Terms and conditions
The AO Strategy Fund (AO SF) was launched by the AO Foundation Board (AOFB) in December 2013 to fund early stage ideas for innovative products, services and technologies strategically relevant to any clinical area – preferably across clinical areas – in musculoskeletal disorders, including orthopedic trauma, spinal conditions, craniomaxillofacial surgery, veterinary surgery, and joint preservation and replacement.
Eligible projects must focus on either:
• Clinical tools and technologies for any element of the entire patient journey in musculoskeletal disorders, from diagnosis to post-operative care; or
• Educational tools, platforms or channels for lifelong training of surgeons.
There is no pre-defined minimum or maximum amount of funding per project; rather each application is evaluated on its own merits. We do not fund projects that are an extension of existing AO business, i.e. no educational events, no preclinical or clinical studies. And we only support early stage ideas with seed funding for direct project costs (no overhead); if a prototype or intellectual property already exists, consider applying to the AO Development Incubator instead.
Anyone with a compelling idea that fits the scope of the AO SF. All successful applicants must become members of an AO clinical division.
Applications are evaluated by the AO SF committee, which submits recommendations to the AOFB for approval. As of December 2019, the committee comprises the following members: Neal Futran (chair), Jean Pierre Cabassu, Jeffrey Wang (AO FB representative).
The application process is split into two phases, with all applicants first submitting a short pre-proposal to outline their idea and the rationale behind it. Successful applicants will be asked to submit a more detailed full proposal, with greater focus on how they will execute their project and – for shortlisted projects – the opportunity to present their idea.
Applications are evaluated for their impact on the mission of the AO and against the following criteria:
1. Strategic impact and need
2. Degree of innovation
3. High potential growth area
6. Quality of team
Financing is provided in tranches, tied to fulfilment of milestones and deliverables. This is managed on a case-by-case basis, depending upon the nature of and the needs of each approved project, and is specified in an agreement between the AO and the applicant covering all aspects of the project including funding, responsibilities and outcomes. Successful applicants are expected to fully document actual expenditure throughout the lifetime of the project. As we only provide seed funding, a prerequisite for approval is formal confirmation of how the project will be funded after the AO SF phase of the project is concluded.
Every approved project is closely monitored against agreed milestones and deliverables on an ongoing basis throughout the lifetime of the project, for which successful applicants must submit regular progress reports.
The deadline for submission of pre-proposals in the current call for applications is January 31, 2020.
Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the pre-proposal phase in March 2020, and successful applicants asked to submit a full proposal by late April.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to present to the AO SF committee on May 16, 2020 and notified of the final outcome in June 2020.
General terms and conditions
Management of the AO SF
The AO SF operates under the management of the AOFB which, as the sole decision-making body, retains all rights to approve, reject or request amendments to any application at its discretion. The decisions of the AOFB are final and binding.
All applications are handled on a confidential basis. Only the AOFB and relevant members of AO management can access the applications, and only for the purpose of evaluation. We may involve external experts to assist with evaluation, if such experts sign non-disclosure agreements. We reserve the right to publicly use the applicant's name and photograph and details about the project for matters relating to the AO SF.
Successful applicants are exclusively responsible for the management and supervision of project personnel, in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements including local laws and regulations.
Intellectual Property (IP)
If the AO SF funds a project for which IP already exists, any such IP shall be licensed to the AO in a separate agreement as a pre-requisite to obtain funding. If a project is fully funded by the AO SF, it is expected that ownership and/or rights for commercial valorisation of new IP resulting from it belongs to the AO. Exceptions to this rule are possible and will be negotiated before the final project's approval.