To better link university innovations and the marketplace, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation recently launched a initiative to bring together so-called proof-of-concept centers into a single network.

According to a joint report by the Kansas City, Mo.-based entrepreneurship group and the Max Planck Institute of Economics, proof-of-concept centers are an effective means of meeting both university and commercial needs by providing seed funding, advisory services, market research and other benefits for both researchers and entrepreneurs.

In just five years, the Deshpande Center at MIT and the von Liebig Center at the University of California San Diego have awarded nearly $10 million in seed grants and launched 26 seed-stage companies that have generated more than $159 million in private capital, the report said.

The two centers will be the founding members of the network, organizers said.