Frequently asked questions

Development incubator resources


  • What is in/out of scope?

    The area of focus is improvement in patient care as it applies to orthopedic trauma, spinal conditions, craniomaxillofacial surgery, and veterinary surgery.


    Out of scope are:

    • Surgical instruments

    • Pure research (unless it translates into product development)

    • Education

    • Pharmaceuticals

    • Ideas where the IP is not protectable

    • IP older than five years


  • What is expected of a successful applicant for the AO's development incubator funding stream?

    • Patentable idea or patent application aiming to improve the treatment of patients with musculoskeletal diseases.

    • To engage during the evaluation with the development incubator to confirm inventiveness and novelty and drafting a patent unless a patent already exists or has been applied for.

    • To work with the program manager to support the development and execution of the proof of concept (PoC) phase.

    • To provide a point of contact/feedback to PoC researchers and developers.

    • To support the developing organization with regular reviews and site visits.

    • To invest time and effort leading up to the initial development of a PoC.


  • What can you expect from the AO's Innovation Translation Center, and its Technology Transfer office in particular?

    Absolute confidentiality—a non-disclosure agreement will be signed as a first step in the approval process.

    Support (expert know-how, manpower and financial) in the following tasks to achieve a Proof of Concept (PoC)

    • IP protection and “freedom to operate” for the PoC phase

    • Project planning and execution

    • Access to the AO network

    • Finding appropriate partners for the concept valorization

  • What level of funding is available?

    The AO is able to invest up to US $3 million development incubator funding over five years.

    It is critical to provide as much detail as possible about the amount, timing, and type of funding required by your proposal. In addition, you should also provide further explanation and justification as to how funds will be utilized and describe in detail the corresponding outcomes and deliverables.

  • Is it possible for additional funding partners to be involved?

    Depending on the project, additional partners may be involved.


  • Who evaluates the applications?

    Each application will be evaluated by the team that manages the AO's development incubator funding stream, and ultimately by the board. The board reviews all received proposals twice a year, in June and December, and each applicant will receive feedback within two months.

  • How will my application be evaluated?

    1. Based on the nonconfidential information submitted, the team selects a long list of projects that fit our focus area, fulfill the basic requirements for ideas, and have promising potential for valorization.

    2. In close cooperation with the inventor and experts from the AO network, the idea will be rated with respect to IP, technical feasibility, clinical benefits, and market potential.

  • What happens after I send in the application form?

    Shortlisted candidates will be invited to discuss their idea in person with the board.

General terms and conditions

  • Confidentiality

    All applications will be handled on a confidential basis. Only the AO Foundation Board, the board, and relevant members of AO Foundation Executive Management will have access to the applications, and only for the purpose of evaluation. Experts will be involved only under a nondisclosure agreement. For those applications that gain funding approval, the AO Foundation reserves the right to publicly use the applicant's name, photograph, and details about the project for related matters.

  • Intellectual property (IP)

    A cooperation contract will be negotiated to define the rights concerning the involved IP. Usually, any income generated by the projects will be shared between the AO and the inventor. The relative shares depend on the status of the idea when the common project started.


For any other questions, please contact the team.