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Welcome to the SPARK | REACH Colorado Funding Program Application Portal!

The application period for our fifth cohort opens on August 2, 2021 and closes September 28, 2021 at 5pm. Full applications are solicited by invitation only following referral from a CU Innovations licensing manager or the SPARK|REACH team.

For more information and to determine if you are a fit for the funding program, please visit the SPARK|REACH website. Click here to download the Application Form and Review Criteria.

About SPARK Awards

SPARK Awards are the funding mechanism of the SPARK|REACH program at CU Innovations. The goal of the program is to accelerate the commercial development of promising technologies that have proven science and a high potential to impact patients. Projects coming out of the program will be ready for licensing opportunities or the next round of independent financing through startups competitive for small business development grants (SBIR/STTR) or private capital investment.

A SPARK Award is not a traditional grant. The Funding Program focuses on commercial product development and does not support basic science research. Successful applicants will work with the SPARK|REACH and CU Innovations teams to develop product definition plans with critical go/no-go milestones.

A SPARK Award includes:

  • Funding: Teams are awarded up to $200,000 for no more than two years to develop novel therapeutics, medical devices, or diagnostics.
  • Mentorship: Teams receive 1:1 project management support, a customized program that adapts to the needs of each project, and dedicated support from the CU Innovations and SPARK|REACH Teams.
  • Industry Network: Teams will have access to industry and subject matter experts with experience in commercialization, pharmaceutical and medtech product development, and regulatory, reimbursement, and go-to-market strategy. 
  • Education and Resources: Teams will have access to the entire SPARK|REACH Education library and Startup Toolbox as well as seminars and workshops tailored to each cohort. Teams also benefit from monthly SPARK events where they share and receive feedback from our community.

Expectations of SPARK Fellows 

Since projects are supported on an individual basis and are marketed actively by the CU Innovations team, SPARK Fellows are expected to participate in product development and SPARK community events. Teams should expect to commit a minimum of 10 hours per month to commercial development activities. SPARK Fellows will: 

  • Work with the SPARK and CU Innovations team to develop and hit commercially relevant milestones, 
  • Attend monthly 1:1 meetings with a SPARK Project Manager and ad hoc meetings with advisors, service providers, industry providers, or investors, 
  • Attend monthly SPARK community and education sessions, 
  • Provide quarterly updates to the SPARK community, and 
  • Commit time to commercial development activities, collateral development, and translational story building.  

Expected Outcomes 

SPARK Awards support technologies that are within one or two key milestones of a commercial transaction or follow-on investment. Projects exiting the program will be ready for: 

  • Licensing technology to an existing company, 
  • Formation of a startup ready for SBIR/STTR submission and/or 
  • Submission of Advanced Industries Early-Stage Capital and Retention Grant and/or 
  • Receiving independent financing either through venture capital or non-federal funds or
  • Major industry-sponsored research agreements  

For More Information 

For more information about SPARK Awards and the SPARK|REACH Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz vist our website. Interested applicants are encouraged to reach out to Claire McDonald or your CU Innovations Case Manager (contact Chad Stanker for more information) before or early in the application period to discuss eligibility, program requirements, and application preparation.

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