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

The application period for our seventh cohort opens on June 19, 2023 and closes September 27, 2023 at 1:00pm.

For more information and to determine if you are a fit for the funding program, please visit the SPARK|REACH website.

Click here to see an example of the Application Form and Review Criteria.


SPARK|REACH 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 to industry or the next round of independent financing through startups competitive for small business development grants (SBIR/STTR) or private capital investment.

A SPARK|REACH Award is not a traditional grant. The funding program focuses on commercial product development and does not focus on supporting 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|REACH Award includes:

  • Funding: Teams are awarded up to $200,000 for 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|REACH Fellows 

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

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

Expected Outcomes 

SPARK|REACH 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|REACH Awards and the SPARK|REACH Program at the University of Colorado Anschutz vist our website. Interested applicants are encouraged to reach out to our team at SPARKCU or your CU Innovations Case Manager before or early in the application period to discuss eligibility, program requirements, and application preparation.

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