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 short Letter of Interest (LOI). 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 work on your LOI, proposal and presentation. Please feel free to reach out to your OTD contact or me at any time. In addition, we have Guides, entrepreneurial specialists to work with you one-on-one, even with your LOI. For the full proposal, we offer a tutoring session with Abi Barrow, PhD, to help you draft a business proposal for the Reviewers. Likewise for the presentation we offer a presentation tutorial to create a business pitch deck. Finally, we offer programs on assessing your potential market and customers that we recommend to anyone interested in the Ignition Program.
If you have any questions, contact Rana K. Gupta, Director, Faculty Entrepreneurship, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (617) 353-0606.
- Want Wider Recognition for Your Idea? Ignition Awards Offer More Than Funding
- Announcing the 2022 Ignition Award Winners
|October 1||Solicitation opens|
|November 1||Letters of Interest (LOIs) due to Technology Development|
|November 25||Request for full proposals sent to semi-finalists|
|January 15||Full proposals due to Technology Development|
|February 15||Finalists notified|
|April 6-8||Final presentations – actual dates to be determined in early 2023|
|Before May 10||Awardees announced|
Scope and Uses of the Award
Funds may be used in many ways to move an idea or technology closer to commercialization. Some examples:
- 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;
- Expenditures that are covered by other funding sources (grants or sponsored research)
- Business purposes such as market research, interviewing customers, hiring business consultants or students
We encourage 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.
Ignition Award funding is intended to assist researchers bring their BU ideas to market, whether that’s via a license to a third party or a startup you create (and then license the technology to your startup).
These funds are intended for BU licensable assets which can take the form of a patent or copyright. Your idea should result in such a licensable asset and your proposal should reflect how you intend to develop that asset.*
You must have disclosed your technology to Technology Development before applying for an Ignition Award. If you have not already disclosed your technology to Technology Development, you will be required to make a disclosure prior to the review.
If your technology was invented with other researchers from outside of BU and the intellectual property is co-owned, you may still apply for funding but you must include this information in your pre-proposal.
*Note: We’re not suggesting that you’ll complete the creation of that “asset” with this Ignition Award. But we do want to know that the creation of such an asset will be the result of your effort.
- Technology Potential
- Market and Product
- Project Plan and Milestones
- Outcome and Impact
Reviewers will be asked to take the following factors into account when scoring against these criteria.
- Technology Potential. Factors to consider in making this evaluation:
- Invention/technology/product concept is technically/scientifically new and unique
- Demonstrated that they have thought of how and why the invention/technology/product concept will be used in the market
- Identified the current solutions that this new technology will compete with
- Understanding of the competitive advantages that this technology will have over current technologies. Performance metrics identified.
- Market and final product. Factors to consider in making this evaluation:
- Described the value proposition for the product in the selected market (based on the needs of a customer, not just a solution to a problem)
- Final product concept clearly differentiated from those already marketed and known to be in development
- End user identified. PI reveals evidence as to why this user will be interested in the proposed product
- Size of the market indicated. The market need not be big but they have to demonstrate that they know enough about the market to create a financially sustainable business or attract a buyer for the asset (even with revenues of <$1M)
- Project Plan and Milestones. Factors to consider in making this evaluation:
- Clearly described and realistic project plan. Clearly defined milestones with rationale for each milestone and a clean end point (goal)
- Plan to develop a licensable BU asset (patent or copyright) is realistic
- Achieving the milestones will make the technology more attractive to a potential partner, investor or licensee
- Upon achieving the stated endpoint there is a plan or at least some knowledge of the next steps in commercialization and the resources needed to complete them
- Team. Factors to consider in making this evaluation:
- The team has demonstrated preparation for or commitment to the pursuit of commercializing this idea (i.e., programs, training, advice, mentorship either at BU or elsewhere)
- Team is responsive to criticism and suggestion (e.g., critique and suggestions for the presentations from the proposals)
- The necessary talent to perform the Ignition Award project has been recruited or identified
- Post IA activities: Identified team members to carry the project forward to the next step if IA project successful
- Outcome and Impact. Evaluate the social and/or economic impact of the award. Factors to consider in making this evaluation:
