Illinois Innovation Award & Fiddler Innovation Fellowship

CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

We invite you to nominate students for the
$20,000 Illinois Innovation Award
and the $10,000 Fiddler Innovation Fellowship
by February 1, 2022

University of Illinois Award for Excellence in Innovation or Translational Research

The Illinois Innovation Award honors University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign students for excellence in cutting-edge innovation or translational research that addresses real-world problems and has the potential to make a significant impact. The winner will receive a monetary award of $20,000 in the form of direct deposit to the student’s University account, and a trophy. The Illinois Innovation Award is awarded by The Grainger College of Engineering through the Technology Entrepreneur Center.

Eligibility
Graduate or undergraduate students who are registered as full-time, on-campus students during the 2021-2022 academic year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are eligible.

Evaluation Criteria
Special achievement in innovation or translational research.

Nomination Requirements
Complete the nomination form and upload the following documents: 1) Nomination letter, 2) Letter from the nominee describing their role in innovative achievements and/or translational research, and 3) CV of the nominee. Note: University units, faculty members, mentors, and advisors may nominate. Mentors do not have to be employed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Students may not nominate.

Submission
Each unit is limited to two nominations. Nominations should be submitted by the February 1, 2022 deadline via the nomination form.

Selection
A limited number of finalists will be chosen by the Illinois Innovation Award Committee, and will invited to be interviewed. The finalists will be notified by email and will be announced prior to the Awards Ceremony. One recipient will be chosen from among the finalists, and will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in April 2022.

Nominate - Illinois Innovation Award

For more information, see the Illinois Innovation Award Rules & Guidelines.

Past Illinois Innovation Award Recipients

Aadeel Akhtar (2016 Recipient) Aadeel, who has a PhD in Neuroscience from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, is the co-founder and CEO of PSYONIC. PSYONIC is the maker of the Ability Hand, an advanced bionic hand with sensory feedback that is accessible for people with upper limb amputations. Aadeel was also named as an MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 for 2021.

Photo of Maha AlafeefMaha Alafeef (2021 Recipient) Maha, a PhD candidate in Bioengineering, developed an inexpensive, yet highly accurate nucleic acid-based test for COVID-19 diagnosis with sample to assay time of less than 5 minutes requiring no RNA isolation or nucleic acid amplification. The technology was licensed to RNA Disease Diagnostics, Inc., an early-stage biotech company.

Lucas Frye (2017 Recipient) Lucas, a Gies Business MBA graduate, is the founder of Amber Agriculture the maker of a grain bin monitoring system. The system can detect moisture and temperature to help prevent grain from spoiling. Amber Agriculture has raised $2 million in funding. Lucas was recently named to the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Industry and Manufacturing list.

Ananya Tiwari (2020 Recipient) Ananya is a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology in the College of Education and the founder of SwaTaleem. SwaTaleem works towards increasing foundational skills in adolescent girls by implementing a transformative design process where teachers, learners, and community leaders address educational challenges in India’s residential secondary schools for girls.

Undergraduate Award for Excellence in Interdisciplinary Innovation



The Fiddler Innovation Fellowship honors University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign undergraduate students for excellence in addressing cultural, societal, or global challenges with innovative solutions that incorporate the interdisciplinary areas of creativity, art or design, and technology. The innovative solution must have the potential for making a significant impact. The winner will receive an award of $10,000 in the form of direct deposit to the student's University account, and a trophy. The Fiddler Innovation Fellowship is awarded by the Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media (eDream) Institute, which is endowed by Jerry Fiddler and Melissa Alden. eDream is based at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).

Eligibility
Undergraduate students who are registered as full-time, on-campus students during the 2021-2022 academic year at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are eligible.

Evaluation Criteria
Special achievement in interdisciplinary innovation (which incorporates creativity, art or design, and technology) that addresses cultural, societal, or global challenges in the past two years.

Nomination Requirements
Complete the nomination form (coming soon) and upload the following documents: 1) Nomination letter, 2) Letter from the nominee describing their role in innovative achievements, and 3) CV of the nominee. Note: University units, faculty members, mentors, and advisors may nominate. Mentors do not have to be employed by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Students may not nominate.

Submission
Each unit is limited to two nominations. Nominations should be submitted by the February 1, 2022 deadline via the nomination form.

Selection
A limited number of finalists will be chosen by the Fiddler Innovation Fellowship Committee, and will be invited to be interviewed. The finalists will be notified by email and will be announced prior to the Awards Ceremony. One recipient will be chosen from among the finalists, and will be announced at the Awards Ceremony in April 2022.

Nominate - Fiddler Innovation Fellowship

Past Fiddler Innovation Fellowship Award Recipients

Photo of Ariana BarreauAriana Barreau (2021 recipient) Ariana is an MD candidate in the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and co-founder of ProteCKD, a chronic kidney disease (CKD) pre-screening program that aims to reduce racial disparities in renal care and health expenditures in CKD care. Ariana is also co-founder of AxisMed, a healthcare innovation pre-incubator.

Ananya Cleetus (2020 recipient) Ananya has a bachelors degree in Computer Science and is the founder of Anemone, a mental health crisis app. The app allows users to create a safe space on their phone with built-in crisis plan tools, emergency resources, coping skills, and a virtual grounding box.

Jewel IfeguniJewel Ifeguni (2019 recipient) Jewel has a bachelors degree in Computer Science and is founder and CEO of YouMatter Studios, a virtual reality media startup focused on diversity and inclusion in media. YouMatter Studios has created How We Got Here, a docuseries that is forefronting Black Voices and shifting the nation’s conversation around allyship.