NIU Foundation’s Venture Grants restructured

Logo of the NIU FoundationThe NIU Foundation recently partnered with Lisa Freeman, vice president for Research and Graduate Studies, and the Office of the Provost to restructure the NIU Foundation Venture Grants program.

A team of NIU students from the College of Law helped to create a concept and plan for this unique program.

The move to update the program was inspired by Vision 2020 and the university’s commitment to support faculty research, scholarly and creative activities including technology commercialization efforts, as well as an interest in creating a more defined impact for the Venture Grants program.

Created in 1999 as the Strategic Initiative/Opportunity Grants, the program was later renamed the Venture Grants to emphasize the venturesome nature of projects chosen to receive funding. In awarding funds, the NIU Foundation Grants Committee sought to invest in the imagination, intellect and dedication of NIU’s faculty and students. In addition, the foundation sought to support projects that aligned with the strategic imperatives of the university.

In an effort to foster and strengthen relationships across the university, the NIU Foundation will partner with the NIU Technology Transfer Office (TTO) and the Northern Illinois Research Foundation to facilitate the application and project development processes of the program.

It is the intent of the Foundation Board of Directors that this will expand experiential learning opportunities for NIU students and accelerate commercialization of NIU research. Final grant approval will be determined by the NIU Foundation Grants Committee and awards will continue to be funded by the NIU Foundation.

Until the restructuring process is finalized, the foundation will temporarily suspend the Venture Grants application and awards process. Information regarding revised application and guideline procedures will be released to departments, faculty and staff in late fall of 2012 or early spring of 2013.

For more information, contact Diane Johnson at (815) 753-9469 or orChris Pilling at (815) 753-8598 or

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