UIC launches $10M ‘innovation fund’ to advance startups
The University of Illinois at Chicago will launch a $10 million fund to move technologies devised by faculty, students or staff from research to commercial use.
The Chancellor’s Innovation Fund will make grants totaling $2 million a year for five years. About half the funding is expected to finance proof-of-concept grants of up to $75,000 for projects just emerging from basic research. The other half will provide equity funding of $150,000 to $250,000 for start-ups that have moved beyond proof-of-concept and are closer to commercialization. The precise division will be determined by opportunities for investment.
“The fund establishes UIC as a leader in technology acceleration, enhances our competitiveness, and positions UIC as an important partner to external stakeholders,” says UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares.
Proceeds from fund investments will be reinvested to support further UIC technology development. The fund will be managed by Illinois Ventures, a technology investment firm launched 10 years ago by the University of Illinois.
“Some novel university-based technologies fail to bridge the gap between research and commercialization,” said Nancy Sullivan, CEO of Illinois Ventures and interim executive director of UIC’s Office of Technology Management. “The campus created the innovation fund to further accelerate UIC’s commercialization efforts and bridge this gap.”
Sullivan said Illinois Ventures has “the necessary expertise and infrastructure to evaluate proposed technologies for project impact, technological soundness, intellectual property strength, and market potential.”