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Illinois IGB

Applications open for Kleinmuntz Center Young Innovator Program

March 25, 2022
By: Ananya Sen

Kleinmuntz Center Young Innovator Program

The Catherine and Don Kleinmuntz Center for Genomics in Business and Society and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology are excited to offer the Young Innovator Program (YIP) for the third year.

The ten-week summer course is designed for trainees to practice using 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 YIP program aims to empower underrepresented populations to become inventors by exposing trainees to innovation-related concepts early in their careers. Although these skills are essential for many PhD careers, most STEM PhD 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. Each session, participants will work with a guest lecturer who is an expert in a field at the intersection of science, business, or the 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 4-6 hours a week. The proposed projects can be based on their current research, but this is not required. Additionally, applicants do not need to have a tangible invention; ideas are welcome.

Are you unsure about whether you are an innovator? Read the stories of last year's YIP finalists Skye Shepard, Jason Wang, and Alejandra Zeballos to find inspiration.

To learn more about how to apply, please visit:

Important dates:
1.    Application submissions open on April 3rd, 2023, and close on April 24th, 2023.  
2.    A committee will review all applications and announce the program's cohort by May 5th, 2023.
3.    The program will run for 10 weeks, from May 30th to August 8th, 2023.
4.    The class will meet primarily in person for 1-2 hours each week. The final idea competition will occur during the last class on August 8th, 2023.

For additional inquiries, don't hesitate to get in touch with Kleinmuntz Center Manager Erin Louer at

March 25, 2022
By: Ananya Sen
Photos By: Eleanor Grosch

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