Spark Grants

The WiSys Spark Grant Program advances small-scale, proof-of-concept research projects


Background

The WiSys Spark Grant Program is designed to help faculty advance their knowledge and technology to commercialization. The fund provides awards of $500-$10,000 per project to faculty, academic staff, or students towards implementation and completion of short-term projects.

WiSys Spark Grants are intended to support research projects where preliminary findings exist, and is designed to demonstrate the commercial potential of a new concept, technology or invention and to highlight the need for and type of additional development support that would be required to take the technology closer to the marketplace.

Preference will be given to projects where applications have demonstrated some progress beyond the initial discovery, idea or concept (See the scoring rubric).

For more information about the WiSys Spark Grant Program, email [email protected].


Program Details

  • Eligible projects will be funded for $500 - $10,000/project proposal; The maximum award per project is $10,000. Limit of one award/investigator/call.
  • Funds can be used for supplies and expenses (S&E) as well as salary for undergraduate student workers; salary for faculty will be considered at the discretion of the committee but should not represent more than 50% of the requested budget. Salary for student workers is not allowed for student led projects. Funding for fringe benefits should be included within the $10,000 budget. Applicants are encouraged to maximize the amount of funding available for projects and direct the majority (if not all) of the budget to student stipends and/S&E. Funding for travel to scientific conferences and publications costs is not allowed.
  • Applicants must follow each campus’ internal grant submission and approval process and use the WiSys Spark Grant application form provided below for their project proposal. Project proposals should not exceed three pages in length. 
  • To be eligible for a WiSys Spark Grant, applicants must submit a new invention disclosure describing their technology and agree to assign their intellectual property rights to WiSys if funded. All applications must be accompanied by an Invention Disclosure Form, Cover Page signed by your institution’s authorized signatory, Project Narrative Form and Budget Page; All forms are available here
  • Proposals will be scored based upon intellectual property (IP) potential (based on an initial IP assessment of the proposed invention described in the corresponding Invention Disclosure), development timeline, unmet need/target market, suitability of the PI/team, evidence of project feasibility and/or preliminary data and value for money.
  • Any significant modifications to the project scope and deliverables must receive approval from Spark program managers before scope changes are implemented. All projects must be completed by August 31, 2023.
  • A final report must be submitted not later than six weeks after the completion date of the project. A WiSys team member will be in touch regarding reporting requirements. If a final report is not submitted, this may prevent the applicant's eligibility for other funding programs offered by WiSys and/or their home campus.
  • New for 2022-23! If multiple proposals are received at any one campus, proposals that exceed the minimum scoring threshold but do not initially receive Spark funding will be reevaluated for funding at WiSys' discretion.

Interested in submitting?

Work with your campus contact to submit a proposal

Submit to WiSys

WiSys has partnered with Submittable, an online grants management platform, for the submission of WiSys Spark Grant applications. Applicants are asked to submit their application materials and corresponding Invention Disclosure Form at the following link: https://wisys.submittable.com/submit. All forms are available for download here as well as within the Submittable platform.