Less than nine months after its launch, the Chicago Innovation Mentors (CIM) has received a $60,000 grant from the Chicago Biomedical Consortium, which is supported by the Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust.
“This speaks very loudly for CIM in that we can go from concept in November to attracting our first outside funder just nine months later,” says Keith Terry, executive director of CIM.
A multi-institution initiative that cultivates university technology commercialization by matching experienced entrepreneurs, executives, and domain experts with innovative faculty, CIM supports biomedical opportunities from the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, in collaboration with the iBIO® Institute. All four groups are co-founders of CIM.
Already the program has grown from 25 mentors at its inception to nearly 60, with 20 mentoring projects currently underway.
The award will allow CIM, which has mainly operated with part-time support, to bring on a full-time operations manager.
“The impact will be profound because this employee will be able to focus specifically on improving the internal operations of CIM,” Terry says. “It will also help us to become a lot more efficient in how we run the program, interact with our mentors, and track the program. It’s a major benefit and a major win for us.”
Executive Director of the Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC), Kathryn Stallcup, says her organization was impressed by the collaborative effort that gave rise to CIM and hopes that the grant will help foster the translation of promising research at each of the CBC universities.
“The CBC anticipates that CIM will continue to match entrepreneurial faculty at each campus with experienced mentors,” she says. “The ideal outcome will be the launch of several companies that will translate research discoveries into new biotech companies; companies that, we hope, will be established here in the Chicago area.”
Like the Chicago Innovation Mentors, CBC was established to stimulate collaboration among scientists at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the University of Chicago to support biomedical research.
“Innovation is a great driver of the global economy,” Stallcup says. “While the CBC is focused on the Chicago area, breakthroughs in biomedicine can certainly have worldwide health impacts. It would be wonderful for Chicago to build an international reputation as a center of science-based innovation.”
For more information on the CIM, visit http://tech.uchicago.edu/features/20101214_mentoring/.
For more information on the CBC, visit www.chicagobiomedicalconsortium.org.