The Office of Technology Management (OTM) is proud to announce the 2014 awardees of the Illinois Proof-of-Funding Concept (I-POC). I-POC is an innovative program designed to fund development that will demonstrate and improve an innovation’s market viability to potential investors and partners.

2014 I-POC Award Recipients

This year’s I-POC awardees were selected from a stellar pool of 31 applications from colleges and units across the University of Illinois campus. The five selected recipients focus their research in varied areas of academia, with departments ranging from Electrical and Computer Engineering to Chemistry to Music to Agricultural Engineering.

  • Stephen Boppart, from the Beckman Institute of Advanced Science and Technologyand theCollege of Engineering,for his Quantitative Pneumatic Otoscope project that not only provides a standard surface view of the eardrum, but can also see through the ear drum to visualize middle ear contents using optical coherence tomography (OCT).
  • Andrew Singer, College of Engineering Professor and Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center, for his development of high-speed underwater wireless communications projectSinger’s project has been referred to as “game-changing technology” by some of the biggest players in the oil and gas industry.
  • Martin D. Burke, from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, for his advancement of non-toxic amphotericin towards clinical candidacy projectTo accomplish this, Burke’s research lab discovered a compound with the potential to become frontline therapy in the multibillion-dollar worldwide antifungal market.
  • Heinrich Taube, from the College of Fine and Applied Arts, for his project, “Harmonia.” Harmonia is an application capable of automating advanced music theory instruction to a great degree. This innovative application aims to replace paper-based music theory instruction with digital documents that allow musical content to be created, edited, searched, annotated, and automatically graded.
  • Kaustubh Bhalerao from the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences for his project, a Soybean Cyst Nematode (SCN) testing service that is twenty times faster and provides more precise data than existing solutions.

The Selection Process

This year’s recipients were selected based on their project’s potential to make an impact on innovation, both commercially and technologically. The highly competitive selection process required candidates to present a pre-proposal, stating the problem their innovation would resolve, and a full proposal, which was then evaluated by a multidisciplinary group of scientists, industry professionals, and investors.

Fund Participants

The I-POC Fund is currently made possible by contributions from the following colleges & units and matching funds from the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research. The Office of Technology Management is managing the I-POC Fund and is also working with campus advancement officers to create an ongoing and sustainable source of funding via donations from alumni.

2014 Fund Participants:

  • College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
  • The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Fine & Applied Arts
  • The Institute for Genomic Biology
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences