One of the four signature programs of Ignite Cornell Research Lab to Market gap fund series. Launched in 2022, Ignite Fellow for New Ventures program funds and trains Ph.D. and master’s holders with entrepreneurial outlooks to start technology ventures.


The program aims to build new solid businesses, grow entrepreneur scientists and engineers, advance technology commercialization, and enrich Cornell’s venture ecosystem by creating high-value startup companies based on the partnership of an Ignite candidate and faculty inventor.

Key Features

  • Each selected project will be funded approximately $120K a year to support the compensation of the fellow and basic experiment expenses
  • Pre-Phase: 
    • Match Candidates with Faculty-Inventor
    • Create partnership & submit application
  • Phase I: report to Cornell faculty-inventor
  • Phase II: report to one of the incubator directors at Center for Life Science Ventures/Praxis/Runway Startups
  • All Ignite fellows will be Cornell employees during both phases I and II of the program under full-time commitment
  • Workplace: Fellows will work at the faculty inventor’s lab for technology development and have access to the incubator as an associate member for business development and connections during both phases
  • Initial training sessions and continued mentorship during the program duration
  • Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR) will work closely with the Ignite Postdocs in both phases
  • 5-8 Ignite Postdocs per cohort
  • Half of the financial support in phase I and the full amount in phase II will be combined as the principle of a SAFE note to the startup company once it’s established

One + One Model

This model intends to leverage the technical expertise of the labs where the inventions are created and venture incubation capabilities in the Cornell ecosystem to build a solid foundation for new ventures and provide the Ignite fellows with technical and business training.

One + one model
Are you interested in partnering with a Cornell innovator to start a new venture? Visit our pre-phase webpage to learn about current innovations with the potential to become a venture and fill out the form to be paired with an invention/faculty inventor.


  1. Technology: Projects based on Cornell innovations from Cornell’s Ithaca, Geneva, and Cornell Tech campuses will be considered. Technologies used in the application should have been disclosed to CTL.
  2. Applicant: Ignite Fellow candidate (download the complete guide for detailed information)
    • Any Ph.D. or master’s student graduating within six months of the application or Ph.D. or master’s degree holders with technical expertise in the field of the technology
    • In both cases, endorsed by the faculty inventor for the application
  3. Co-applicant: Faculty Inventor whose lab the technology was generated

Note: Applicants who have gone through programs such as I-Corps from NSF, Commercialization Fellow from the Engineering College, or other similar programs prior to application are preferred.


Applications are accepted one cycle per year in the spring.

The targeting starting time for Ignite Fellows is the beginning of Cornell’s fiscal year in July. However, the actual starting time may vary depending on the project with the approval of the Committee of Ignite Fellow for New Ventures.


Application Schedule

Pre-Phase: Matching Candidates With Faculty-inventor
Application Period Opens:
November 13, 2023
Application Period Closes: March 1, 2024, at 5 p.m.

Selection: End of April 2024
Starting Date: July/August 2024

Upcoming Information Sessions

Upcoming info sessions will happen on Friday at noon in the following dates:

Info session #1 – December 15th

Info session #2 – January 19th

Info session #3 – February 23rd

No upcoming information sessions. However, if you want more information about the program, contact Aaron Delahanty (abd99@cornell.edu).

Meet the Fellows

This program brings together an exceptional group of Fellows, each selected for their remarkable expertise and passion in diverse disciplines. With great pride, we present to you the exceptional talents and trailblazing projects from our cohorts of 2022 and 2023.

Meet the fellows >

Startups Portfolio

We proudly present the startups that have blossomed from the Ignite Fellow for New Ventures program. These ventures have navigated the phases of the program, from ideation and prototyping to market validation and growth. The result? Tangible, impactful businesses that are changing the landscape of their respective industries.

Learn about the new ventures >

Applications for the 2024 cycle are now open.