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BioTEC Program

A representation of the Golden Bear mascot head in molecules.

Biotechnology is a field with virtually no limits and encompasses all techniques that use living organisms, or substances from organisms, for specific purposes. Many biological processes can be harnessed to develop biotechnologies and bio-products that can be used to improve our lives and the health of our planet. However, ideas and technology that are tested in the laboratory cannot be easily realized into action without a sound process for implementation.

West Virginia University Institute of Technology is excited to provide a much needed experiential learning environment for students to develop novel biotechnology and to cultivate entrepreneurial mind-sets to solve real-world social and environmental problems. The mission of the Biology – Teaching Entrepreneurship through Collaboration (BioTEC) Program is to sponsor student-led entrepreneurship in biology to generate innovators that will serve the growing biotechnology economy.

What is the BioTEC Program?

The objective of the BioTEC Program is to sponsor student-led entrepreneurship in biology to generate innovators that will serve the growing biotechnology economy. To achieve this objective, students will be guided through the BioTEC program pathway by participating in 1) the Translational Science course and 2) BioTEC Program Awards.

What is the Translational Science course?

The course is an experiential learning course open to all students. In Translational Science students learn the entrepreneurial mindset needed to get science to market. In the course, students work in startup teams to generate new ideas in biotechnology. They prototype these ideas and then their ideas evolve through the customer discovery and customer validation processes. After completion of the Translational Science course select team ideas will be chosen for BioTEC Program Product Awards which can award up to $1200 of support to develop ideas.

What types of projects/products does the BioTEC Program Awards fund?

Innovations with applications to Biology. Some examples include: clean/green technologies, veterinary and healthcare devices, sports and fitness, agriculture and food-based technologies. To be eligible, teams must have at minimum one student who has completed the Translational Science course.

  • BioTEC Product Award – $600. Intended for early-stage teams who have not previously received BioTEC funding. Available to at least two BioTEC teams each semester awarded. 
  • BioTEC Venture Award - $1,200. Intended for more advanced teams who have a product and are working on commercialization. 
How do we know if our project is a fit for the BioTEC Program?

If your project or product is an innovation that will benefit people or life on this planet and has applications of biology or biotechnology, then it’s a fit! Any WVU student in any discipline.

We are currently students, but one or both of us are graduating — can we still apply for BioTEC Program Awards?

Two enrolled students are required to be on a team for each semester in which you are applying. Teams must have at minimum one student who has completed the Translational Science course.  If you are graduating, but plan to continue with the project, you will need to recruit additional students to your team for application of funding in later semesters.

I’m an independent student looking for a team. Can I apply to the BioTEC Program?

If you are a student with an innovation, you will eventually need a team consisting of at least one other student to qualify for the BioTEC Program each semester and at least one student who has completed the Translational Science course. If you are a student looking to apply, contact the BioTEC Program for help recruiting additional students.

Can my team apply if we didn’t invent the innovation?

Yes, teams may apply if they are working on technologies invented by faculty or other students 1) if the intent of the university is to further develop the product or innovation for commercialization and 2) if the current student team members are playing meaningful roles in the process.

I’m a faculty member, if I recruit some students to help me would it make me eligible to apply for the BioTEC Program funding?

Yes, so as long as the recruited students are playing meaningful roles and are driving the innovation development and commercialization. Students would serve as the entrepreneurial leaders of the team, regardless of the origin of the idea or invention.

How and when do I apply?

Completed applications are accepted via

There are two application cycles each year – deadlines in August/September and January. Teams can complete the application at any time before the deadline. All teams will be notified via email their status within two weeks of the deadline date. If you are accepted into the program for the semester, your notification email will include program details and a schedule.