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Pritzker kicks off statewide research network funding

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020

* This is big

Construction on the first major piece of The 78 megadevelopment in the South Loop should begin later this year, after Gov. JB Pritzker announced the release of $500 million in capital funding for the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), a research hub led by the University of Illinois.

DPI will be the anchor of the first phase of the $7 billion 62-acre project, which will be built along a vacant stretch of land on the east bank of the Chicago River between the South Loop and Chinatown.

The University of Illinois plans to build a 500,000-square foot headquarters for DPI as the centerpiece for the first phase of The 78. Construction of the center is expected to be completed in 2024.

The center would focus on specialized research in computing, big data, food and agriculture, and health and wellness. Project leaders envision DPI as the hub of a statewide research network known as the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN).

* But it’s not all going to Chicago. For instance

State government has set aside $15 million for a new university building in downtown Springfield.

University of Illinois Springfield officials are in the planning stages for the proposed building. It would be known as the “Innovation Center,” and would be part of a larger “Innovation District,” according to documents distributed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office. […]

UIS is just one of several schools that’s getting a chunk of some $500 million in state capital funding overall. That money is aimed at building a network of public university-based “innovation” hubs: places designed to grow Illinois’ tech industry workforce and help companies get off the ground.

* And

Southern Illinois University Carbondale will receive $2.5 million as part of an effort to boost research and innovation in Illinois. […]

SIU’s “iFERM” hub is part of the statewide group. One of its goals is to find new ways to utilize and market Illinois agricultural products.

The “iFERM” hub will use the $2.5 million in initial funding for food and beverage research, as well as specialty crop agricultural programs and a centralized analytics facility.

* And

Governor J.B. Pritzker announces hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for different institutions across the state, including the UIC health sciences campus in Rockford.

* And

The Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability (NICCS) took a major step forward Wednesday when Gov. J.B. Pritzker released $500 million in capital funding appropriated for the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) and the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), including $15 million for the NICCS at Northern Illinois University. […]

The 30,000-square-foot NICCS facility will be constructed on the university’s west campus, in an area north of the NIU Convocation Center. It will include classrooms, laboratories, exhibits and collaboration space for work with IIN and private sector partners.

* And

Gov. JB Pritzker on Wednesday touted statewide benefits he said will result from a $500 million state investment in 15 hubs of a University of Illinois-led public-private research institute network.

Eastern Illinois University in Charleston is one of the hubs.

* And

A new on-campus makerspace and startup incubator in Uptown Normal will be Illinois State University’s contributions to a newly funded Illinois Innovation Network, officials said Wednesday. […]

The technology- and education-based startup incubator will be called the ISU/Bloomington-Normal Community Startup Incubator (CSI). It will be located at the new Trail East project in Uptown, where financing issues have delayed construction. The incubator was previously announced.

* Background

A $10 million gift from the chairman of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and his wife is among $454 million raised by universities involved with the Illinois Innovation Network that will help move it forward. […]

“My wife, Anne, and I are thrilled to make this $10 million gift to the university that transformed our lives,” Don Edwards said Wednesday. “We want to pay forward the opportunities we have enjoyed, supporting the students and innovation that are key to progress and economic growth for our state and our nation.” […]

Former Gov. Bruce Rauner originally pledged the $500 million in state funds. But Pritzker said he needed to see proof of the network’s vitality and made the state money contingent on the members matching it.

* Last word

Pritzker also thanked former Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his work on DPI, which was first announced two years ago. The governor said Emanuel started calling him about the plans for the research hub even before Pritzker was elected governor in 2018, “and he hasn’t stopped calling.”

“Rahm can be relentless when he wants something done,” Pritzker said. “He said that DPI would anchor an ecosystem of tech growth, and would become an unparalleled engine of opportunity for our state. In addition to my gratitude for his support for this project, I’m grateful that the many phone calls from him might now subside.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments »
  1. - All This - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:09 pm:

    Research is the potting soil for growing new businesses. Good for Rahm, Pritzker and Rauner.


  2. - Pick a Name - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:11 pm:

    Tell me again why Springfield needs a downtown campus?


  3. - Feeder Pig - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:24 pm:

    ==Tell me again why Springfield needs a downtown campus?==
    they had one. Sangamon State closed it under Naomi Lynn’s regime. the building they rented space in isn’t even there anymore.


