All systems ‘Go’ for Discovery Partners Institute

This week, key advancements in the plan to turn Illinois into the “next coast” for technology and enterprise creation were released. The progress report was occasioned by news earlier this month that the project was appropriated $500 million by the State of Illinois.

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.

During the 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.

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.

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