This week, Leader Bill Brady (Bloomington) joined Governor Bruce Rauner, fellow legislators and representatives from the University of Illinois system, who highlighted significant advances in an ongoing effort to make Illinois the “next coast” for technology and enterprise creation.
The progress report was bolstered by news that the project received $500 million in appropriations from the state of Illinois. The Governor said that as a result, “all systems are ‘go’ for DPI.”
“I was proud to be in Chicago with Gov. Rauner and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin for the Discovery Partners Institute/Illinois Innovative Network project update. This exciting initiative will benefit every corner of our great state.” – Leader Brady
The anchor project in the plan is the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), an innovation center led by the U of I System intended to be located within The 78, Related Midwest’s 62-acre planned development in downtown Chicago. Bordered by the South Loop, Chinatown, Bronzeville and Pilsen, DPI will be the centerpiece of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), a system of research centers across the state tailored to meet the needs of individual regions and lift their economies.
Since the initiatives were announced last fall, the U of I System has been working on implementation plans that will be ready later this year, including a construction timetable and other details. The U of I System has also continued to build its network of collaborative partnerships, adding its first corporate partner and the first academic partner from overseas.
The cutting edge innovative research and development anticipated to be spurred by the DPI/INN project, will become an economic engine for not only Illinois but the Midwest. The project is expected to attract researchers, students and businesses seeking to be on the cutting edge of discovery and innovation.
During a recent news conference, U of I System President Tim Killeen announced that the system has opened an office on Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago and plans to expand current DPI operating space to more than 20,000 square feet. The system is providing $6 million over the next four years to support start-up efforts.
Killeen also said the system has agreements with the first corporate partner for DPI and its first international academic partner. The corporate agreement with Peoria-based OSF HealthCare will build on its existing relationship with the Innovation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. OSF is sponsoring an interdisciplinary course for DPI that will work toward creating connected, precision-guided healthcare delivery for the State of Illinois.
The partnership with Tel Aviv University is set to begin next month with a series of workshops in Chicago intended to connect Israeli and American entrepreneurs to accelerate research and, ultimately, enterprise creation. The academic agreement is DPI’s third, adding to inaugural partnerships with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University that were announced last fall.
“Israel is a global leader in innovation, technology, research and education as Gov. Rauner and President Killeen saw on their professional visit to our country last year,” said Aviv Ezra, Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest. “Israel, thus, is a natural partner for the DPI. We are proud that Tel Aviv University is collaborating, and we are honored to be a part of such a groundbreaking project.”
The U of I System is currently developing similar academic partnerships with the largest university in Latin America, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and Mexico's leading private university, Tech de Monterrey.
“This is just the start,” Killeen said. “In the years ahead, we will connect academic research centers at other universities and share intellectual power with business partners who can turn ideas into job-creating enterprises that will lift communities across the state.”
According to Killeen, DPI will be home to hundreds of world-class researchers and top faculty from across the U of I System. They will work with thousands of students every year, with countless businesses large and small, and with entrepreneurs and investors to spur enterprise creation in Illinois.
Video of the event will be posted here.