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Driving Innovation Through Collaboration

In the dynamic landscape of economic development, Research and Development (R&D) stands as a cornerstone by driving innovation, fostering competitiveness, and propelling economies forward. Recognizing the pivotal role of R&D in shaping the future, the Illinois General Assembly, in tandem with Governor Pritzker's visionary leadership, has enacted the Illinois Innovation Voucher Program. As a connector, convener and champion for research and technology based economic development, the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, in partnership with DCEO, has been chosen to administer this important initiative.

This initiative is more than just a grant program – it is a catalyst for knowledge creation, transforming groundbreaking ideas into tangible products and services that fuel economic expansion. The Illinois Innovation Voucher (IIV) program encourages and facilitates collaboration between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and qualifying Illinois institutions of higher education. By providing vouchers to SMEs, particularly those in the early stages of development, the program is intended to drive Illinois-based innovation. From cutting-edge labs, equipment, access to expert industry research, higher education institutions across the state are primed to help companies create new products and services to boost competitiveness. 

At its core, the Illinois Innovation Voucher Program serves as a conduit for the exchange of knowledge, resources, and ideas, fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge exchange that reverberates throughout the state, fueling a virtuous cycle of innovation and growth.


Rolling Applications Are Now Open!

Illinois-based SME's can unlock new growth opportunities by utilizing innovation vouchers to support their research and development needs, fostering the creation of innovative products and services. SMEs can utilize innovation vouchers to cover up to 75% of research engagement costs (up to $75,000), including, but not limited to  the sharing of technologies, knowledge, facilities, and equipment necessary for your project needs.

Do you qualify for the program?

Innovation Vouchers will be available to small and mid-sized businesses across diverse geographic and economic areas.

  • The business must be a for-profit Illinois-based business, meaning a business that has its principal place of business in Illinois OR if not located in Illinois, employs at least 100 full-time employees located in Illinois, as defined under Section 5-5 of the Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit Act.
  • The business must remain in Illinois for the duration of research engagement
  • The partnering institution of higher education must be a qualified Illinois-based non-profit institution of higher education

What do IIV funds cover?

Innovation vouchers cover up to 75% of the cost of the research engagement (not to exceed $75,000). The following list is not exhaustive and includes:

  • Sharing of technologies, knowledge, facilities, equipment;
  • Salaries for research and scientific expertise;
  • New product/process development;
  • Commercialization of new or enhanced products
  • Prototyping, piloting, testing, and product validation
  • New business model development;
  • New service development
  • Innovation/technology audit
  • Implementation of new technology 
  • Acquire metrology and standardization

What is not covered by IIV funds?

This list is not exhaustive but includes:

  • travel, rent, entertainment or hospitality costs
  • internal salary costs
  • standard training courses
  • software purchases
  • website or mobile application development
  • internships
  • design and production of advertising material
  • branding and sales activities
  • costs associated with applying for grants or programs
  • general business plans or business strategies
  • advice or assistance with general legal, commercial law, patents, taxation, business consulting, and marketing activities

Program Overview

Details include eligibility, funding allowances, and program benefits.


Submit an application.


Access answers to frequently asked questions, IIV team members and more.