- PI has identified a real problem that, if addressed, will bring positive impact, and has identified the type of impact the solution will have, e.g., economic (job creation); make a process more efficient; improve welfare of people or environment; save lives
- The invention has the potential to address said problem
- The PI has determined the next funding source or audience to advance the idea
- The PI has identified the next funder or audience’s criteria to “write a check”
Med Tech Reviewers
Fluidics and Materials Engineering Professional
Bruce Carvalho is currently a principal at Aixtek, a fluidics consultancy practice, and contributes to the technical leadership of LivOnyx, a Lowell-based hand sanitization start-up. Past roles include positions at DxTech, Living Microsystems (now Illumina), Tecan and Gamera Bioscience, leading groups in the design, fabrication and testing of blood-based microfluidic devices and instruments. Bruce graduated from Haverford College and earned a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Senior Manager Business Development at PerkinElmer
Nina Dinjaski is currently the Senior Manager Business Development at PerkinElmer where she manages strategic investments and partnerships. Prior to this role, she worked at MassGeneralBrigham Innovation Office as a Licensing Manager II, where she was responsible for the evaluation, strategy, and commercialization of research, discoveries, and IP arising from the Pulmonary, OBGYN, Reproductive Endocrine, Anesthesia, Sleep Medicine, Urology, Emergency Medicine, and Pediatrics departments for Brigham Women's Hospital and Radiation Oncology, OB/GYN, Reproductive Endocrinology and Urology departments at Mass General Hospital. Before joining MGB she worked at Tufts University, Office for Technology Transfer and Industry Collaboration where she managed engineering school portfolios. Earlier in her career, Nina held a joint postdoctoral scholar appointment at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT and the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Tufts. Nina holds a PhD in molecular microbiology from Complutense University in Spain. Her research focused on genetic and metabolic engineering strategies to functionalize biomaterials for medical applications.
Founder and managing partner of Krull Enterprise Services
Wolfgang Krull is the founder and managing partner of Krull Enterprise Services, LLC (KESSCO) providing executive management support for medical companies. He has had entrepreneurial success in both large and small (start-up) companies by driving strategic development, product development, and operations/supply chain to meet worldwide business requirements. He also works with the Consortia for Improving Medicine with Innovation and Technology (CIMIT) as an Accelerator Executive helping emerging companies/technologies develop and execute strategies for getting innovative solutions into practice. Previously, Wolfgang was COO for Medtronic’s Navigation and Imaging Business responsible for O-arm Imaging system and VP of Manufacturing at GE Medical Systems (Image Guidance). He also spent many years with Hewlett Packard Medical (now Philips Medical) including senior executive roles as head of R&D and WW Operations for the Patient Monitoring Business.
Marisa C. Nielsen
Assistant Director for Clinical Microbiology, Boston Medical Center; Assistant Professor for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Boston University Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine
Marisa C. Nielsen received her BS in Microbiology, her MS in Environmental Microbiology from the University of Arizona, and her PhD from the University of California, Irvine. She completed a Clinical Microbiology and Public Health Fellowship at the University of Texas, Medical Branch. She is a board-certified medical microbiologist (American Board of Medical Microbiology) with 15 years of clinical microbiology experience. Her interests range from microbiome research to infectious diseases diagnostics and microscopy, with a specific focus on pathogens acquired from environmental exposures and the protective role of commensal organisms in the infection process. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Boston University Chobanian and Avedisian School of Medicine, the Assistant Director for Clinical Microbiology at Boston Medical Center, and holds a BU-BMC Cancer Center Faculty Appointment.
Associate Vice President, Industry Engagement, BU
Marc Scatamacchia joined BU in August 2018 to lead the new office of Industry Engagement, which was formed through the recommendation of the Task Force on University Collaboration with Industry. Tasked with facilitating, streamlining, and encouraging faculty interaction with industry in all forms, Industry Engagement is organized within the Office of Research, incorporates the office formerly known as Corporate Relations, and works closely with Technology Development. Marc brings more than 20 years of experience in strategy and business development to his role at BU, where he oversees institutional efforts to streamline processes, consolidate organizational structures, and support entrepreneurial activities to generate more meaningful research collaborations with industry, technology licensing, and spin-out companies. Marc graduated from BU with a degree in systems engineering before earning master’s degrees from Stanford and MIT.
