Supporting Innovation

The technology of tomorrow starts at Caltech today. Your partnership with the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative empowers our researchers. We invite you to join us in honoring Jim and realizing his vision of changing the world with Caltech.

The Rothenberg Innovation Initiative at Caltech

The Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2) program is an internal grant program that funds high-risk, high-reward projects that are focused on technologies that address significant challenges in the world at large, with commercial potential to address an unmet need in the marketplace.

Originally called the Caltech Innovation Initiative (CI2), in 2017 the program was renamed the Rothenberg Innovation Initiative (RI2) in honor of Caltech Trustee James F. Rothenberg and his wife Anne Rothenberg. The Rothenbergs have supported the CI2 program since its inception in 2009, and their generous endowed gift will provide ongoing, essential seed funding for research that addresses pivotal problems and could lead to commercially useful technologies. These internal grants give Caltech faculty support to develop bold ideas, bridging the gap between early-stage research and the proof of concept data often required for later-stage government support or venture capital investment necessary to introduce a novel technology into the marketplace.

The projects funded by the initiative span a broad range of science and engineering technical areas Accordingly, RI2 has in the past supported energy and green technologies, information technology, neuroscience, biomedicine, biotechnology, and nanomaterial research projects.

Since the program began in 2009:

  • 54 projects have been funded, 35 of which received a second year of funding)
  • 40 projects have disclosed inventions
  • 95 patents filed
  • 2 projects resulted in licenses to large corporations
  • 6 projects have resulted in startups
  • 7 projects have startups pending

With its track record of successful strategic investment, Caltech's Rothenberg Innovation Initiative is poised to grow. If you are interested in supporting innovation and the RI2 program at Caltech, please contact Bettie Woods, Executive Director of Development, Individual Giving,  or Case Cortese, Director for Innovation, New Ventures & Entrepreneurship.