Ignite History & Impact

Operating initially under the name Cornell Technology Acceleration and Maturation Fund (CTAM), and now re-launched as Ignite – Cornell Research: Lab to Market, Cornell University funds the further development of select innovations with definite next steps to validate commercialization strategy, whether that be via a startup company or corporate license.

The gap funding program was initiated and funded by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) in 2014 and has grown through university contributions and ongoing gifts from industry partners and alumni. A generous gift from Peggy J. Koenig ’78 helped launch Ignite in 2020, and Kairos Ventures donated to CTAM in 2017.

In the first five years of the CTAM program, completed projects have gone on to raise over $30M in venture capital, corporate-sponsored research, and research grants, a 34x return on investment.

Download the full report to read about select research lab or startup projects here.

map of how funds were distributed

Distribution detail

$1.7 million total investment
46 awarded, 27 completed
$42.1 *total impact

  • $8.9 million gifts and grants
  • $7.6 million commercial partnerships and commercialization
  • $25.6 million venture investment

$40 to $1 impact ROI*
*Impact amount based on completed projects

Ignite Success Stories

Minglin Ma encapsulation device for type 1 diabetes

Minglin Ma

Encapsulation Device for Type 1 Diabetes

The TRAFFIC is an implantable and retrievable device that has the potential to revolutionize the way patients with T1D manage their disease. The Ignite funding allowed the group to collect necessary in vivo data.
Key outcome: $6.4M in sponsored research effort from Novo Nordisk

Paul Mceuen smart electronic ID tags

Paul McEuen

Smart Electronic ID Tags

iD3, a truly microscopic smart tag provides broad applications in anti-counterfeiting. The Ignite funding facilitated the creation a commercially-viable prototype.
Key data: Formation in 2020 of a startup, OWiC technologies, Inc.

Accelerate Cornell Innovation.
Ignite Commercialization and Venture