UChicago Innovation Fest begins May 1

Celebration of discovery and entrepreneurship to feature more alumni engagement

UChicago Innovation Fest, the University’s annual celebration of pioneering discovery and entrepreneurial endeavors, will kick off Wednesday, May 1.

Led by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the six-week event series will feature three overarching themes: entrepreneurship and research commercialization, scientific advancements, and social impact.

Designed to underscore the diverse impact of innovation at the University of Chicago, this year’s Innovation Fest will feature more than 30 speaker events, workshops and accelerator program pitch events, including the world-renowned Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge.

A hallmark of this year’s Innovation Fest is engaging with UChicago alumni and reinvigorating their connection to innovations and experiences across campus. Additionally, the inaugural Alumni New Venture Challenge Finals will help kick off Innovation Fest on May 2, bringing together eight UChicago alumni-led ventures from around the world to compete for $100,000 in prize money.

The fest kicks off with a May 1 event examining artificial intelligence. Other highlights include the May 3 grand-opening celebration of the Harris School of Public Policy’s Keller Center, a first-time event in Hong Kong, a discussion of a Chicago municipal ID program called CityKey, an open house to connect industry partners with researchers and students at the Institute for Molecular Engineering, and more. 

Originally launched in May 2014, UChicago Innovation Fest emerged from the Polsky Center’s “Innovation Week” at Chicago Booth. In 2016, in an effort to engage with the larger UChicago and surrounding communities, the Polsky Center partnered with other innovative organizations and centers across campus to launch UChicago Innovation Fest as it exists today.

A full list of events, including livestreams of capstone events such as the Alumni New Venture Challenge Finals, the John Edwardson, ‘72 Social New Venture Challenge Finals, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge Finals, and the George Shultz Innovation Fund Finals can be found on the UChicago Innovation Fest website.