Lee W. Tien
Director of Business Development and Alliance Management, eGenesis
Lee W. Tien is currently the Director of Business Development and Alliance Management at eGenesis, a gene editing company working to develop safe and effective xenotransplants to end the global human organ shortage. Prior to this role, he managed strategic investments and partnerships as part of the Technology & Innovation team at PerkinElmer, a research tools and diagnostics company. Earlier in his career, Lee worked in technology transfer, protecting and commercializing inventions made at Boston University and Tufts University. Lee holds a BSE in electrical engineering from Princeton, a PhD in biomedical engineering from Tufts, and an MBA from Boston University.
Phy Sci Reviewers
CEO of nxtec and CTO and board member of Talon and Collaborate Health
Osama is founder of collaborate.center (Intelligent Data Collaboration Platform) used in telecommunications and construction (Talon.io) and healthcare (Collaboratehealth.com). He is the CEO of nxtec and CTO and board member of Talon and Collaborate Health.
Osama is also a faculty member in the electrical and computer engineering department at Boston University. He served as an Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on CSVT and an area Editor for Signal Processing: Image Communication, Theory, Techniques &amp; Applications Journal. He was part of the founding team of PacketVideo Corporation and was its CTO. He served as a research scientist in Rockwell Science Center and Visiting Researcher at University of California Berkeley.
Osama has a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Georgia Tech (advisor Russell Mersereau), MSc. from Iowa State University (advisor John Doherty) and BSc. in Electrical Engineering from University of Jordan.
Osama received the BU ECE Award of Excellence in Teaching, 2015, the BU ECE Best Class Award, 2016 and Fulbright Scholarship, 1991. Osama served on technology and development boards including AT&amp;T, Verizon, Orange, Android, Euclid, Talon and LogicBlox.
CEO and Co-founder, Medicalrecords.com
Ace Bhattacharjya is the CEO and co-founder of Medicalrecords.com, a consumer healthcare and insurance company based in Boston. Before joining the startup world, he worked on some of the world’s greatest brands including Ford, IBM, Mercedes Benz, Starwood, JetBlue and Pfizer. Ace was formerly VP at EXOS / Athletes’ Performance (acquired) and ran Advanced Media for Community Tennis at the USTA / USOpen. He was the first CMO at Amino Apps ($75M+ raised) and is an advisor and early stage investor to a number of companies including: DirectDerm, Playlabs at MIT, Toucan.ai, SocialSign.in, and Sharalike.
Managing Director at Dr. Chips Consulting LLC
Dr. Makarand “Chips” Chipalkatti is recognized as one of the pioneers in LED lighting and as an industry leader in lighting, smart cities, sustainability and energy policy. Makarand specializes in taking technology to business and commercialization. He leads a consulting practice focusing on corporate innovation and entrepreneurship with special emphasis on the commercialization of innovation in the new lighting ecosystem and in industries undergoing disruptive transformation. He serves globally as an industry consultant for product, service, and market strategy. His clients range from early seed stage companies seeking scale, to large global companies launching new businesses. Makarand is a regular speaker at workshops and seminars on innovation, ideation and design thinking in diverse settings including executive training, academic institutions and international conferences. Previously, Makarand was the Senior Director, Solid State Lighting and Emerging Market Initiatives for OSRAM in North America where his primary role was as a corporate entrepreneur and founder of OSRAM’s LED Lighting business. He has been responsible for a series of successful new business and technology launches during his corporate career and beyond. His early work included research on advanced materials and organic light sources (OLEDs). Makarand received a Ph.D. in Polymer Science & Eng. from Univ. of Massachusetts and a B.Tech Chem. Eng. from IIT Bombay.
Director of Curriculum, Innovate@BU Master Lecturer, Strategy & Innovation
Ian Mashiter is currently the director of curriculum at Innovate@BU where oversees the Innovation & Entrepreneurship minor. He previously served as the inaugural managing director of Innovate@BU’s physical home, the BUild Lab IDG Capital Student Innovation Center. Ian is a senior lecturer at Boston University where he teaches entrepreneurship and strategy to MBA and undergraduate students in the Questrom School of Business. Previously, Ian was an entrepreneurial executive with more than 28 years of high-technology experience. Ian has raised $100 million in venture funding since 1996. Over his career, Ian has served as a board member, chief executive officer, and cofounder of such innovative telecommunications companies as Quarry Technologies, Ennovate Networks, Dymec, BMS, Nimbit, and Kenetic. As an experienced operational executive and active angel investor, Ian provides advisory services to a number of high-tech start-ups. He is a member of the Hub Angel Group and the Launchpad Venture Group, as well as a Mass Challenge mentor and judge. Ian is also on the board of the Capital Network. The Capital Network is a nonprofit (501c3) organization that provides extensive financial education to help early-stage entrepreneurs in Boston.
