woman standing outside with buildings in background and the glare of sun lighting her face

Keller Pathway Fellowship Program

Explore the market potential of your business idea.

The program provides a multifaceted opportunity for UC Davis innovators to expand your network and move research and ideas off campus and into the world.

The current program runs September 2021 to June 2022. We will open applications for next year's program in spring 2022. Please check back then.


The Keller Pathway Fellowship program is designed for UC Davis Ph.D, masters and undergraduate students, and postdoctoral researchers who have a specific business idea.

In particular, the program provides women, cross-disciplinary researchers and other underrepresented university-based entrepreneurs a foundation for developing your business ideas.

The program explicitly recognizes the power of cohort-based mentorship and support in defining and growing business ideas, strategies and networks.

woman grad student in food science lab
Macarena Farcuh | Ph.D. Candidate | Horticulture and Agronomy Graduate Group, Plant Sciences

The fellowship has filled me with enthusiasm to continue on this endless road of researching, learning, developing, applying and consequently solving problems that can help change the world.

Snapshot: Your Year as a Fellow

  • The Pathway | Program Requirements 2020/21
  • The Keller Pathway Fellowship program supports and encourages aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs who want to change the world. Our curriculum is designed to guide you on your path. All program costs are covered by the Keller Pathway Fellowship endowment.

    UC Entrepreneurship Academy. You must attend the full virtual program. We email the academy program to fellows in September.

    Opening Fellows’ Luncheon: September 21 | noon–1:30 p.m. | Zoom 

    Monthly Fellows’ Luncheons (up to two excused absences allowed): noon–1 p.m. | Guest speakers TBA | Zoom

    • October 12, 2020 
    • November 16, 2020 
    • December 7, 2020 
    • January 11, 2021 
    • February 22, 2021 
    • March 14, 2021 
    ​• April 12, 2021 
    • May 9, 2021 

    Closing Dinner: June 13, 2021 | 5–7 p.m. 

    Enter and participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition at least through the second round. The Big Bang! is a forum for students, researchers and faculty to collaborate, develop and test business visions and plans. You will receive invaluable feedback from industry executives, entrepreneurs, business leaders, venture capitalists and angel investors on how to create and refine your business concept. 

    Attend Big Bang! Business Competition Workshops and Special Events

    • 2020/21 Big Bang! Launch | October 20
    • Workshops, biweekly Connections with near peers, and competition deadlines
  • How to Apply
  • Preference for the Keller Pathway Fellowship is given to UC Davis–affiliated women researchers, postdoctoral research fellows, graduate students, faculty and staff in science and engineering, and/or researchers from interdisciplinary backgrounds who have attended, or plan to attend, one of the institute’s entrepreneurship academies.

    Interested candidates must complete an application that includes educational background information, a brief description of applicant interest, and a professional or educational reference.

    Selection Criteria

    Our selection committee considers applications in accordance with the following criteria:
    1st priority: Individuals with a stated intent to enter the Big Bang! Business Competition.
    2nd Priority: Women researchers actively involved in science or engineering with an interdisciplinary research concept.
    3rd priority: Women researchers in science or engineering—any discipline. 
    4th priority: Any researcher from an interdisciplinary science and/or engineering background.

    Other desirable candidate qualities include, but are not limited to, those interested in:
    • Becoming an entrepreneur
    • Exploring the commercial potential of a concept
    • Advancing an interesting research or business concept
    • Networking in an entrepreneurship ecosystem

    Note: Participation by University of California affiliates (faculty, staff, graduate students or postdoctoral fellows from UC schools other than UC Davis) will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  • Schedule
  • The Keller Pathway Fellowship program spans one academic year, September through June. 

    • Opening dinner with Business Development Fellows
    • Monthly mentoring meetings and Big Bang! Business Competition workshops begin.

    • Monthly mentoring meetings and Big Bang! workshops continue.
    • Pathway Fellows enter Big Bang! Business Competition (January).

    • Monthly mentoring meetings, Big Bang! workshops and the Big Bang! Business Competition continue.
    • Closing dinner with Business Development Fellows (May or June).