How We Do It

Each year, an expert panel of faculty and industry advisors reviews new, unlicensed disclosures made to the University Office of Technology Licensing as well as proposals submitted from across the university.  Finalists are invited to present to the panel before final selections are made.

SPARK Selection Criteria

The proposed therapy or diagnostic must:

  1. Address an unmet need
  2. Utilize a novel approach
  3. Have the potential to advance to clinic or commercialization with two years of funding

SPARK takes a special interest in projects addressing neglected, orphan and developing-world diseases.

SPARK provides

  1. Funding:  Milestone-based funding for two years.  Each round of funding is contingent upon completion of the prior term goals.
  2. Education:  SPARK Scholars (AKA SPARKees) must attend weekly seminars that teach the process of development and commercialization of drugs and diagnostics. 
  3. Mentorship:  Each project team provides quarterly updates to the advisory panel and receives feedback.  Expert advisors provide project-specific advice for each stage of product development.
  4. Advising:  SPARK provides top-notch advising and access to core facilities, as well as assistance in creating partnerships with industry and other academic institutions.

All academicians interested in translating their discoveries are welcome to attend our SPARK meetings and chat with SPARK advisors, regardless of SPARK Scholar status.

SPARK issues a Request for Proposals every summer for the next selection cycle.


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