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UChicago Innovation Fest

UChicago Innovation Fest, a three-week celebration of the University of Chicago’s entrepreneurial and innovative advances and solutions, kicks off May 12 and runs through June 2, with more than 35 sessions scheduled across the city and UChicago’s downtown and Hyde Park campuses. Join us to share big solutions to problems in Chicago and across the globe, find new collaborators, and rub shoulders with leaders in business, health care, tech, and social and environmental policy. Highlights of this year’s celebration include the 20th anniversary of the Polsky Center’s Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge, a behind-the-scenes look at life as an entrepreneur at the university’s Chicago Innovation Exchange, and events featuring faculty who are bringing groundbreaking advances out of the lab and classroom.

This annual festival is led by UChicago’s innovation leaders, including Arete, the Chicago Innovation Exchange, the Institute for Translational Medicine, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Social Enterprise Initiative, and UChicago Tech. Additional sponsors include UChicago Urban, UChicago Urban Labs, and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Learn more at


Featured Events:

From Lab to Market: New Approaches for Quick Adoption of Energy Game-Changers

When: Wednesday, May 18, 2016  |  3:30 - 5:00 p.m.

Where: Saieh Hall for Economics, Room 21 (5757 S. University Ave, Chicago)

Who Should Attend: All members of the UChicago community and open to the public

Hosted by: Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC)

About: Energy storage is the single most critical challenge to widespread implementation of renewable energy. In recent years, Harvard’s Dan Nocera has made two major energy storage breakthroughs: the discovery of large scale flow batteries for grid storage in the developed world, and the discovery of the artificial leaf for distributed energy production in the emerging world. Typically, technologies like these would take 20-30 years to make it to the marketplace because they are so capital intensive. But Nocera is changing that. Come hear about these energy game-changers and the innovative approaches Nocera is using to bring them to market.

How to Register:   


Argonne Out Loud featuring Seth Darling

When: Wednesday, May 18, 2016  |  6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

Where: International House at the University of Chicago Assembly Hall (1414 E.59th Street, Chicago)

Who Should Attend: The entire UChicago community and open to the public

Hosted By: The Office of the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories

About: We are witnessing the end of the golden age of water. Freshwater was once abundant, cheap and safe for humans, but that is changing rapidly.Seth Darling, Argonne National Laboratory scientist and Fellow at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME), will provide a public lecture on how we can reshape a better future for water. In his talk, Dr. Darling will discuss how we got to this point, what lies ahead, and what can be done now to respond and adapt. He will also give an overview of the research Argonne and IME are doing in this space, including innovative approaches to water treatment.

How to Register:

The Push for Precision: Cutting-Edge Tech Transforming our Health Care

When: Thursday, May 19, 2016  |  6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Where: MATTER Chicago in the Merchandise Mart, 12th Floor (222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago)

Who Should Attend: All members of the UChicago community and open to the public

Sponsored By: The University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine (ITM) and UChicagoTech, Center for Technology Development & Ventures

About: With big data booming and the technology to explore your genome more accessible than ever, precision medicine is changing health care and saving lives. Join us for an evening of TED-style talks from UChicago faculty who are using their research to change the health care system and build dynamic companies that tailor the world of medicine to YOU.

How to Register:

Energy Breakthroughs: A Glimpse into the Future

When: Tuesday, May 24, 2016  |  5:15 - 9:30 p.m.

Where: Chicago Innovation Exchange Skydeck  (5235 S. Harper Court, Chicago)

Who Should Attend: All members of the UChicago community and open to the public

Hosted by: Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), Chicago Innovation Exchange, and Argonne National Laboratory.

About: The global energy landscape is in the midst of rapid change. Threats such as climate change and energy access present challenges—but also create opportunities for new innovative approaches. As the world works to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels, what advancements need to happen for technologies like solar and wind to take their place cost-effectively and reliably? How will the electric grid of the future support these fuels and what will our energy storage options look like? How will the cars we drive and the homes we build adapt to this changing landscape to be cleaner and more energy efficient? Hear from the innovators who are helping to bring emerging technologies from the lab to the marketplace through a series of TED-style talks that will present a glimpse into our energy future.


Host - Steve LeVine, Washington Correspondent, Quartz

The Future of Solar - Seth Darling, Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory; Fellow, Institute for Molecular Engineering, University of Chicago

The Future of Storage - Kevin Gallagher, Chemical Engineer, Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), Argonne National Laboratory

The Future of the Grid - Leah Guzowski, Director, Strategy & Research Programs, and Energy Policy Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory; Fellow, Computation Institute, University of Chicago

This event is co-sponsored by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC), Chicago Innovation Exchange, Argonne National Laboratory, Institute for Molecular Engineering and Clean Energy Trust.

How to Register:  


Understanding Innovation: New Insights from the Next Generation of Behavioral Science

When: Wednesday, May 25, 2016  |  3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Where: Charles M. Harper Center, Room C-06, Concourse Level (5807 S. Woodlawn Avenue, Chicago)

Who Should Attend: All members of the UChicago community and open to the public

Hosted by: Center for Decision Research         

Event description: Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from the Center for Decision Research will explore critical questions including, what are the short- and long-term consequences of withdrawing incentives for solving novel and interesting problems, what kinds of approaches to decision-making do people bring to new problems, and how does this affect their outcomes, and why do people undervalue the importance of persistence in generating creative new ideas? To close, we will present the new approaches to behavioral science being pioneered at the CDR, and provide information about how students, researchers, and the general public can involve themselves in “making science happen” here at the University of Chicago.  Refreshments will be served.   

How to Register:  







~ Past Events ~

Enhancing Life Capstone Conference

04 / 08   3:00 PM The Gleacher Center, The University of Chicago, 450 North Cityfront Plaza Drive

Join The Enchancing Life Project at their Capstone Conference for 50+ presentations on how life can be enhanced. 

UChicago Faculty Funding Opportunity for School-related Interventions

08 / 05   12:00 AM University of Chicago

The Hymen Milgrom Supporting Organization (HMSO) is pleased to announce the 2017 Request for Proposals for Research on Successful Pathways from School to Work

IARPA Director Lecture

04 / 06   5:00 PM Eckhardt Research Center, Room 301B

Curious about the intelligence R&D funded by the government? Looking for research funding from one of the agencies involved in the Intelligence Community (IC)?