Ignition Award FAQ
What are Ignition Awards?
The Office of Technology Development (OTD) sees a need to help researchers at BU move their research discoveries toward practical implemenation. This will increase the value of their inventions, improve the chances of realizing societal benefits of research, and enhance BU’s ability to license them to existing companies, to create new companies, or to seed the creation of new non-profit entities. OTD will issue Ignition Awards to principal investigators preferably to undertake targeted development on technologies that have been disclosed to the OTD’s Office of Technology Development.
While the Ignition Awards are limited, it is the intention of OTD to support researchers who want to demonstrate the feasibility of their technologies in specific industry applications in order to increase licensing, investor interest, or follow-on funding from the appropriate non-profit entities in the case of the Social Entrepreneurship category.
Who can apply?
Any researcher, faculty member or clinician at BU.
Students may apply, as long as they have a faculty member or researcher who will be the principal investigator and will be responsible for the management of the grant and the reporting requirements.
What technologies are eligible for funding?
We are looking for technologies in all fields, which have been disclosed to the OTD. Particular emphasis will be placed on selecting technologies that could be a foundation for new companies or technologies that could be licensed to existing companies.
The Social Entrepreneurship category is open to all ideas that have social merit and can demonstrate an effective, sustainable model for implementation. Intellectual propoerty protection is not required for the Social Entrepreneurship category.
When should applications be submitted?
The Ignition Award program accepts applications two times per year – generally July 1 and February 1.
How do I apply?
The first step is to submit a simple one page pre-proposal. Pre-Proposals will be evaluated by OTD and then a subset of Pre-Proposals will be invited for full proposal submission.
Is there a format for the submissions?
Yes. Submissions must be in MS Word or PDF format, using Arial 11-point font. The Pre-Proposals are limited to one page. The full proposals are limited to 5 pages (10 pages with attachments) and the file should be no larger than 4MB.
What happens to late applications?
Applications that are not received by the specified deadline will not be considered in that competitive round but may be re-submitted in the subsequent competition for consideration.
What if I have questions regarding the application process?
If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Ignition Award Program Director, Renuka Babu of the Office of Technology Transfer at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 353-1828.
How are the funds allocated?
Awards will be made on a rolling basis based on commercial potential and social impact.
OTD, working with a committee of faculty, venture capitalists, industry representatives, foundations and entrepreneurs will select award recipients. Two of the most important selection criteria are the technical feasibility of the program and the commercial impact the technology is likely to make. OTD determinations are final. The steps in the process are as follows:
- Pre-proposal submitted
- Invitation to submit full proposal
- Completed application submitted
- Proposals sent to the review committee of faculty, students, venture capitalists, entreprenuers and industry reps.
- A subset of proposals are invited to present to the review committee
- Presentations to the review committee
- OTD in collaboration with the review committee will select awardees
- Final announcement of awardees
The OTD oversees the process and approves the final recommendations.
In what ways can inventors use the funds?
Funds may be used in many ways to move an idea or technology closer to commercialization. Examples of how the Ignition Award funds can be used to:
- conduct further defined research on an invention that will lead to proof of concept or prototypes;
- undertake testing of a technology or material to obtain initial data on performance;
- develop a more user-friendly software interface;
- send a material out to independent third party for testing under industrial conditions;
- conduct in vivo or animal testing of a new compound;
- hire outside expert consultants or services to validate technology.
Funds may not be used for:
- salaries for faculty, including summer salaries
- basic research;
- legal expenses to advance intellectual property protection;
- publicity expenses (e.g., the development of marketing materials);
- legal and other expenses of business formation and operation;
- attendance at academic conferences;
- purchase of computer or other unrelated equipment;
If I have started a company or work closely with a company can they receive Ignition Award funding?
No. The funding is only for use by researchers who have disclosed inventions that have a potential for commercialization, not those that are already commercialized. Funds are awarded only to principal investigators at BU or BMC.
If you have started a company based on your research, the OTD has other programs, which may be able to help you. Please visit www-test.bu.edu/otd for more information.
Do I have to disclose the technology to my technology transfer office?
Yes. If you have not already disclosed your technology to the OTD, you will be required to make a disclosure prior to the review (see New Idea for instructions on how to submit a new Ideas to OTD).
Can these grants be used with other funding?
Yes, the OTD encourages you to match Ignition Awards with other funding. If you can use the Ignition Award funds to augment or to attract other commercialization funds, we would like you to show this in your proposal. If you are awarded funding from multiple sources for the same project, we will want to see budgets and milestones showing which parts of the projects will be paid for by the Ignition Award and which will be paid for by other funding sources.
What are the post award requirements?
Award recipients must submit a formal six-month report and a final report on the research completed, milestones achieved, new technologies disclosed and use of funds. (If the funding is spent within six months, then only one report will be required during the funding period). At the end of the funding period, the award recipients will be required to orally present the outcomes of their research to the OTD. For two years following the completion of the award, a report will be submitted each year outlining progress towards the commercialization of the invention. In all cases these reports will be submitted to the Ignition Award Program Director (Renuka Babu at email@example.com). It is also anticipated that throughout the award period the recipient will maintain contact with the OTD on commercialization plans for the technology.
Am I required to pay back the Ignition Award program if my technology is commercialized?
Yes, the Ignition Award program is considered a discretionary outlay of funds by the OTD and licensing fees and royalties will be used to recover the investment by the OTD, after patent costs are recovered.