State Moves Forward With $500 Million Capital Funding For Innovation Hub Sites

State Moves Forward With $500 Million Capital Funding For Innovation Hub Sites

An artist’s rendering of what the Discover Partners Institute might look like.

The state of Illinois is moving forward with $500 million in capital funding for the University of Illinois System’s Illinois Innovation Network and Discovery Partners Institute — a network of research and innovation hubs that state officials say will serve as a magnet for technology and talent.

Kane County officials are hoping the proposed innovation hub sites in Chicago will create new jobs and economic opportunities here.

IIN and DPI are expected to create or fill 48,000 new-economy jobs over the next decade, according to the latest economic impact study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group.

In all, IIN and DPI are expected to have an economic impact of $19 billion over the next 10 years, a return of nearly 40 times the original state investment.

IIN and DPI are focused on preparing students and workers to step into lucrative, high-tech jobs, and increasing funding for the applied research and development that will create more of those life-changing careers.

At the same time, IIN and DPI will emphasize inclusivity to increase the diversity of the state’s new economy workforce. Together, IIN and DPI are designed to develop, attract and retain talent, providing a hive of technological research and innovation that combines the power of students, faculty and companies to propel Illinois toward a future as a leading tech destination.

The funding will allow DPI and other hubs of the IIN across the state to begin architectural design work while attracting more private funding from both corporate partnerships and philanthropy.

The university dramatically accelerated its private fundraising, and has raised roughly $230 million to date from private donors.

A new gift from University of Illinois Board of Trustees Chairman Don Edwards and his wife, Anne, is adding $10 million to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, $5 million of which will be dedicated to IIN and DPI. Board of Trustees Chairman Edwards’ $10 million gift is the largest ever by a University of Illinois trustee.

Edwards, who is a graduate of the university, said dedicating half of that gift to IIN and DPI is a demonstration of his belief in their academic impact and economic potential.

In addition to the $500 million in state funding, the University System has pledged to secure $500 million in corporate and philanthropic funding. So far, $230 million has been raised, state officials said.

Another $224 million in non-state funding has been secured by the U of I System and its universities in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago, as well as Northern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, the University of Illinois at Chicago Health Sciences campus in Rockford and Eastern Illinois University.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release