Associate in Global Innovation, TechAtlas division, RA Capital Management.
Andrew Senesi is an Associate in Global Innovation within the TechAtlas division of RA Capital Management. Andrew’s primary responsibility at RA Capital is to identify and assess orthogonal technologies that intersect the healthcare industry. Andrew holds a PhD in Chemistry from Northwestern University, where he focused on the development of DNA scaffold-based nanoparticle superlattices with novel emergent properties. His postdoctoral work at Argonne National Laboratories involved characterization of nanomaterials using X-ray scattering technologies. Andrew worked previously as an associate at the Chicago Innovation Exchange, an incubator and VC fund associated with the University of Chicago.
Co-Founder and CEO of Yobe Inc
Ken is a seasoned entrepreneur with nearly 20 years of strategy and corporate business management experience in the technology, marketing, and finance industries. In addition to his role as CEO, Ken manages the company’s product vision, corporate development, team building, brand management, and investor relationships. Ken’s formal entrepreneurial experience started directly after university with the creation of The Tampa Marketing Group, a multi-state marketing firm, focused on product development, market research and brand strategy. By the time TMG was acquired, it had grown to an 11 office 6 state organization with both domestic and international clients. Following TMG, Ken spent a few years as a Capital Markets professional working on critical projects for hedge fund and private equity firms focused on Pre-IPO investments in the technology and real estate arenas. Ken entered the technology arena first as an advisor, then as a board member, and eventually as an entrepreneur. Leveraging IP he co-created related to Voice Isolation and Biometric Identification Ken founded his current venture Yobe Inc., a VC-backed software company with a focus on Voice. Ken, attended the University of Connecticut and has served as a proud member of the US Armed Forces (US Army Ranger).
Life Science Reviewers
Associate Provost, Translational Research | Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine
David Center is the Associate Provost of Translational Research and Gordon and Ruth Snider Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, and he has served as Chief of Pulmonary, Allergy, Sleep, and Critical Care Medicine since 1986. David has directed and served as PI for BU’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) since 2008, focusing on facilitating translational research and advancing team science on the Boston University Medical Campus, which occupies half my time. His individual research focuses on the biological effects of Interleukin 16, which he co-discovered, as an immunomodulatory cytokine in inflammation. David also defined all the functional properties of the IL-16 precursor protein, Pro-IL-16, as a PDZ containing nuclear scaffold that coordinates a multiple protein complex that acts as a transcriptional suppressor. Mutations in the scaffold predispose to T cell malignancies, while the secreted cytokine acts a necessary growth factor for myeloma cells. This work has been funded by NIH-sponsored R, P, and U grants beginning in 1978. In the past several years he has shifted from a lifetime of traditional NIH P01, P50 and R01 research to concentrate my efforts on developing the intellectual property (in collaboration with industry) on inhibitors of IL-16 function, in particular human and humanized monoclonal antibodies to IL-16, as treatments for neuro-inflammatory diseases and multiple myeloma. Since 1996, David has directed this T32, the largest at Boston University. They train PhD pre- and post- doctoral fellows and MD postdoctoral fellows in multiple fields of lung health and disease from clinical outcomes to traditional lab science, from genetic epidemiology to developmental biology. Since 2015, he has chaired the NHLBI Division of Lung Diseases Pulmonary Trials Cooperative, which oversees 4 simultaneous overlapping pragmatic trials. David's personal commitment to leading multidisciplinary research and research training and mentorship will continue as he will continue to Chair the T32 executive committee with oversight of career development and mentorship quality.
