Northwestern University

Northwestern University

Innovation to Commercialization (I2C) Fellowship

Innovation to Commercialization - I2C


The Innovation to Commercialization (I2C) Fellowship is a student-centered and highly selective program being administered biennially by the Innovation and New Ventures Office (INVO) and sponsored by McCormick School of Engineering, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern Law and Feinberg School of Medicine. This opportunity offers graduate students (Master's, PhD, MBA, and JD candidates) first-hand experience in handling intellectual property as it pertains to academia. Whether a student is innovative and/or entrepreneurial, this fellowship is a practical way to be exposed to the entire commercialization process. Regardless of experience level, all students at the participating schools are encouraged to apply for one of the 6-8 paid fellow positions. The program runs for 8 weeks during the summer.  

I2C In the Press

New I2C Fellowship Gives Northwestern Students a Closer Look at Innovation - McCormick News

Fellows Present Findings in Inaugural Innovation to Commercialization Fellowship - McCormick News


What is INVO?

The Innovation and New Ventures Office moves Northwestern technologies to the marketplace in order to have real-world impact. This may be accomplished through partnerships with corporations or the creation of startups. INVO manages all aspects of Northwestern’s intellectual property, which includes technology assessment, marketing, license negotiations, and compliance management. INVO also advises Northwestern faculty on a commercialization path that is specific to their needs. In addition, when needed, INVO helps develop commercial plans for faculty research that ultimately might result in acquisition of early-stage capital or a successful license agreement. For more information, please visit our website at

What is unique about the new I2C Summer Fellowship?

INVO has hosted a number of student interns in the past in an ad hoc manner. This new fellowship provides a mechanism to formalize the involvement of students and financially supports the students who are interested in learning more about innovation and commercialization. McCormick, Kellogg, Law School and Feinberg are sponsoring their own summer fellows.

What kind of experience will each fellow receive? What are some potential projects?

It’s difficult to comment on the exact nature of each of the fellows’ experience. However, the following lists provide an idea of the possible experiences.


  • Identify and screen new inventions disclosed by Northwestern inventors
  • Perform preliminary market and valuation analysis
  • Perform prior art research and test patentability for new technologies
  • Provide recommendations for IP strategy
  • Create preliminary marketing material to distribute to potential technology licensees
  • POTENTIAL PROJECT: Assess a faculty-centered or area-specific portfolio of related inventions (e.g. medical devices, nanotechnology, electronics, materials, or therapeutics)


  • Market Northwestern innovations externally
  • Identify potential corporate partners for licensing
  • Canvass corporate interest in specific technology sectors
  • Provide marketing recommendations based upon technology sector
  • POTENTIAL PROJECT: Develop marketing strategies for individual or portfolio-based inventions


  • Develop business plans and identify managers and potential investors
  • Prepare elevator pitches for founders
  • Help expand investor and angel network for INVO
  • Provide recommendations based upon market, financial, commercialization and risk factors
  • POTENTIAL PROJECT: Assist existing Northwestern startup with some business aspect or help faculty think through the translation of their discoveries into the commercial space

What qualifications do I need to apply for the fellowship?

If you are a Northwestern graduate student from McCormick, Law,  Kellogg and Feinberg, you are eligible to apply. You do not require any specific scientific, business, or legal expertise to apply, but some knowledge and/or experience is preferred. All fellows will go through a training program to fill in some of the knowledge gaps.  If you are a PhD candidate, you MUST submit a letter of approval from your PI stating that he/she understands that you will not be in the lab for eight weeks over the summer.

How do I apply?

Submit your completed application form and CV to Sonia Kim (  A letter of recommendation is recommended but not necessary.  PhD candidates must submit a letter from their advisor stating that they understand the full-time commitment of the I2C program.

I2C Contacts by Schools


When will the I2C fellows be selected?

INVO will interview and select the final fellows within a month of the submission date. Fellows will be expected to accept or reject the fellowship within one week of their offer. Law, Kellogg and McCormick have agreed to support 1, 2 and 3 students, respectively. 

Can I work on more than one type of project?

Yes. You will have the opportunity to work on 2-3 projects.  In all likelihood, you will be exposed to multiple stages of innovation and commercialization.

Does the fellowship continue into the academic year?

At this point, I2C is a summer fellowship. However, if there is mutual interest from INVO and the fellow, the fellow may be allowed to continue working on projects during the school year. However, no stipend will be awarded. Instead, each school may offer the option of course credit for independent study.

What is the stipend?

Each fellow will be paid a stipend of $5-6k by their respective school.  Fellows will be expected to work at least 40 hrs/week  this summer, unless other arrangements have been agreed upon by the School and INVO.

What is the expected fellows’ schedule?

The fellows will be expected to work full-time (40 hours/week). They will have office space at INVO, which is located at 1800 Sherman Ave, Suite 504 in Evanston. Hours may vary around 9am – 5pm, so long as the full day is worked. The mentors of the fellows will vary according to the project and type of fellow. For most, they will be INVO staff. Some of the venture fellows will work with entrepreneurs-in residence who may be located elsewhere on campus. **Due to the nature of the PhD program at McCormick and Feinberg, PhD candidates must submit a letter from their advisor stating that he/she understands and approves of the full-time commitment of the fellowship. 

What are some important dates for the fellowship?

The only set dates as of now are the start and end date of the fellowship. However, we intend to meet as a group in mid-May to discuss projects in greater detail. We will have training sessions during the first week to familiarize the fellows with INVO and its staff, useful databases and resources, and a high level introduction to the commercialization process as it pertains to academia. Throughout the summer, there will be lunch seminars given by entrepreneurs, VCs, or other professionals who are knowledgeable of the commercialization process.