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Illinois IGB

Applications open for Kleinmuntz Center Young Innovator Program

April 1, 2021
By: Ananya Sen

Kleinmuntz Center Young Innovator Program

A new collaboration between the Catherine and Don Kleinmuntz Center for Genomics in Business and Society and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology has enabled the launch of the Young Innovator Program.  It is a ten-week summer course designed to teach trainees the skills necessary to become innovative leaders and bring science to society. The trainees will learn about the process of innovation, protecting intellectual property, and how to develop their discoveries beyond the laboratory. Upon completion of the program, all participants will earn a certificate. Additionally, winners of the idea competition, held at the end of the program, will be awarded between $5,000 to $20,000 to develop their projects over one year.

The program aims to empower underrepresented populations to become inventors by exposing the trainees to innovation-related concepts early in their careers. Although these skills are essential for many Ph.D. careers, most STEM Ph.D. programs do not teach them. For this reason, applicants are trained to develop a successful proposal, instead of being asked to submit one without guidance. Regardless of whether participants are awarded funds, they will gain valuable career-focused skills. For each session, they will be introduced to a guest lecturer who is an expert in a field at the intersection of science, business, or law. Participants will have the chance to ask these experts questions, strengthen their networks, and gain new mentors.  

All graduate students and postdoctoral trainees who have a current, full-time faculty member or an emeritus faculty member at IGB are eligible for this program, regardless of their citizenship or visa. The total time commitment will be between 5-10 hours a week. The proposed projects can be based on their current research, but it is not a requirement. Additionally, they do not need to have a tangible invention; ideas are welcome.

Are you unsure about whether you are an inventor? Read the stories of three IGB inventors: Dipti Nayak, Diana Ranoa, and Yongbeom Seo.   

To learn more about how to apply, please visit:

Important dates:
1.    Application submissions open on April 2nd, 2021, and close on April 30th, 2021.  
2.    A board will review all applications and announce the program's cohort by May 14th, 2021.
3.    The program will run for 10 weeks, from June 11th to August 13th,2021.
4.    Class will meet virtually for an hour each week. The final idea competition will take place during the last class on August 13th, 2021.

For additional inquiries, please contact Kleinmuntz Center Manager Erin Louer at

April 1, 2021
By: Ananya Sen
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