• uconn
  • uconn health
Page content relevant to:

SPARK Submission Guidelines

Letter of Intent (LOI) Instructions

SPARK LOIs consist of 2 forms and a PDF file upload.

Faculty Applicant Information Form (some information may pre-populate into the form):

  • Submitting PI Name
  • Home Department
  • School/College
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Faculty/Academic Rank
  • Primary Employer
  • Question - is your position contingent on grant funding?

SPARK Application Form

  • Project Title:
  • Estimated Funds Requested ($50K max for initial funding term, up to $100K if follow-on funding is anticipated)
  • Resubmission Y/N
  • Has an invention disclosure been submitted for this innovation?
  • Has a patent been filed / granted
  • Federal Opportunity Targeted: Please name the Federal funder and specific mechanism your team will be targeting. Please include the mechanism's award range and the date you are targeting for submission
  • Size of Team: 0-10
  • Key Personnel: Co-PIs, department affiliation, role on project

LOI document (PDF Upload)

Your LOI must be no longer than two pages  (12-pt font and 1” margins; single spacing and single-side pages). Please include the following information:

  1. Unmet Need/Problem: Please describe in concise terms the current unmet need in the market.
  2. Product/Solution: Please describe how your product or solution addresses or solves the unmet need.
  3. Target Customer: Who is the potential customer for this solution? Ex: Who is going to buy the product?
  4. Competitive Advantage: Describe current solutions and why your solution is better than currently available solutions in the market? Ex: Faster/Better/Cheaper
  5. Market Size: Please describe the potential market size for this product or technology.
  6. Intellectual Property: List all filed/granted patents and invention disclosures filed related to the technology.
  7. Regulatory pathway/Reimbursement: Succinctly describe the regulatory pathway and reimbursement if applicable.
  8. Revenue Model: How will your product make money? Ex: Subscription/Fee/Capital Expense.

LOIs should be uploaded as a single PDF to the Quest Portal by the LOI due date.



Full Proposal Submission Instructions

Elements to include in the full application are as follows:

  1. A one-paragraph abstract (type or copy/paste into a form on Quest).
  2. Results from prior OVPR-funded projects: If you've received funding in the past from OVPR internal seed grants or commercialization grants, please give a brief account of the outcomes of those projects and any research products generated (type or copy/paste into a form on Quest).
  3. Project plan document (five page maximum, 12-pt font and 1” margins), including
    1. Problem/Unmet need: Describe the problem or unmet need that the innovation targets.
    2. Description of the Product: Describe in detail the product or technology concept.
    3. Estimate Market Size:
      1. Please describe the total available market this invention addresses (TAM)
      2. Estimate serviceable available market (SAM)
      3. Estimate serviceable obtainable market (SOM)
    4. Competing Products:
      1.  Identify any currently available products/technologies, and explain why they do not adequately satisfy the problem or unmet need.
      2. Explain how the proposed innovation is different from or better than those that are already available.
    5. Intellectual property (IP): Describe your IP position, and the competitive IP landscape. List your current patent applications or patents pending as well as any granted patents related to this project. If you currently have no patent applications, please mention plans for future invention disclosures.
    6. Commercialization Plan:
      1. Describe major milestones required to enter market?
      2. Describe the pathway to market?
      3. Expected time to enter market and financing required to enter the market
    7. Regulatory Pathway & Reimbursement:
      1. Please describe in detail the regulatory pathway if applicable.
        1. Medical Devices: 510(k), DeNovo or PMA
        2. Pharma 505(b)(1) or 505 (b) (2) .
      2. Please describe reimbursement strategy if applicable.
    8. Potential Exits: Is it an acquisition, licensing or IPO?
    9. Preliminary evidence: Summarize any preliminary data available that substantiates the proposed innovation usefulness for the applications envisioned.
    10. Proposed work with project milestones: Outline the proposed scope of work approaches with timelines and a clearly defined set of objective milestones to be completed by the end of the initial award period.  Please include an analysis of how the proposed activities will sufficiently de-risk the innovation to allow for further commercial development.
  4. Biosketches/CVs: Please include brief biosketches/CVs (formatted as appropriate for your field) for all PIs/Co-PIs.  Include your most recent publications or those most relevant to the work proposed.  Also include current/pending support from external sponsors and UConn sources (including start-up funding). This may be appended to the end of the CV/biosketch or integrated within it, if your discipline’s format already provides space for current/pending.  Biosketches/CVs may be uploaded as one PDF or as separate PDF documents.
  5. Budget: Provide a preliminary budget estimate and proposed use of funds using the Internal Budget Funding template.xlsx
  6.  The budget spreadsheet should be converted to PDF format prior to upload.

Full Proposals will only be accepted from applicants who have submitted an LOI and received an invitation to proceed with a proposal. Invited applicants should upload their proposal documents the Quest Portal by the full application due date of January 22, 2024.

SPARK Full Proposal Budget Guidelines

Please see the general budget guidelines for the OVPR Research Development Internal Funding awards.

  • Allowable costs: graduate student stipends/summer support, postdoc salaries, faculty summer fellowships (limited to $3000 per PI) only available to faculty on less than 12-month appointments with room for summer support), other research assistant salaries, associated fringe costs, instrument use fees, materials and supplies, contractual services (external consultants or fee-for-service providers). Other commercialization-related costs not specified here or in the not-allowed list below should be listed in the budget and justified.  No more than 50% of funds any budget period can be for salary/fringe costs
  • Not-allowable costs: faculty academic year salary, large equipment acquisition costs, publication costs, travel for the purpose of presenting research results, costs related to basic research aims, graduate tuition, any overhead or F&A, costs related to establishing a start-up company.  If a faculty-owned company already exists, costs that occur within/related to the company are not allowable.  All University financial conflict of interest policies must be observed.
  • Any changes to the budget of an awarded project must be approved in advance by the program director. Requests for rebudgeting can be made to research@uconn.edu.
  • Note: All contractual services and materials and supplies must be procured following University purchasing policies.