SPARK-VT Mission

• To accelerate the process of moving discoveries into the marketplace.
• To develop an environment at UVM that fosters and facilitates moving innovative, collaborative research toward commercialization.
• To increase the competitiveness for research funding involving small business and/or commercialization.
• To educate faculty, fellows and students on how to transition innovative ideas and discoveries into commercial applications.

SPARK-VT Application Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed and screened by the SPARK-VT Steering Committee. Eligible proposals will then be sent to Fuentek for an Initial Technology Review before being sent for review and scoring to the program’s external consultant panel. This consultant panel is comprised of a group of highly-accomplished leaders from the legal, device, pharmaceutical, technology, and venture capitalist sectors. The consultant panel will score the proposals and establish an overall ranking to invite the top applicants to present their project to the consultant panel in June.
Projects selected for funding will receive milestones and progress metrics to ensure the project's steady progress. A progress report meeting will be held approximately six-months from the project's start where investigators will report their findings and challenges and receive continued input and advice from the consultant panel.
Award amounts range from $25,000 to a maximum of $45,000. Funding is awarded from the Office of the Vice President for Research (OVPR). Funds must be applied to specific tasks that advance a discovery/technology towards a commercial application.

SPARK-VT Application Review Timeline

• Proposals must be submitted by February 15, 2022

• The SPARK-VT Program’s Steering Committee will review and validate each proposal and budget submission for completeness. Any proposal that is screened out will be returned to the applicant(s) by February, 22, 2022 with the reason for return.

• Proposals that are deemed eligible for the program will be sent to Fuentek for a comprehensive Initial Technology Review. It is anticipated that this review will be completed by April 15, 2022

• Proposals and their corresponding Fuentek Initial Technology Review report will be sent to the SPARK-VT Program’s external consultant panel for review and scoring. It is anticipated that this review will be completed by April 30, 2022.

• Applicants can anticipate receiving the Fuentek Initial Technology Review report and the scores and comments their proposal received from the consultant panel by mid May 2022. As part of this process, the proposals that are selected for presentation to the SPARK-VT external consultant panel will be identified.

• A proposal presentation workshop with a recommended slide deck will be held in late-May 2022 to help applicants prepare for the presentation meeting.

• The SPARK-VT Proposal Presentation meeting will be held on June 24, 2022

• Funding decisions will be made by July 1, 2022

Criteria for Project Consideration & Investigator Eligibility Criteria

Interested Applicants must:
1. Review their project with UVM Innovations to ensure the project meets the SPARK-VT Program’s eligibility threshold. UVM Innovations will help applicants assess the intellectual property status of their innovation. Applicants who fail to meet with UVM Innovations prior to submitting an application will be ineligible to participate.
2. Meet UVM’s Faculty Principal Investigator Eligibility Guidelines to be eligible to apply for SPARK-VT program award.
3. Award Recipients will be required to meet the conditions set forth in UVM’s Intellectual Property Policy. Only projects that have their intellectual property assigned to UVM will be considered.

How to Apply for SPARK-VT Funding?

Applications can be submitted at UVM's internal competition website, inforeadyreview.

Requirements for SPARK in 2022 are to submit the following information on a maximum of 3 pages via infoready review.

  1. Name of Principal Investigator(s) and Co-Investigator(s) and corresponding home college/school and department.
  2. Description of proposed project (i.e., new system, software, drug, device, etc.)
  3. Description of underlying basis of the invention:
    • What is the unique technology that you are providing with your product?
    • How novel, revolutionary and/or revolutionary is it?
    • Comparison to the current “standard practice” in effectiveness and cost?
  4. Description of product and market:
    • Problem addressed and product indication/need
      • Potential customers
    • Brief scope of market
      • Size of potential market
      • Growth of market
  5. Potential competitors
  6. SPARK project objectives - Impact of award money toward achieving commercial success
  7. Development plan - describe your short term and long term development path; do you intend to license the technology through UVM Innovations to an existing company, apply for SBIR/STTR funding, and/or create a start- up company, etc?
  8. Applicant credentials – provide a brief description of your background and experience to demonstrate your credentials; list any potential collaborator(s) who will complement your expertise; and, if applicable, describe any unique infrastructural/facilities advantages at your disposal.
  9. Anticipated 2 year budget –The third page should be dedicated to providing details on a proposed budget for a project to span two years. This should include an itemized budget by category (i.e., personnel, supplies, equipment, etc.) and a brief budget justification. The budgeted funds will be released in two tranches for each year of a funded SPARK project. Please note that faculty salary cannot be part of the budget. 

Submission details;

• 3 pages max (2 pages proposal and 1 page budget & budget justification)
• Single spaced
• 1/2" margins
• 11 point Arial font

Completed PDF applications must be submitted via infoready review no later than midnight, February 15, 2022.