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Campus Proof-of-Concept Programs

Bridging the gap between University innovations and the marketplace

Proof-of-Concept programs fund development projects that demonstrate an innovation's market viability to potential investors and partners. Projects consist of a defined set of milestones that, when completed, help overcome a specific hurdle to an innovation's transfer outside of the University. 

Please note: Neither fund is currently accepting applications.

The application and review process is the same for each:

  1. Submit a pre-proposal consistening of a letter of intent and an application form. (Note: the application form contains more details about the letter of intent)
  2. Pre-proposals will be evaluated based on the project’s ability to successfully prepare the technology for commercialization within the scope of the proposed studies and within the requested budget and time frame. Pre-proposals will also be reviewed to determine whether the project meets eligibility criteria (see the program guide).
  3. If invited to proceed, faculty will then submit a full proposal and may be invited to present to an external review committee. A full proposal consists of a pre-formatted 6-slide powerpoint template and a budget proposal.
  4. More information can be found in the program guide and the FAQs. For more information or questions please contact Nicole Nair at or 

Illinois Proof-of-Concept Fund (I-POC)

The I-POC fund is open to faculty from the participating units listed below. Funding is contributed by those college and units with matching funds from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. Note: Illinois Proof-of-Concept award funding is contingent on the availability of funds in the budget.

  • Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology
  • Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
  • College of Applied Health Sciences (new I-POC participant!)
  • School of Social Work 

Faculty Entrepreneurial Fellows (FEF)

FEF is open to faculty from the College of Engineering and is funded through alumni donations. The Office of Technology Management is managing the proof-of-concept component of the program.  Other aspects of the program are outlined here: or contact Jed Taylor at


$1,700,000 in campus proof-of-concept funding since 2009 (I-POC combined with prior programs) has leveraged:

  • 35 funded projects
  • the formation of 11 start-up companies
  • $50 million in venture and angel funding, including a $45 million investment from Third Rock Ventures in the launch of Revolution Medicines
  • $2.55 million in SBIR/STTR and other government funding

I-POC Recipients Discuss the Impact of the Program