The Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC) and the College of Engineering is proud to announce Siddharth Krishnan, PhD Candidate in Materials Science and Engineering, College of Engineering has been named as the Illinois Innovation Prize (IIP) winner for 2019. Siddharth was awarded $20,000 at a ceremony which took place in conjunction with the Cozad New Venture Challenge Finals event at the I-Hotel and Conference Center on April 10, 2019.
Each year, the Illinois Innovation Prize honors an innovative student working towards solving global and societal challenges with the potential for a significant positive impact on the world. Since 2007, $300,000 has been awarded to student innovators.
“Winning the Illinois Innovation Prize is an amazing honor. It's a wonderful validation of the work we have been doing over the past few years, and will allow us to continue our research efforts moving forward. I'm so grateful to the TEC for this prize,” says Siddharth Krishnan.
Siddharth has developed a noninvasive, wearable shunt failure monitor for patients with hydrocephalus. The condition affects approximately one million Americans in every stage of life and is the most common reason for brain surgeries in children. The estimated medical costs for hydrocephalus are over $2 billion per year. The shunt failure monitor has the potential to bring down the costs associated with expensive, inaccurate, and painful diagnostic testing. In 2018, Siddharth co-founded Rhaeos Inc. to commercialize the shunt failure monitors.
“The Illinois Innovation Prize recognizes and hopefully helps to empower passionate, innovative students who are working towards making a significant and visible societal impact through their innovative efforts. Siddharth Krishnan exemplifies the spirit of the Illinois Innovation Prize,” says Andrew Singer, Associate Dean for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, College of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “Siddharth is committed to improving the lives of patients suffering from hydrocephalus, and meeting some of the critical, unmet needs in the healthcare industry. We are excited to see him receive this award, and are fortunate to count him among our incredibly innovative and passionate students.”
In addition to the Illinois Innovation Prize, Jewel Ifeguni, an IIP finalist, Senior in Communication, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, was awarded the $10,000 Fiddler Innovation Fellowship.
Jewel founded YouMatter Studios, a virtual reality (VR) media startup focused on diversity and inclusion in media. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) collaborated with TEC to award the Fiddler Innovation Fellowship as part of the IIP award ceremony, and the Fellowship recipient was chosen from the group of IIP finalists.
The Fiddler Fellowship is part of a $2 million endowment from Jerry Fiddler and Melissa Alden to the University of Illinois in support of the Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media (eDream) Institute at NCSA.
“We are excited to collaborate with NCSA this year to present the Fiddler Innovation Fellowship as part of the IIP award ceremony. We are happy to see an IIP finalist receive the Fiddler Innovation Fellowship. Both awards support innovation that could improve the world,” says Jed Taylor, Executive Director of the Technology Entrepreneur Center.
The University of Illinois is a world leader in research, innovation, and leadership, and distinguishes itself by creating knowledge and preparing students for lives of impact while addressing critical societal needs through invention and entrepreneurship.
Finalists for the 2019 Illinois Innovation Prize
Shayne founded Chicago-based print publication, Dill, catering to a niche community of readers of Asian food literature. Misrepresentation or underrepresentation of Asian cuisines in the mainstream food publishing industry motivated her to start her own food magazine when she was 18 years old. She feels Dill is different because it showcases Asian cuisines as they are, and not something “overly exotic, alien, or foreign.”
Jewel founded YouMatter Studios, a virtual reality (VR) media startup focused on diversity and inclusion in media. YouMatter Studios is innovating the “way we understand representation.” The media startup is spearheading and empowering marginalized voices through digital storytelling and immersive workshops.
Benjamin is a serial entrepreneur and innovator. Seeking new ways to have a positive impact, Benjamin is always exploring new ideas. He is the founder of three startups: RingWing, LLC, Mane Events and K-Air. RingWing is a patented indoor catchable toy glider for all ages and is available in 23 stores nationwide. K-Air is an aerial imaging contractor in Central Illinois, and Mane Events is an event services company.
Amaury has designed a smart pacifier that monitors acidity and temperature levels in a child’s saliva as a biomarker for acid reflux (GERD) and airway complications. The data can help parents understand the symptoms, and also help streamline the physicians’ decision-making process. Over 20% of babies in the United States of America suffer from some form of GERD complications. Amaury has founded, Nouvo, a health technology startup that is working on designing and building smart products to improve patient outcomes.