The Center for Technology Licensing (CTL) is Cornell University's technology transfer office. We manage technology for Cornell's Ithaca campus, Weill Cornell Medicine, Cornell Tech, and Cornell AgriTech in Geneva.


The IGNITE Program is funded in part through a generous gift from Peggy J. Koenig ’78.




In an academic research environment, gap funding provides critical support to promising technologies and innovations that have great commercial potential but are “too early” for licensing or investment to help validate the innovation and reduce risk. IGNITE- Cornell Research Gap Funding Program is supported by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (“OVPR”) with funding from the operating budget and also generous donations. The goal of the IGNITE program is to accelerate and advance technologies in Cornell research labs and startup companies to their next inflection point on their development and commercialization path for societal benefit.


IGNITE is Cornell Research’s next-generation funding program growing out of its original gap fund, the Cornell Technology Acceleration and Maturation (CTAM) Fund launched by OVPR in 2014 (see program impact report here). With over 30 projects funded in its first 5 years, completed projects have gone on to raise $34 for every $1 funded in further corporate research grants/gifts and venture investment, achieving a total impact of over $30.3M.


The IGNITE program builds on CTAM’s success both with additional support from the university and by tailoring its funding options for research labs and startups while opening up the opportunities for corporate collaborators. While unique in their application, all three programs operate with common goals:

  • Accelerate technology protection, licensing, venture creation/investment and/or corporate research collaboration.
  • Reduce risk via validation of a prototype, beta-testing, data generation and analysis, validation demonstrations, market research and business plan refinement.
  • Increase value by enabling projects with clear results that lead to and justify further engagement and development from investors and corporate partners.

The three IGNITE program options are:



IGNITE:Research Acceleration


Research grants up to $50,000 per project to accelerate active CTL inventions from the Ithaca, Geneva, or Cornell Tech campuses towards commercialization. Applications are received twice per year via a Spring and Fall cycle. Each application is reviewed for alignment and those that move forward receive external reviews and present to a review board. Learn more about IGNITE:Research Acceleration here.


Applications are now being accepted for IGNITE:Research Acceleration.



  • Application Period Opens: TBD
  • Webinar Info Session 1: TBD
  • Application Deadline: TBD
  • Presentation Day: TBD


(New) CTL can provide 1 hour of market research assistance to support your application.


Apply through the InfoReady platform [link]



IGNITE:Startup Projects


Up to $50,000 in project funding via a convertible note for all active CTL Startup Licensees from Ithaca, Geneva or Cornell Tech campuses; and/or members of Praxis, McGovern, REV and the PostDoc Runway program at Cornell Tech. Applications are received via the CTL website on an open, rolling basis. Applications are reviewed for alignment, receives votes from external reviewers evaluating the project and company, those selected to move forward present to a review board. Learn more about IGNITE:Startup Projects here.


Applications are now being accepted for IGNITE:Startup Project and are welcome on a rolling basis.


Presentation Day: 1 hour-presentation will be scheduled by CTL team a month after your application


Apply through the InfoReady platform



IGNITE:Partnership Development


Project opportunities and amounts available will be defined in cooperation with corporate partners seeking to establish research relationships with Cornell. Calls for projects will be offered on an as-available basis and will likely be aligned a targeted theme or issue. Application review and awards will be completed by a committee assembled for the purpose whose structure will be communicated prior. Learn more about IGNITE:Partnership Development here.


Closed campaigns

  • Cargill Idea Solicitation