A New Age of Innovation

In February the Chicago Innovation Exchange, hub for multidisciplinary collaborations and support for start-up activities, opened its first facility in Harper Court, one of three CIE spaces along 53rd Street. Together, the spaces will incubate five to ten new companies a year and furnish coworking space, gathering places, and meeting rooms to accommodate 350 people. The CIE brings together the University’s research and resource strengths to drive innovation, applying scientific discoveries to generate scalable solutions to societal problems.

The CIE and its partners, UChicago Tech and the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, all contribute to the CIE’s Innovation Fund, which this year awarded $275,000 for proof-of-concept work and business development for three faculty research projects and one UChicago spin-off venture. Launched in 2010, the Innovation Fund has awarded nearly $1.8 million to 25 University projects. This past October the University announced plans to increase the fund to $20 million to support faculty and student commercialization efforts.

“The fund addresses the critical bottleneck facing early-stage technologies on the path to commercialization,” says Alan Thomas, MBA’91, associate vice president and director of UChicago Tech, a specialized resource for intellectual property development. “With the expansion of the fund under CIE, we look forward to growing our capacity to bring discoveries to the public.”

The CIE also selected a group of UChicago College and graduate students to serve as associates to help screen, research, and support future Innovation Fund projects. “The Innovation Fund and the new associates program, among other activities, will help us expand our network of innovators across the University,” says John Flavin, executive director of the CIE.

To learn more about CIE and how you can support the Innovation Fund, contact Jason Pariso at 773.531.9062 or visit innovation.uchicago.edu.

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