitting a fellowship application, the applicant must identify a faculty who will serve as a sponsor (known as the faculty sponsor) and supervise the training and research experience throughout the duration of the program. The applicant’s faculty sponsor should be an active investigator in the area of the proposed research. The applicant should work with the faculty sponsor in preparing the application.

Following receipt of the faculty sponsor letter of intent (LOI), potential fellows will be provided with instructions to submit an application.

Please contact if you are interested in more information on how to become a mentor or advisor to Patents2Products fellows.

Patents2Products Fellows will have access to:

  • Funding & Resources
    • 1-year paid position
    • Research supplies stipend
    • Access to lab facilities and specialized equipment
    • Future funding and venture opportunities
  • Education & Training 
    • Lean Startup education,
    • Intellectual Property training
    • Technology transfer guidance
    • Professional development workshops
  • Mentorship & Network
    • Industry mentorship from subject matter experts
    • Ongoing coaching sessions
    • Corporate partners, mentors, advisors
    • R&D collaboration opportunities

Patents2Products Fellows will gain:

  • Business fluency to broaden their academic training
  • Professional experience developing business models to advance technologies
  • Expanded network of local and global partners, mentors and advisors

Faculty sponsors will gain:

  • Technically trained personnel to support their research impact
  • Additional funding and resources to advance their technology development
  • Collaboration and partnership opportunities

Patents2Products fellows will be in a paid position at the University of Hawaii. Compensation will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

STEP 1: Candidates that are interested must first identify a UH faculty sponsor to submit a Letter of Intent (LOI) before gaining access to the  application process. A collaborating faculty sponsor LOI submission is required to apply. Please include:

  • Faculty sponsor’s name, title, unit/department and research area information
  • Proposed title
  • Synopsis describing the proposed work in sufficient detail to permit an appropriate selection of reviewers
  • Describe your research environment
    • Identify currently existing laboratory facilities, state of the art equipment, and resources directly applicable to the proposed work
    • Indicate current trainees and capacity to support your Patents2Products fellow

STEP 2: Upon receipt and acceptance of your LOI, Patents2Products candidates will be invited to apply for the program. Full application requirements include:

  1. CV
  2. Personal Statement (up to 2 pages)
  3. Reference letters (3 including one from a faculty sponsor)
  4. Unofficial transcript
  5. Research proposal (up to 3 pages)

A Letter of Intent, which is required to apply, is due by Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. The full application, which must be completed by both the program applicant and a faculty sponsor, is due by May 15, 2023.

For more information, email or call the Office of Innovation and Commercialization at (808) 956-9024.



JAN. 18, 2023
Fellowship opportunity & application process
FEB. 15, 2023
Faculty sponsor letter of intent due
MAY 15, 2023
Full application due
JUNE 1, 2023

Selection committee review

JULY 1, 2023

Award announcement

AUG 9, 2023

Patents2Products program begins

*Dates are subject to change

(808) 956-9024

Office of Innovation and Commercialization
2425 Campus Road Sinclair 10
Honolulu, HI 96822