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Announcing the Nayar Prize at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Dennis Roberson, vice provost of research, today announced an exciting opportunity being offered to Illinois Institute of Technology faculty, staff, and students by trustee Madhavan Nayar (M.S. IE ’68) and his wife, Teresa, on behalf of the Nayar Family Foundation. A $1 million prize package has been established to encourage and challenge members of the Illinois Institute of Technology community to develop breakthrough, innovative projects that will, within three years, produce meaningful results with a societal impact.

The Nayar Prize at Illinois Institute of Technology is significant on many levels. Illinois Institute of Technology has long been associated with breakthroughs, including the development of the cell phone, research connecting the Antarctic ozone hole to man-made chlorofluorocarbons, and the invention of magnetic tape recording. And recent graduates have been awarded significant patents in emerging areas such as data storage. The Illinois Tech Nayar Prize will help us continue to “move the needle” in the direction of meaningful innovation that impacts our communities, our economy, and our environment.

The Nayar Prize at Illinois Institute of Technology will be awarded to a cross-functional, multidisciplinary team composed of Illinois Institute of Technology faculty, staff, and/or students that develops a solution to a complex problem—a solution that produces meaningful results and has significant societal impact. Each team will be led by at least one Illinois Tech faculty or staff member, or graduate student (usually a Ph.D. student given the three-year time horizon for the prize), and be supported by other Illinois Institute of Technology faculty and staff members and/or graduate and/or undergraduate students. Alumni and other subject matter experts can be added to the teams as appropriate and necessary. A steering committee will select the proposals that will be considered for the prize.

The Nayar Family Foundation is providing an unparalleled chance for members of the Illinois Tech community to be recognized for their extraordinary problem-solving abilities—and their passion to make a real difference in our world. Roberson looks forward to seeing the proposals that are submitted and the bold ideas that emerge from this process.

Phase 1: A maximum of three teams will receive up to $100,000 each to be spent within the first year to enable significant progress to be made toward a potential solution for their identified and approved problem.

Phase 2: The team selected, the one that has shown the most progress toward its solution, will receive an additional $200,000 to continue its work. Upon the successful achievement of benchmarks/performance metrics, established by the steering committee, the team will receive $500,000.

Proposals for consideration for Phase 1 funding are due September 18, 2015. Selection of the recipients of Phase 1 funding is October 1, 2015.

For more information about the Nayar Prize at Illinois Institute of Technology , please go to the website here or contact Dennis Roberson, vice provost of research, at robersond@iit.edu.

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