  4. - Enemy of the State - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:31 pm:

    All of these projects are about ten years late.


  5. - leonard - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    industrial hemp would be a good place to start over 50000 different products grown here manufactured here instead of selling soybeans sell plastic cloth auto body parts agriculture wins Illinois wins


  6. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:47 pm:

    Very nice. Tech/research investment is right up Pritzker’s ally as a leading and globally-recognized venture capitalist in that field. That’s a great way to help add jobs, not the red state models pushed by certain people.


  7. - ItsMillerTime - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    @Pick a name

    Are the benefits of having a building dedicated to developing a growing industry such as tech and assisting businesses in general in the downtown of the state Capital not obvious or are you just messing with us?


  8. - Annonin - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:15 pm:

    Tony Rezko will be proud. Wonder why he never thought of telling Blagoof to ante up $500 million so the chunk of land along the river would blossom into the Garden of Eden. Once folks must be doing back flips too.
    BTW is appears the dough for the rest of the state universities does not equal tip money on what will be U of I’s 2nd downtown campus. Same goes for the 2nd campus in SPI.


  9. - Pick a Name - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:22 pm:

    ItsMillerTime—Not messing with you. Springfield is a small city, if you want tech and have the desire to help businesses in the downtown area, UIS is a 15 minute drive.


  10. - K - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:22 pm:

    “All of these projects are about ten years late.”

    The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.

    The second best time is now.


  11. - Precinct Captain - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    =- Pick a Name - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:11 pm:=

    Makes the school more attractive.


  12. - Pick a Name - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:24 pm:

    And Grandson, unemployment is at a 50 year low and there is record employment for Women, Hispanics and Blacks.

    Due to Red policies.


  13. - Annonin - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:35 pm:

    Mr/Ms Pick
    Red policies with unlimited deficit spendin’


  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:45 pm:

    === Red policies===

    Including overt racism, but already know that.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:49 pm:

    To the post,

    This is “swell”, but the continuing laissez-faire attitude by this administration towards public higher education, band-aids and nice talk, still makes me concerned for not only the universities… but the regions, the towns of central and southern Illinois. It’s nice, but the Pritzker Administration has made me see that higher education in this state isn’t a focus on an overall scale and tacking the true issues with the 12 universities is still on a “we’ll take a look” kinda holding pattern.


  16. - Hal - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    “Overt Racism”

    Did I miss another Bloomberg video surfacing?


  17. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:56 pm:

    - Hal -

    === Did I miss another…===

    So you accept that Trump has overt racist policies.

    Got it.

    Whataboutism doesn’t negate what’s happening.


  18. - All This - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 4:42 pm:

    “Due to Red policies.”
    That’s doubtful. “Red policies” aren’t the only policies people are living by. For example birth control made American workers more prosperous because they could control how many children they have. Compulsory school and anti child labor laws took children out of the workforce and increased wages for adult. The end of slavery, the eight hour day, I could go on and on.


  19. - filmmaker prof - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 5:41 pm:

    One hundred bucks to anyone who can explain how this is different than our other research universities? And necessary.


  20. - All This - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 6:27 am:

    “One hundred bucks to anyone who can explain how this is different than our other research universities? And necessary.”
    1. It’s not different. All these are part of universities.
    2. Necessary? Like when Gutenberg invented the printing press? Before people copied books by hand. Books were expensive and hard to get. Was it necessary to have this new technology? Probably not. Did it improve people’s lives to have mass produced books? Yes.
    3. Or do you mean necessary for Illinois? Well, research scientists make good incomes and they spend it in their communities. And they train others. And companies want to be near areas that have research because they might be able to better take advantage of the new technologies and it’s much cheaper to be nearby than fly someone in to see what’s going on. And businesses like to poach talented employees. It easier to poach an employee when she only has to walk across the street, it’s harder when the business has to move her and her family across the country.
    You can send the $100 to Wordslinger’s daughter.


  21. - Skeptical - Wednesday, Feb 19, 20 @ 8:50 pm:

    I think it’s a journey that has to be monitored now that it’s been funded. I understand that a really difficult thing for big business in downstate is a critical mass of all the skills needed. I would give this a fair chance but verify not trust.


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