Program Description

The goal of the Ignite Program is to help Boston College researchers compete for increasingly limited pools of external funds, including private/foundational, state, federal, and international sources of funding. The Ignite Program provides rapid access to pilot funds, intended to help Boston College faculty engaged in research to compete for external funding. Awards will be distributed twice per year, with 8 awards for up to $30,000. The primary components of the proposal include a research plan and a leveraging plan, which provides an explanation of how the award will facilitate future applications for external funding.

Application Submission Date

  • October 2, 2023 – funds to be received on or before December 1, 2023.
  • April 10, 2024 – funds to be received on or before July 31, 2024.

Funding for the Ignite Program corresponds with the academic calendar. Award recipients should be aware that funds will not automatically carry over to the next fiscal year.  

You may contact the Assistant Director, Joanne Nesdekidis, for further inquiries about submissions.

Application Instructions

Faculty must FIRST submit online application form.

Documentation Format:

Minimum 0.5-inch margins, Arial Font, 11-point or larger. Proposals can be single or double spaced. Figures and figure legends count towards page limitations. A separate bibliography section (no page limit) can be used for references cited in the body of the proposal.


Proposals must include the following sections, in order:

I. Introduction & Significance (Limit: 1 page)

    a) Introduction: Briefly describe the proposed study in non-technical terms. This information will be used to help identify qualified experts to review the proposal.

    b) Significance: Describe the societal, scholarly, or scientific significance of the proposed research.  For example, explain how your proposal will help solve a problem or answer an outstanding question in your field, eliminate a barrier in your field, or how it might improve any methods, concepts, or knowledge if your project succeeds.

II. Innovation/Creativity (Limit: 1 page)
To what extent is your approach novel, interesting, or different?  For example, explain how your proposal differs from, or seeks to alter, ideas, concepts, methods, or approaches in the way your field thinks or conducts research.

III. Investigator/Scholar (Limit: 1 page)
Make it clear why your particular skill set, knowledge base, and area of expertise is best for accomplishing the goals of your proposal.  If there are other significant collaborators/contributors on your proposal, their role(s) can also be described here.

IV. Research Plan (Limit: 4 pages, including figures)
Describe your research plan which should include a description of the aims and goals of your project. 1

References-cited/bibliography goes in a separate section (VIII) and does not count towards the four-page limit.

V. Leveraging Plan (Limit: 1 page)
Ignite proposals should contain a Leveraging Plan which will be weighted equally to the Research Plan when reviewing the proposal.  In the leveraging plan, the PI/Scholar will illustrate how the supported project will contribute to future funding.  Examples of a leverage plan could include, but are not limited to:

    a) Details on how project data relate to an aim (or aims) of a future external grant;

    b) Indicate how project will contribute to a publication to show productivity for a grant or renewal;

    c) Describe direct relationship to a specific call for proposals (e.g., a Foundation call for applications, specific NSF program, an RFA or PA from NIH).  If possible, a link or URL to the official announcement should be included;

    d) Description of discussions with program officials at a Foundation or awarding agency (e.g., NIH/NSF) related to the project;

    e) Summary statement from a previously unfunded application for external funding, indicating how the Ignite award will be used for resubmission;

    f) Positive reviews of a publication indicating need for additional experiments;

    g) Letter of support from a funding agency or collaborator(s) indicating potential of the project for future funding;

    h) A description of how an Ignite award provides access to a resource or otherwise overcomes a barrier at Boston College that currently prevents you from competing for external funding for the project.

VI. Itemized Budget & Budget Justification (Limit: 1 page)
This section should provide an itemized budget along with a description of how the funds will be used relative to the Research Plan.

VII. Curriculum vitae or equivalent (No page limit)
At a maximum, this section should highlight professional achievements relevant to the proposed work.

VIII. Bibliography (No page limit)

Additional Instructions

Subsequent to receiving Ignite funding, the recipient will be asked to submit a brief report using our online form to provide updates and/or outcomes for 12-, 18-, and 24-months after receiving the award. For example, a recipient might report any grants received or papers published that were a result of the data gathered from obtaining an Ignite. Failure to provide updates precludes the Investigator/Scholar from further participations in the Ignite Program.


All full-time, tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty are eligible for the Ignite Program, and participation is encouraged at all three levels. Rank is not a criterion during review of applications.  Faculty who have a balance in their start-up packages greater than $30,000 are excluded from applying to the Ignite Program.

Application Review

An Ignite committee will conduct a preliminary evaluation of all the proposals received.  Applicants may provide the names of any potential reviewers that should be excluded from review of their study, and a brief explanation as to why. Ignite awards will be made based on both the strength of the research and overall responsiveness to the Ignite Program criteria.

Investigators with the top rated proposals will then be asked to provide an oral presentation to the internal Ignite committee.