One of the four signature programs of Ignite Cornell Research Lab to Market gap fund series. Launched in 2022, Ignite Postdoc for Ventures program funds and trains postdocs and/or MBAs with entrepreneurial outlooks to start technology ventures.


The goal of the program is to build strong new businesses, grow entrepreneur scientists and engineers, advance technology commercialization, and enrich Cornell’s venture ecosystem.

Key Features

  • Each selected project will be funded approximately $120K a year to support the compensation of the postdoc 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
  • All Ignite Postdocs will be Cornell employees during both phases I and II of the program under full-time commitment
  • Workplace: Postdocs 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
  • 5-6 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 both 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 to provide the Ignite Postdocs with the technical and business trainings.

One + one model


  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 Postdoc candidate (download the complete guide for detailed information)
    • Cornell MBA or Ph.D. student graduating within six months of the application, or a current Cornell postdoc
    • External candidate with technical expertise in the field of the technology
    • In both cases endorsed by 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 Postdocs 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 Postdoc for Ventures.


Application Schedule

Application Period Opens: December 12, 2022
Application Deadline: March 3, 2023


Applications accepted from January 23, 2023, through March 24, 2023.