Kevin P. Foley
Co-founder & Chief Scientific Officer, Ranok Therapeutics
Dr. Foley has a long-standing research interest in protein homeostasis and the ubiquitin-proteasome system, which he has continued as co-founder and CSO of Ranok Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that is pioneering a novel approached to targeted protein degradation, Chaperone-mediated protein degradation (CHAMP™). In prior roles at FORMA Therapeutics, GlaxoSmithKline, Synta Pharmaceuticals, Millennium Pharmaceuticals and ZymoGenetics he has had a successful track record of advancing innovative therapies into the clinic. He conducted his post-doctoral training at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.
Drug Development Consultant
Andrew has worked in the Boston area pharmaceutical industry since 1996 where he has held leadership positions in start-up to midsize biopharmaceutical companies, including EPIX Pharmaceuticals and Flatley Discovery Lab. He has over 25 years experience in research and development, and contributed to the discovery and development of molecularly targeted MRI contrast agents for diagnosis of cardiovascular disease, thrombosis, and fibrosis, G-Protein coupled receptor agonists and antagonists for treatment of inflammatory diseases, and modulators of CFTR, the protein defective in cystic fibrosis. Andrew received his Ph.D. in chemistry from MIT, and is a board certified toxicologist.
Owner & Consultant, Ripple Biotech, LLC.
John Ripple served as CEO of 5 venture-backed biotech companies, including Exonics Therapeutics (acquired by Vertex), Virdante Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Momenta), and Syntonix Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biogen). John previously held positions in business development, entrepreneur-in-residence, medical device marketing, and management consulting. He started his career as an aerospace engineer at NASA. John founded Ripple Biotech LLC to advise biopharmaceutical companies on strategy, business development and capital fundraising activities. He currently serves as a member on the Board of Overseers at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, and as an advisor to the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. John received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
External Engagement Program Lead, Sanofi
Lucie has over ten years of experience in conducting biomedical research. She trained in Rennes, France, at the National Center for Research (CNRS) and the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM). After graduating with her PhD, Lucie moved to the US to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Shriners Hospital (joint appointment) in Boston, MA. Committed to fostering alliances between academia and industry, and to facilitating the transfer of technology for the benefit of patients, Lucie joined the largest trade association for the life Sciences, MassBio Innovation Services in 2017. In this role, Lucie created a series of programs and initiatives to leverage MassBio’s community of members and experts to accelerate company creation and facilitate strategic alliances within academic institutions. In this role, Lucie has built several working groups convening leaders from academia and industry, as well as mentoring programs for academic scientists and joined several advisory boards to foster entrepreneurship beyond the Boston region. In 2021, Lucie joined Boston University Industry Engagement team, to help BU scientists to partner with Life Sciences industry, supporting legal team work in contracting and working with Research Centers to enhance their visibility and make of BU a partner of choice in area like Infectious Diseases, Neuroscience, Public Health and SynBio.
More recently, Lucie has joined Sanofi Scientific and Relation initiatives team, a group focusing on solving R&D challenging by working with academic scientists and entrepreneurs. In this new group, Lucie is focusing on leveraging Sanofi experience and expertise to connect and engage with Innovators and Talents of the Life Sciences Ecosystem.
Professor of Medicine and Vice-Chair for Research, Department of Medicine, Boston University Medical Center
David Salant is Professor of Medicine and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Medicine at Boston University Medical Center. He graduated from the Witwatersrand University Medical School in 1969 and completed clinical training at the Johannesburg General Hospital. He received research training at Boston University with Dr. William Couser and joined the faculty in 1979. He was appointed Chief of Nephrology and Director of the Nephrology Training Program in 1987.
Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, David conducted extensive research on immune disorders of the kidneys, and he has authored over 200 scientific publications, reviews and book chapters. His work has focused on mechanisms of immune deposition and the role of complement in diseases of the kidney glomerulus, and on the structural biology of the podocyte. He was one of the earliest proponents of the notion that podocyte injury forms the basis of most, if not all, proteinuric kidney diseases. In a landmark New England Journal of Medicine paper in 2009, David and his colleagues described their discovery that a high proportion of patients with membranous nephropathy have circulating autoantibodies to the M-type phospholipase A2 receptor on human podocytes. This discovery was awarded international patents and was licensed by EuroImmun, a German company that has marketed an FDA approved diagnostic immunoassay for membranous nephropathy with world-wide distribution and sales. In collaboration with his colleague, Dr. Weining Lu, David has also been engaged in a cooperative program with Pfizer CTI that developed a potential therapeutic agent for proteinuric kidney diseases currently undergoing a phase II clinical trial.
