The Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) is a purpose-driven, collaborative research institute located in Chicago that is focused on building prosperity and growing the state of Illinois’ workforce by creating solutions to grand challenges. It is led by the University of Illinois System, its three universities and partners.

DPI’s mission is to revitalize the Illinois economy by reinventing the role of the research university through interdisciplinary public-private partnerships that aggressively drive technology-based economic growth with global impact. It will do so through:

  • Guidance from and partnerships with industry, governmental, non-governmental, and community-based agencies, and cultural and philanthropic organizations
  • Purpose-driven research that creates actionable results
  • Accelerated transition of results to application through partnerships and entrepreneurship
  • Targeted thematic and cross-cutting education and workforce development

In doing its work, DPI is guided by principles of inclusivity (in all forms), transparency (in both process and governance), ethics and accountability, and engagement with the local community.

Building upon our many collective successes, we aim to improve the quality of life for all, drive the State of Illinois’s economic growth, and have global impact.

The Chicago-based institute will:

  • Bring hundreds of the best minds from academia and industry together with thousands of brilliant students in an interdisciplinary hub of unprecedented critical mass, to accelerate innovation and create life-changing products, taking them to market faster than ever before
  • Serve as a magnet for entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, for inventors and investors, from across the state and nation, while creating hundreds of new companies and educating thousands of new pioneering innovators that find their home right here in Illinois
  • Retain and grow local and diverse talent, while attracting companies and talent from around the world, to live, play, work, innovate and prosper in an iconic environment, embedded in the world city of Chicago. DPI will be a global destination for innovation that will be visible from all corners of the world
  • Serve as a resource for local community organizations and schools, celebrating the diversity of a great city and providing multiple pathways to career readiness with partner companies
  • Anchor an entire network of innovation hubs that connect great universities, national labs, companies and schools around the state and beyond, creating an unparalleled innovation ecosystem at a grand scale without peer anywhere in the world

DPI will be connected to hubs across the state as part of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN). Through the IIN, the institute’s world-class faculty and staff will work with universities and business partners across the state on research and education initiatives that help launch new companies and lift communities.

Hubs will be located at each of the U of I System’s universities (Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield), at or near the campuses of our founding partners – the University of Chicago and Northwestern University – and at other four-year public universities across the state. Northern Illinois University was announced as the first hub outside the U of I System in October 2018 and Peoria joined the IIN in December. All of the state's public universities are making progress toward becoming IIN hubs.

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