September 1, 2017

Jim Audia’s visit to UChicago inaugurates a series of “Lunch & Learn” events

Jim’s first month as CBC Executive Director has been extraordinarily busy getting to know the broad and complex CBC scene, the CBC leadership and staff, as well as forging ahead hammering out the details of the CBC Phase 2 initiatives. To speed his assimilation process and being a strong believer in face-to-face interactions, Jim has devised a series of meetings with a variety of members of the three CBC universities. The idea has been not only to get to know the “CBC players” but also to establish and cultivate an ongoing conversation between the CBC organization and the CBC community. The promise of such meeting is to enable the CBC community to voice their needs “on the go”, to offer new ideas and to provide feedback about the Phase 2 programs.

The first of the meetings took place at the University of Chicago on September 1, 2017. Organized by Lucy Godley, CBC Scientific Director for UChicago, it was a “Lunch & Learn” type of event. Close to 20 faculty members attended the meeting. During the luncheon Jim introduced himself, spoke of his vision for the Chicago region, and gave a presentation on how the CBC could help realize it. The presentation, nicknamed “Looking back, moving forward,” highlighted the CBC accomplishments to date, and then swiftly moved on to the description of the three new initiatives proposed for the Phase 2.

Jim discussed the purpose of the CBC Accelerator Network (CBCAN) and its planned close integration with the other two new funding programs: Accelerator Award and Entrepreneurial Fellows. The Accelerator Award program is designed to support translational research with strong commercialization potential. The program is in its final stage of planning and the first call for proposals will be publically announced at the beginning of November. Worth noting is that the upcoming CBC Symposium, scheduled for November 17, 2017 at the UIC Forum and entitled “Small Molecule Discovery,” will provide an opportunity to learn the details of the application process during another “Lunch & Learn” event built into the symposium program. Finally, as the last of the planned Phase 2 programs, Jim briefly reviewed the Entrepreneurial Fellows program.

Both of the proposed new award programs elicited a lively discussion, which demonstrated not only significant enthusiasm of the faculty for the ambitious ideas but also provided many valuable insights into potential challenges that the implementation and running of the two programs could pose.

The CBC has been strongly encouraged by the active luncheon participation and is looking forward to continuing the conversation. By request of the event participants, Jim’s presentation slide deck is provided below to download.

▸ Jim’s presentation (PDF)