Dr. Salant has received several awards and honors, including an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association, the Jean Hamburger Award from the International Society of Nephrology, the John P. Peters Award from the American Society of Nephrology, the Donald W. Seldin Award from the National Kidney Foundation, the Marilyn Farquhar Award at the 11th Annual Podocyte Conference and the Edward N. Gibbs Award from the New York Academy of Sciences. In 2015, he was the Boston University Innovator of the Year and he was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served on several NIH advisory panels and on the editorial boards of several major journals.
How to Submit a Letter of Interest
The Letter of Interest (LOI) is a maximum, two page document intended to provide Technology Development with a succinct description of your proposed project. It should define the basic outline of your idea, and establish its relative merit and general objectives. LOIs that meet our criteria will advance to a full proposal invitation.
Criteria for an LOI
- PI has demonstrated commitment to commercializing the idea: e.g., identified market need, contacted or recruited industry experts, engaged in training to learn to bring an idea to market, etc.
- The project has sufficient substance (work commenced, momentum, data) to warrant Ignition funding
- The milestones are realistic
- The project is designed so that it will enable the team to raise follow-on (additional) funding
- The project has the potential to result in a licensable asset
- There are no conflicts associated with project’s the intellectual property
- The intellectual property is protectable (e.g., not published)
LOIs must be filled out on the template and submitted by email.
How to Submit a Full Proposal
Full proposals will be requested from PIs based on promising pre-proposals that meet the pre-proposal criteria. Full proposals are limited to five pages and are intended to provide Technology Development and the Review Committee with a full description of the technology, market considerations, budget, and a concrete project plan. Selected full proposals will be invited to give an oral presentation to the Review Committee for final award consideration.
Full proposals need to be thorough but concise. Proposals will be reviewed by people with a technical, and/or legal or business background. However, they may not necessarily be familiar with your area of expertise. The proposals should be written with this consideration in mind and should enable them to assess the potential feasibility and commercial value of your technology.
When proposing to the Ignition Review Committee please be sure to address how your approach fulfills an unmet need in the marketplace, how it compares to the “gold standard” or current solution, the anticipated regulatory path or standards that will be required, and how the product will be traded in commerce (e.g., reimbursed by healthcare providers), what milestone you will achieve with the funds and the nature of the funding opportunity that awaits you upon achieving that milestone.
Full proposals must be filled out on the above template and submitted by email.
You will receive an email confirming receipt of your completed application.
Applications that are not received by the specified deadline will not be considered in that competitive round but may be re-submitted in a subsequent solicitation for consideration.
When evaluating the IA presentations, the Reviewers will use the following achievements, for each of the five criteria and questions (listed in the Review Criteria of the IA website), to deliver a grade of “5” on a one to five scale.
- Third party validation of the idea’s uniqueness
- Third party validation that it will improve upon the incumbent
- Complete list of incumbent technologies
- Quantitative data to support this technology’s superiority over incumbents
Market and Product
- Value proposition tested with customer
- Table or chart using third party data to demonstrate PI technology’s differentiation
- Voice of the user represented
- Addressable market clearly identified
Project Plan and Milestones
- Quantitative endpoint and a plan for next steps
- Patent or copyright filed
- Intended audience for follow on funding consulted and desired output of this project stated by that third party
- Successful outcome of the IA linked to a basic, clear, and well justified commercialization plan
- For a startup: A technical champion (PI, doctoral student, or postdoc) has set aside time committed to support commercialization. For a license: they’ve communicated with more than one potential licensee to understand what they would want to see in a “packaged” deal
- Team not only addressed recommendations and critiques from proposal feedback but did homework to address risks, gaps and/or third party perspective
- PI has already identified committed talent required to advance the idea upon completing this project
- Team has taken steps to lay groundwork for continuing commercialization beyond IA through concrete steps (e.g., initiated discussions with external funding sources, applied for SBIR grant, etc.)
