Project Selection and Granting Process

SPARK Project Selection Process

Grants for SPARK support the development of novel therapeutics (e.g., small molecules, peptides, biologics, nucleic acid therapies, vaccines, gene therapies, stem cells, etc.) and diagnostics for unmet medical needs.

Project proposals are reviewed annually by an expert panel of faculty and industry advisors. The panel reviews new, unlicensed disclosures made to the University Office of Technology Licensing, as well as proposals submitted from across the university. SPARK Scholars (AKA “SPARKees”) are funded for an average of two years and participate in weekly seminars with industry and academic experts. 


SPARK accepts product proposals for any clinical indication from any Stanford affiliate. This includes professors, clinicians, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.

The proposed therapy or diagnostic must:

  • Address an unmet need
  • Utilize a novel approach
  • Have the potential to advance to clinic or commercialization with two years of funding

SPARK takes a special interest in projects for global health, pediatrics, rare orphan diseases and other therapeutic areas that have been traditionally neglected by the for-profit sector.


Applying for a Grant

SPARK project grants are open to Stanford faculty with PI eligibility (with UTL, MCL, NTLR faculty appointments.)

Clinical Educator (CE) faculty, clinical instructors, instructors, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars (clinical and non-clinical) are required to include a PI-eligible faculty member as co-PI on the application.

Amount and Period of Funding

Typical grants range between $15,000 and $50,000 per year, depending on the specific program and the individual proposal. As a condition of funding, at least one member of each project team receiving a SPARK Pilot Grant must actively participate in weekly seminars (held Wednesday evenings from 5:30-7:30 pm) and present quarterly project updates. Funds must be applied to tasks that advance the technology toward the clinic and must be in compliance with SPARK's funding guidelines.

Proposal Deadlines

Proposal deadline for 2019: September 28, 2018