Innovation Ecosystem

Every innovation follows a unique path to impact, and so the University has cultivated a system of resources to support innovators with different needs and at different stages in the commercialization process.  These resources are offered both by the University and in partnership with external programs.

University Mentoring & Funding Programs for Startups

Launched by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees in 2002, IllinoisVENTURES is a premier seed and early-stage technology investment firm focused on research-derived companies in information technologies, physical sciences, life sciences and clean technology. IllinoisVENTURES professionals provide guidance in market assessment, business strategy, and competitive analysis. The firm also provides funding through all stages of business creation and development.

Proof-of-Concept Programs

Chancellor’s Innovation Fund
established by the Office of the Chancellor in partnership with IllinoisVENTURES

Regional Proof-of-Concept Matching Fund Program
a State program managed by IllinoisVENTURES

Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM)
CIM connects technology-based startups with mentorship teams in the Chicago area. CIM teams receive commercialization guidance from mentors with industry experience. The Urbana campus is a member of CIM; teams from campus need to be nominated through the Office of Technology Management. Contact Nicole Nair if you are interested in learning more.

Illinois Biotechnology Industry Organization (iBIO)
iBIO is a life sciences industry association of more than 500 members comprised of life sciences companies, universities, academic institutions, service providers and others dedicated to making Illinois and the surrounding Midwest one of the world’s top life sciences centers.

Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC)
ISTC forges public-private partnerships between industry, research universities, federal labs, and government. We help increase investments in research and technology, develop talent, promote awareness and policies, and drive job growth in Illinois.

Located in downtown Chicago at the Merchandise Mart, MATTER is a community of healthcare entrepreneurs and industry leaders working together in a shared space to individually and collectively fuel the future of healthcare innovation.

UI Labs
Launched out of the University of Illinois, UI Labs is now an independent, Chicago-based research and commercialization collaborative. Bringing together university, industry, and government partners, UI Labs is accelerating the deployment of innovative technology.