This initiative is designed in support of developing and elevating scientific research ideas, new educational programs, and intradepartmental collaborations. While the program is focused on junior faculty (at instructor or assistant professor level), mid-career faculty who are embarking on a change between a clinical and research focus, or desire to receive mentored guidance on a new research direction are also encouraged to apply.  

Interested applicants are encouraged to read more about the program below. Please note that you must complete a presentation before applying for funding.

What is the SPARK Initiative?

The SPARK Initiative aims to:

  1. Support your innovation ideas and provide constructive feedback
  2. Advance innovative work from concept to implementation.
  3. Foster Research by encouraging researchers, across our department to work together
  4. Kickstart groundbreaking projects with seed funding and resources.
  5. Mentorship: Foster a mentorship environment where seasoned and junior faculty can share insights.
Why Apply and Present?
  • Showcase Your Work: This is a unique platform for you to present your research ideas or ongoing projects or new innovative ideas to your peers and senior faculty.
  • Seed Funding: Selected projects could receive initial funding to support your research journey.
  • Mentorship: Engage with seasoned professionals in your field who can provide invaluable guidance.
  • Networking: This is a prime opportunity for interdisciplinary interaction and potential collaboration.
How to Register To Present
  1. Submit 150-word project abstract using this form. For acceptance the project should be novel and relevant to the mission of the department.
  2. Once notified of acceptance to present:
    In conjunction with the SPARK Committee, identify 5-8 colleagues with knowledge in your project area to invite and provide feedback to you. Include colleagues from within and outside of Pathology & Immunology and colleagues with knowledge of different aspects of your project.
  3. Prepare a 30-minute presentation of your project, including planned use of awarded funding. As a guide, keep your introduction/background succinct (ideally not more than 5 minutes) and use the remaining time to focus on the rationale, any preliminary data (if available), and the proposed project design and budget justification.
  4. Invite your colleagues and mentors once the date of your presentation is determined.
  5. The SPARK session will consist of your 30-minute presentation followed by 30-60 minutes of questions, discussion, and feedback.
How to Apply for Funding

Once you have presented, please submit a proposal using our SPARK Funding Application form. Your proposal should include:

1.    An abstract (150 words)

2.    A Research Design/Educational Program statement (1000 words, excluding figures and references), including:

  •  Background
  • Experimental Design/Educational Initiative
  • Expected Outcomes/Deliverables
  • References

3.    A Future Directions statement (250 words) that answers the following questions:

  • What are the long-term goals of this project beyond the proposed studies/initiatives?
  • How does the proposed project fit into the overall research/educational program of the investigator and/or how does it open a new area of research or academic interest?
  • How does the SPARK initiative support the career advancement of the faculty?

4.    A desired funding allotment up to $10,000; salary support is not allowed.

SPARK Forum Committee
Eynav Klechevsky, PhD

Eynav Klechevsky, PhD

Associate Professor, Pathology & Immunology

Division: Immunobiology

Office of Faculty Development Representative

Ulrike Lorenz, PhD

Ulrike Lorenz, PhD

Professor, Pathology & Immunology

Division: Immunobiology

SPARK Program Coordinator: Janet Braun

By being part of SPARK community, you’re not just advancing your own work—you’re contributing to our collaborative and advancing research within our department. We look forward to your participation and are excited to hear and support your innovative research.