How to Apply for SPARK

Spark your entrepreneurial spirit with SPARK

SPARK LogoSPARK offers aspiring change-makers at Brandeis the support they need to turn their vision into reality. Through SPARK, Brandeis innovators will work on exploring the viability of their research and ideas while building the basis of what can come to be game-changing solutions.

Participating in SPARK will give you opportunities to:

as well as be eligible to apply for seed funding for your startup idea. 

Each year, up to $50,000 in SPARK funding is divided among the most promising projects. The amount of funding is commensurate with the scope of the project and is distributed based on achievement of project milestones. 

Applications for SPARK become available every Fall semester.  Join our mailing list or follow us on Twitter to be notified when applications are open.

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Marshall Chang

Marshall Chang, BA/MA '17, won 2017's SPARKTank competition and went on to MassChallenge, one of the world's leading startup accelerators.

Want an Idea of What Types of Projects Win SPARK Grants?

Check out the teams that won and participated in SPARK for the 2018 academic year. 

See the Current Cohort's Projects

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Who May Apply

Undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, faculty and staff from any Brandeis department or school are eligible to apply for SPARK. Please note that at least one team member must be a Brandeis affiliate.

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Eligible Projects

The SPARK Program at Brandeis provides pilot funding for innovative projects that involve the environment, education, computer science, healthcare, economic solutions, or social needs. The projects should further have a positive social, educational or financial impact. Some examples of such projects would be a smartphone or web app, educational tools, social solutions, cyber security, big data and arts.

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Intellectual Property

For students that are exempt from the Brandeis University Intellectual Property (IP) Policy, the teams will own the IP and/or any source code unless (a) one of the team members falls under the IP policy; and/or (b) significant Brandeis resources are utilized in the project. Brandeis University Intellectual Property Policy can be found on the OTL website here

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Application Process

To apply, applicants fill out an online form about their idea and team during the call for applications, which takes place during the Fall semester of each year. Application forms will be available and all due dates published on this page and the Brandeis Innovation homepage.

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Evaluation Criteria

SPARK Program Final Proposals are judged by a panel of independent, outside reviewers. Applications will be judged using the following criteria:

  • Potential for social, educational or financial impact;

  • Potential importance of the proposed project;

  • Overall quality of proposed project plan;

  • Competence, balance and completeness of entrepreneurial team;

  • Probability of achieving proposed goal with the Award resources and in the time proposed;

  • Degree of innovation and novelty in the proposed project;

  • Possibility of attracting future development funding to advance the proposed project. 

The highest-ranking proposals will be invited to pitch at our SPARKTank competition.