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The University of Chicago Innovation Fund announces sixth funding round awards

UChicagoTech is pleased to announce the results of the most recent funding round of the Innovation Fund, the University of Chicago's philanthropic proof-of-concept fund.

The Innovation Fund offers competitive grants to UChicago innovators to validate the commercial potential of basic research discoveries. The Innovation Fund’s sixth funding round was completed on June 3, 2013. This round piloted a pre-proposal process which solicited submissions from the UChicago community, resulting in 13 applications for review, of which five were chosen to move forward to the presentation stage. The successful pre-proposal process is an important step in the University’s continuing expansion of the Fund.

Following a day of in-depth presentations, the Advisory Committee recommended four projects for funding:

  • Chuan He – Small Molecule Inhibitors of Copper Chaperones ($80,000)
  • Yang-Xin Fu – Antibody-Targeted LIGHT ($100,000)
  • Dmitri Talapin – Nanocrystal “Glue” for High-Efficiency Thermoelectric Materials ($100,000)
  • A project within the Medical Center; complete announcement pending departmental review ($20,000)

These funding recommendations were ratified by the Vice President for Research, Don Levy. The team for each proposal, funded and unfunded, was provided with feedback from the Committee regarding the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their particular project, as well as suggestions for how best to move the work forward.

“The success of the Innovation Fund is made possible through the generous contribution of time from our exceptional review committee” said Heather Walsh, UChicagoTech Assistant Director, who manages the Innovation Fund process. “It has grown to 13 advisors, including alumni, friends, and professors, who have shown themselves to be great resources to stimulate translation, corporate engagement, and venture creation across campus.”

About the Innovation Fund

Since its launch in 2010, the Innovation Fund has awarded over $1.5M to 23 projects at a crucial stage in their development. Two of these funded projects have gone on to raise $2M each.

The Innovation Fund awards help with prototyping, bridging of application domains from academic to commercial, critical market studies, and leveraging of other proof-of-concept funding sources. The Fund enables researchers working with business development professionals to span the "Valley of Death" that separates a promising invention from a viable product.

About UChicagoTech

UChicagoTech, the University of Chicago’s Center for Technology Development & Ventures, drives the transformation of UChicago’s research into tangible products and services by engaging with partners in the University, in industry, and across the broader innovation community. UChicagoTech’s dedication to the commercialization of UChicago’s research has led to several hundred license agreements with leading companies and over 70 startups since the office was formed in 1987.

For more information, please visit UChicagoTech: Innovation Fund.

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The University of Chicago Innovation Fund announces sixth funding round awards

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