VIPC Awards Commonwealth Commercialization Fund Grant to ​​Liberty University’s Synthetic Crustacean Innovation

CCF grants support startups, critical early technology testing and market validation efforts

Our goal is to rebuild this supply and enhance the ocean ecosystem as a whole, and we thank VIPC for enabling our team to do so.”

— Max Krieger, Liberty Biology Student

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, UNITED STATES, August 18, 2023/ — The Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC) today announced that Liberty University has been awarded a Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) grant for $73,740 in support of a commercialization project being led by Dr. Christopher Kepley. VIPC’s CCF programs have distributed more than $51 million to Virginia-based startups, entrepreneurs and university-based inventors since 2012.

Based in Lynchburg, Va., Liberty University is an accredited liberal arts institution of higher education. Dr. Kepley is Professor of Immunology in the Molecular and Cellular Sciences department within Liberty University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. This CCF grant will be used to further develop a synthetic crustacean bait that could potentially eliminate the need for forage fish to attract and trap crustaceans.

“We are thrilled to receive a CCF grant from VIPC,” said Max Krieger, Liberty Biology student and leading researcher on the sustainability project. “Global supply of the ocean ecosystem’s foundational species, forage fish, is rapidly decreasing at the hands of overfishing. Our goal is to rebuild this supply and enhance the ocean ecosystem as a whole, and we thank VIPC for enabling our team to do so.” Dr. Wayne Strasser from Liberty University’s Center for Engineering and Research is also part of the sustainability team.

“We are pleased to award a CCF grant to support the commercialization efforts being pursued by Dr. Kepley, Dr. Strasser, and their students at Liberty University,” said Hina Mehta, VIPC’s Director for University Programs. “VIPC’s CCF higher education grant program plays an important role in getting funding to entrepreneurially-minded university researchers as they work to take innovations from lab to market. We are proud to support the Liberty team’s efforts to contribute to the rebuilding of the ocean ecosystem.”

About the Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF)
VIPC’s Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) awards grant funding on a rolling basis to Virginia’s small businesses and university-based innovators. The CCF Higher Education grant program seeks to fund high-potential Virginia-based academic research teams that are developing technologies with strong commercial potential. The grants support early technology and market validation efforts such as customer discovery, market research, business model validation, development of prototypes or a minimum viable product (MVP), customer pilots, intellectual property protection, team development, and more. For more information on funding opportunities and eligibility requirements, or to apply, visit the CCF pages at

About Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)
VIPC: Connecting innovators with opportunities. As the nonprofit operations arm of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority (VIPA), VIPC is the commercialization and seed stage economic development driver in the Commonwealth that leads funding, infrastructure, and policy initiatives to support Virginia’s innovators, entrepreneurs, startups, and market development strategies. VIPC collaborates with local, regional, state, and federal partners to support the expansion and diversification of Virginia’s economy.

Programs include: Virginia Venture Partners (VVP) | VVP Fund of Funds (SSBCI) | Virginia Founders Fund (VFF) |Commonwealth Commercialization Fund (CCF) | Petersburg Founders Fund (PFF) | Smart Communities | The Virginia Smart Community Testbed | The Virginia Unmanned Systems Center | Virginia Advanced Air Mobility Alliance (VAAMA) | The Public Safety Innovation Center |Entrepreneurial Ecosystems | Regional Innovation Fund (RIF) | Federal Funding Assistance Program (FFAP) for SBIR & STTR | University Partnerships | Startup Company Mentoring & Engagement. For more information, please visit Follow VIPC on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Angela Costello, Vice President of Communications
Virginia Innovation Partnership Corporation (VIPC)
[email protected]
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