Outcome and Impact
- PI has identified a real problem that, if addressed, will bring positive impact, and has identified the type of impact the solution will have, e.g. economic (job creation); make a process more efficient; improve welfare of people or environment; save lives
- Impact potential is validated by more than one third party
- PI has made contact (conversation or correspondence) with at least one follow-on funding source
- Contact with next funder or audience resulted in understanding their criteria (for writing a check)
Post Award Requirements
Award recipients will report progress on pre-determined milestones and will be awarded funding based on completion of those milestones. See the award letter here to view your obligations upon receiving the award. Those obligations include:
- You agree to work with Technology Development to formulate milestones that incorporate the Reviewers’ comments and suggestions, our suggestions, and your objective. This may include editing, altering and re-characterizing your milestones from your originally proposed version in your full proposal and presentation. A good milestone will maximize the value and reduce the risk of your idea upon the conclusion of the Ignition Award. The purpose of a well-constructed milestone is to position your idea for the next stage of funding to help you achieve your commercialization objective.
- You agree to follow the reporting requirements as outlined in the accompanying FAQs.
- Award recipients will use the milestone report (see below for link to download milestone report), be asked to report progress on pre-determined and mutually agreed upon sub-milestones and be awarded the next sub-amount upon completion and approval from OTD of the previous intra-project milestone’s completion. In the event you do not submit sub-milestones and/or do not receive approval for those sub-milestones, any funds expended beyond those for which you have been granted permission will fall on the PI to return to OTD
- As part and a requirement of your milestone assignment, you will conduct five business (investor, corporate, industry expert) interviews with each milestone and submit a summary of those interviews (company, title of person, nature of conversation) with your milestone report
- To help you continually refine and ready your idea for third party presentations (be your vehicle for commercialization a license or startup) we have scheduled multiple opportunities for you to update your idea and the project’s status, challenges, and next steps. Therefore:
- at the completion of the project, you will submit a power point report (template to be provided by OTD) of your idea (as you did in the IA presentation) and the progress of your work
- for two years following the completion of the award, you will send progress reports (template to be provided by OTD) telling us what follow on work, grants, commercialization has transpired from your Ignition Award project
- You will attend Technology Development functions designed to create a “community of innovators” among the IA recipients. These will include zoom meetings, lunches and dinners and require you to give a short update on your progress to your colleagues and tell them the challenges you face in bringing your idea to market.
- The term of the grant is one year, and any unused funds will be rolled back into the Ignition Award Program unless a no cost extension is approved by Technology Development prior to the expiration date.
- You affirm that your proposed research is in compliance with Boston University research policies including approvals from appropriate committees such as COI, IRB, etc. Please complete and return a Financial Interest Disclosure Form which you can find at: http://www.bu.edu/orc/forms/coi and follow the instructions from the COI website on how to submit.
- If BU is successful in commercializing the technology, any Ignition Award Funding received will be repaid since award funds constitute “granted by the University specifically for the invention or discovery process” within the terms of the Boston University Patent Policy. The award will be repaid from licensing proceeds (if any) before the patent policy revenue sharing goes into effect or, if the technology becomes the basis for a startup company, equity Consideration (to be determined) will be granted to Technology Development.
- You agree to work with Technology Development and BU Today to prepare materials and provide an interview to BU’s online community news page. You agree to help foster commercialization at BU by supporting the University’s efforts to publicize and showcase BU technologies.
- You will commence this project within three months of the date on the award letter. The following tasks must be completed to constitute a commenced project: 1) this letter signed; 2) financial administrator name and contact information supplied; 3) COI form completed; 4) milestones approved by OTD; 5) funds transferred. If you have not completed all five requirements the award will be rescinded unless you are able to supply proof of a delay beyond your control. In the event of a granted delay within three months of the date of this letter, the award will be rescinded six months from the date of this letter regardless of mitigating circumstances.
At the end of the funding period up to one year, award recipients will be required to present in person the status and next steps of their research to the Director, Faculty Entrepreneurship. Recipients will continue to report to the Director, Faculty Entrepreneurship for another year to quantify the economic benefits of the Ignition Awards. In all cases these reports will be submitted to the Ignition Award Program Director (Rana K Gupta at email@example.com).
The Ignition Award program is considered a discretionary outlay of funds by the University and as such is considered a “University cost” per Section IV E of the Intellectual Property Policy. As such, the funds provided through an Ignition Award will be repaid out of future royalty or licensing income (if any) prior to any distribution specific to Section IV E of the Intellectual Property Policy.