UChicagoTech launched the Innovation Fund in 2010 to accelerate the commercialization of promising, early-stage University of Chicago research discoveries.
The fund awards proof-of-concept grants to projects with high potential for societal and commercial impact, helping them to bridge the gap between basic research funding and commercial investment that is often referred to as the “valley of death.” Fund applicants also receive valuable feedback from a panel of internal and external business development experts—including distinguished angel and venture capital investors, scientists, and entrepreneurs—to help move their projects forward.
Through the Innovation Fund, UChicagoTech has invested $1.5 million in 23 projects throughout University of Chicago, three of which have each gone on to raise more than $2 million in follow-on funding.
The University of Chicago is one of the world's premier research institutions and generator of Nobel Prizes. It is home to a preeminent academic medical center that counts the nation's highest concentration of Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators and the fourth-highest per-faculty funding from the National Institutes of Health, and America's number-one ranked business school. The University manages Argonne National Laboratory, which houses the world's fastest supercomputer for open scientific research, and Fermilab, site of the world's second-most powerful particle accelerator.
As the appetite for disruptive innovation from major research centers grows, the Innovation Fund represents an increasingly accepted best practice and important new mechanism for converting the University of Chicago's intellectual capital into partnerships to create new technologies and products.