George Shultz Innovation Fund

George Shultz Innovation Fund

Application & Eligibility

The George Shultz Innovation Fund (GSIF) is a co-investment seed fund where successful applicants share several traits including:

  • A committed team
  • Strong evidence of market need
  • A clear plan for using the GSIF Investment to tackle milestones and attract further funding
  • A current faculty, student, or staff member on the founding team from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Lab, Fermilab or Marine Biological Laboratory

Application Instructions // 

  • Applications for Spring 2024 can be submitted here until February 12, 2024.
  • You will be required to submit your most recent pitch deck on the application form.
  • Following initial screening, you may be asked to submit additional materials to the GSIF program team.

What makes a successful application? //
The George Shultz Innovation Fund looks for projects that have a high chance of commercial viability and large potential for impact. Past successful applicants have shared the following characteristics:

  • Committed team with dedicated technology and business founders
  • Significant technical milestones have been achieved:
    • Drug: Lead candidate(s) identified (or nearly)
    • Device: Initial prototype completed
    • Software: MVP released to initial customers
  • The technology is demonstrably better/different than what is already available.
  • The value proposition of the technology has been validated with end customers
  • The work to be funded will likely lead to outside funding, customers, or other engagement.

What information about my technology should I disclose? //
Your application will be held in confidence. However, some members of our review committee are private investors with no formal affiliation with the University. If some element of your technology may be patentable but has not yet been patented, please email to connect with the Technology Commercialization team at the Polsky Center to discuss before submitting.

The Polsky Center offers extensive support for early lifecycle companies interested in innovation funding:

  • Technology Commercialization: Support with the protection of your invention
  • Collaboratorium: Uniting UChicago students with researchers, technologists, and faculty who want to explore the commercialization opportunities and business applications of their work. The program is a chance to access business talent and build a team.
  • Polsky I-Corps: Empowering UChicago scientists, researchers, and students to test the commercial potential of their research and ideas.
  • Compass: A deep tech accelerator program to support UChicago faculty, researchers, and students as they build their venture and validate their path to market.

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