October 18-20 | Tucson, AZ

The Research Institution GAP Fund and Accelerator Program Summit

Update on University of Illinois Proof-of-Concept Program

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October 18-20, 2023 / Tucson, AZ
The annual summit for research institution gap fund and accelerator programs, including proof of concept programs, startup accelerators, and university venture funds

The Story



Last spring, the University launched the Illinois Proof-of-Concept fund (I-POC) to help bridge the gap between University innovations and the marketplace by funding research and development that will demonstrate an innovation’s market viability to potential investors and partners.

In the first round, five faculty projects were funded.

Recipients included:

  • Kaustubh Bhalerao, from the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences, for developing a Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) testing service that is faster and provides more precise data than existing solutions.
  • Stephen Boppart, from the Beckman Institute for Advances Science and Technology and the College of Engineering for his Quantitative Pneumatic Otoscope, which uses optical coherence tomography (OTC) to visualize middle ear disease.
  • Martin Burke, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for advancing a non-toxic amphotericin toward clinical candidacy by developing a compound with the potential to become a frontline antifungal therapy.
  • Andrew Singer, College of Engineering professor and Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center, for developing a high-speed underwater wireless communications system.
  • Heinrich Taube, from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, for Harmonia, which aims to replace paper-based music theory instruction with a mobile app that allows musical content to be created, edited, searched, annotated, and automatically graded.

We are proud to announce that all five projects have resulted in or are on their way to becoming start-up companies.

Additionally, the above video about the I-POC program, along with the projects it funded, was featured in the innovosource newsletter.

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