Sparking ideas and sprouting solutions

Brandeis’ Virtual Incubator is looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs

Have an idea for a business or product? Brandeis University wants to hear it.
SPARK, a new initiative created by the Brandeis University Virtual Incubator Program, is offering $50,000 to help bring ideas and entrepreneurial ambitions to life. It will focus on projects that promote positive social, educational or financial impact on a broad range of issues, including the environment, education, computer science, healthcare and economics. SPARK will also provide training and networking opportunities to aspiring entrepreneurs. 
SPARK is funded by the Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center and sponsored by the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL). A total of $50,000 will be awarded to selected projects, commensurate with the scope of the project.
“The Hassenfeld Family Innovation Center was founded to support the Brandeis community in different and innovative ways,” says Rebecca Menapace, associate provost for innovation and OTL executive director. “Brandeis is already such a collaborative place and we hope SPARK can deepen those connections, both on campus and in the broader community.”
Undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, faculty and staff are all welcome to submit proposals. Preliminary proposals are due by Friday, March 6, 2015. Finalists will present their proposal to a panel of industry judges at the end of April and awards will be announced by early May.
Friday, March 6, also marks the deadline for proposals for SPROUT Grants, a five-year-old initiative to support innovative research projects. A total of $50,000 will be awarded to selected projects, commensurate with the scope of the project.
Funded by the Office of the Provost and sponsored by OTL, SPROUT Grants are awarded to projects that require bench research, lab space or lab equipment. Finalists will also be eligible for training and networking opportunities. Previous winners include projects focused on developing new classes of anti-cancer drugs; improving the manufacture of insulin, and improving a genome modification system.
“Together, the SPROUT and SPARK programs create a virtual incubator spanning the breadth of what we do at Brandeis, from developing software and apps to improving protein chemistry and vaccine development,” says Menapace.

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