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Keller Pathway Fellowship Program

The year-long Keller Pathway Fellowship program provides a multifaceted opportunity for UC Davis innovators and aspiring/early-stage entrepreneurs to expand their networks and move ideas out of the lab and into the world.

In particular, the program provides women, cross-disciplinary researchers and other underrepresented university-based entrepreneurs a foundation for developing their business ideas. The program explicitly recognizes the power of cohort-based mentorship and support in defining and growing business ideas, strategies and networks.

Watch a short video about our Keller Pathway Fellowship and our Business Development Fellowship Programs.

Watch a short video about our Keller Pathway Fellowship and our Business Development Fellowship Programs.

Program Highlights

  • Grow a foundation and network to commercialize your business idea
  • Designed for postdoctoral, Ph.D, masters and undergraduate students
  • Priority given to women, cross-disciplinary and underrepresented applicants
  • Attend a three-day Entrepreneurship Academy
  • Participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition
  • Monthly mentoring lunches

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. | Gallagher Hall, Executive Board Room 

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

  • 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. | Gallagher Hall, Executive Board Room  

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 | UC Davis Alumni Center
  • Workshops and competition deadlines (schedule forthcoming)

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.

We recognize the extraordinary personal and professional challenges that the coronavirus pandemic poses. Due to these unprecedented circumstances, we have extended the deadline to apply for the 2020/21 Business Development Fellowship program. 

Applications for the 2020/21 cohort are closed. Applications for the 2021/22 cohort will open in the spring.

Note: If you are accepted to the program, ask your advisor to email Senior Program Manager Niki Peterson a letter in support of your participation in the program.
Sample Letter of Support

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.


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)

Meet our 2020/21 Keller Fellows

Keller Pathway Fellows

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