News & Media

2024 Spark Grant Program now accepting applications

The WiSys Spark Grant Program is now accepting applications for its 2024 grant cycle.

WiSys Spark Grants are for faculty and academic staff at the regional Universities of Wisconsin, and all academic disciplines are encouraged to apply. The funding is for ideas that could lead to social impact or novel technology.

These seed grants fill a funding gap or provide a steppingstone for early-stage scholarly projects. Projects demonstrating progress beyond the initial idea will be given preference, but the grant is inclusive to all. Possible outcomes from the WiSys Spark Grant are: development of a novel idea, implementation of a new innovation, or additional extramural funding to further develop the idea.

“WiSys Spark Grants provide a great launching point for someone looking to advance their project to the next stage of the creative process,” said WiSys President Arjun Sanga. “Early-stage funding is vital to creating what could be an impactful new idea or piece of technology, and grants like these are essential for innovations inside universities off the ground.”

Dr. Sujat Sen of UW-La Crosse is an excellent example of a faculty member who used a Spark grant to take his project to the next level.  He used this funding to build out his idea and develop preliminary data that allowed WiSys to file a patent to protect that novel invention: “Rapid Capture and Conversion of CO2 to Fuels Using Nanofluid Suspension Electrodes.”  This puts us on the road towards commercializing this technology and him on the path of attracting more interest and resources to support his ideas.

Funding for the WiSys Spark Grant ranges from $500-10,000 per project proposal. There is a limit of one award per investigator per academic year, but in a change from previous years, there is no limit on how many grants one campus can receive. The fall application deadline is Monday, December 4, 2023, and the spring application deadline is Monday, April 8, 2024.

For questions, please contact Mike Cenci, WiSys Intellectual Property & Contracts Associate, at [email protected].

WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of the Universities of Wisconsin to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries, and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.

WiSys is the lead organization for a prestigious National Science Foundation Engines Type 1 Development Award in Sustainable Agriculture. Learn more about the grant here.