The Office of Faculty Development is excited to extend an invitation for junior faculty members to participate and present a short talk at the upcoming Supportive Project Advancement & Research Kickstart (SPARK) Initiative/Forum. This program is designed to nurture and elevate scientific research ideas, intradepartmental collaborations with a particular focus on supporting junior faculty.

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 during our followed happy hour.
How to Register To Present
  1. Submit a project abstract and your top two preferred months to present using this form.
  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 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

Assistant 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.