Ignition Awards

The Ignition Award program awards funds to researchers to advance an idea with clear commercial potential to a valuable inflection point milestone. Designed for researchers who are committed to bringing an idea to market, Ignition Awards funds are often used to achieve milestones such as generate compelling data, show proof-of concept, create a prototype, etc.

All BU faculty are invited to participate. 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 offer two types of awards: $75,000 and $25,000. The process for approval is the same for either award.

To select the awardees, BU Technology Development (OTD) runs a three-part proposal and review process.  Initially you will submit a letter of interest. This is reviewed internally to ensure that your proposed project is eligible and meets the goals of the awards.  Once this internal review has been completed a group of semi-finalists will be invited to submit a full proposal to OTD. The full proposals will be sent to the Ignition Review Committee, which is comprised of outside representatives (investors, industry) and BU academics, who will select a group of finalists.  The selected finalists will be invited to present their idea to and answer questions from the Ignition Review Committee who will make funding recommendations to OTD.

OTD oversees the entire process and approves the final recommendations. OTD staff do not vote on funding recommendations.

Technology Development is here to help. We can advise you as you complete your proposal and will offer 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. Finally, we offer programs on assessing your potential market and customers that we highly recommend to anyone interested in the Ignition Program.

Questions? Contact Michael Pratt at mpratt@bu.edu.

Related Reading:

Essential Information

Download a visual of the Ignition Award process


Scope and Uses of the Award


Selection Process

Review Criteria

Review Committees

How to Submit a Letter of Interest

How to Submit a Full Proposal

Finalist Presentation

Post Award Requirements

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