Northwestern partners with University of Illinois on research institute


Source: University of Illinois System

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Discovery Partners Institute in downtown Chicago. Northwestern is partnering with the University of Illinois System on the $1.2 billion research institute.

Ally Mauch, Assistant Campus Editor

Northwestern will partner with the University of Illinois System to create a $1.2 billion research institute in downtown Chicago, a news release announced Thursday.

The Discovery Partners Institute will be a research facility for faculty and students in various fields — including agriculture, healthcare and computing — according to the release from the University of Illinois System. The institute will connect researchers with businesses to promote innovation and economic growth.

NU and the University of Chicago have joined the Illinois system as “inaugural” partners in the project, the release said.

“(Faculty and students’) research and educational collaborations will address real-world challenges, promoting the kind of breakthrough discoveries that create new products and companies, while also providing hands-on experiences for students and nurturing a skilled workforce for the city and state,” the release said.

NU and UChicago will also have “nodes,” or innovation centers, around their campuses, according to the institute’s website. There will be additional nodes in all cities that contain University of Illinois campuses.

NU President Morton Schapiro told The Daily in an email statement that he looks forward to collaborating with other universities on the project.

“Northwestern University and Chicago already are hubs for path-breaking research and innovative technology, and the Discovery Partners Institute will accelerate those activities,” Schapiro said.

The System is expecting to add more partners to the institute, University of Illinois President Tim Killeen said in the release.

The institute will be part of “The 78,” a 62-acre tract of land in Chicago donated by development company Related Midwest, according to the release.

“DPI is a way for our state to harness its considerable research, computing and
commercial resources to create economic opportunity all across Illinois,” Gov. Bruce Rauner said in the release. “Combining research and development resources … and linking them with sources of capital will produce unparalleled growth for Illinois.”

The project is part of the Illinois Innovation Network, an initiative that connects entrepreneurs and startups with academic and research institutions, according to the release.

Killeen said Chicago was chosen to be the home of the institute and “catalyst” of the statewide network due to its status as a economic and global center, attracting talent from across the world.

“This unique new institute will add to the momentum that has been developing in Chicago to create an innovation infrastructure at the kind of scale that can massively accelerate progress and economic development in our state,” Killeen said in the release.

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