Boston University Ignition Awards fund early-stage projects with clear commercial potential. Ignition Awards are designed to enable researchers to reach the next value inflection point in their idea’s development (generate relevant data, reach key milestones, show proof-of concept, etc.).

All faculty are invited to participate. Your idea need not be patented or even patentable. Proposals are not a business plan – they are designed to focus on the next valuable milestone that will advance your idea while reducing risk. More than anything, the Ignition Awards are designed to be an educational experience to:

  • Refine and improve your idea
  • Help PIs learn about your idea’s value in the market
  • Interact with practitioners from industry

We are offering two types of awards this year: $75,000 and $25,000. The process for approval, facilitated by BU Technology Development, is the same for either award. The application process consists of a short pre-proposal, full proposals by invitation, and finally presentations to the review committee. More details can be found under “Selection Process,” below.

Technology Development is here to help. We can advise you as you complete your proposal and will hold special programs on preparing a full proposal and presenting to the reviewers for anyone selected as a finalist. You can also review the slides from this December 2019 workshop on Writing Business Proposals.

If you have any questions, contact Rana K. Gupta, Director, Faculty Entrepreneurship, at rkgupta@bu.edu or (617) 353-0606.


The fun begins every fall on October 1 when pre-proposals are due. Final presentations are in April. Specific dates for the coming school year will be posted by summer 2020.

Essential Information