The BioDurban SPARK program is a unique partnership between the university, industry and municipality. The purpose of SPARK is to provide the education and mentorship necessary to advance research discoveries from the bench to the bedside and create start-ups companies.

SPARK provides access to specialized knowledge and technical expertise regarding drug and diagnostic development, and sources of funding to support translational efforts. 

Deadline: Friday, October 29, 2019, 6 p.m. via online application >>

Amount of Funding:

Typical grants are ZAR 300,000 (i.e. $20,000) per year and depend on the individual proposal. Awards will be granted for the period from January 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020. 

Eligibility:

  • University Faculty, Instructors, Clinical Instructors. Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars (clinical and non-clinical) are required to include a PI faculty member of an Academic instituion as co-PI on the application.
  • SPARK Project to be developed in Durban, South Africa (*Please note that all of the projects need to be developed and/or incubated in the boundaries of the eThekwini Municipality, KZN, South Africa).

Areas of interest:

Any clinical and biomedical indication will be considered, with special targeted funds for genomics and indigenous knowledge.

Topic areas:

  • translational research 
  • help advance novel therapeutics and diagnostics to the clinic or commercial sector
  • promote efficient, cost-effective and innovative approaches to drug discovery and development 

Project selection:

Proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee composed of KRISP/UKZN, Stanford and SPARK Global faculty and commercial and industry experts. Based on the compiled rankings, finalists will be invited to present an oral pitch to the review panel in early December, 2019.  Approximately 3-5 proposals selected for awards (number dependent on available funding) will be notified before the end of December, 2019. Proposals will be evaluated based on following three criteria: Proposals will be evaluated based on following three criteria:

  • scope and/or severity of unmet medical need
  • novelty of approach
  • feasibility of the path to clinic, start-up or commercial enterprise

Program Mission:

The SPARK Program is a partnership between university and industry advisors to:

  • educate faculty, fellows and graduate students on the translational research process
  • help advance novel therapeutics and diagnostics to the clinic or commercial sector
  • promote efficient, cost-effective and innovative approaches to drug discovery and development

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