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Innovation Fund

Innovation Fund

Application & Eligibility

The Innovation Fund is a milestone based fund where successful applicants share several traits including:

  • A committed team
  • Strong evidence of market need
  • A clear plan for using the Innovation Fund Investment to tackle milestones, prove out a concept, and attract further funding
  • A faculty, student, or staff member on the founding team

Applications for the Fall 2018 Innovation Fund have closed. Eligible candidates include faculty, students, and staff seeking investment to commercialize their research. Students interested in becoming an Innovation Fund Associate can learn more about the program here.

Application Instructions // 

  • You can save your application at any time and return to complete it.
  • Each question has a 250-word limit and the form will not allow you to submit if you exceed it.
  • Applications for the fall cycle have closed.

What makes a successful application? //
The Innovation Fund looks for projects that have a high chance of commercial viability and large potential 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 that 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.

Resources To Help With Your Application //

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 polskylicensing@uchicago.edu on 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.

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