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 rkgupta@bu.edu or (617) 353-0606.

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