Planned Illinois Innovation Network Facilities

The Illinois General Assembly appropriated $500 million to the University of Illinois System – first in June 2018 and again in May 2019 – for development of the Illinois Innovation Network and its central hub, the Discovery Partners Institute. In addition to designing and building the DPI facility in Chicago, the state appropriation will go toward capital projects at all of the IIN hubs across the state. 

IIN hubs will be located throughout the state and will be designed to spur economic development and support talent attraction and retention through research, public-private partnerships, entrepreneurship and workforce training programs. Through physical and virtual interactions with DPI, hubs will be able to leverage entrepreneurial resources that they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to access, connect students and faculty with companies, commercialize university research and elevate discoveries, and utilize resources and solutions developed at DPI to solve local challenges.

The first IIN hubs were announced in August 2018 at the three University of Illinois System campuses – Urbana, Chicago and Springfield – featuring a number of innovative facility projects. In October, Northern Illinois University joined the IIN with the announcement of the Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability. Peoria, home to a U of I regional medical campus, announced its plans for an innovation hub in December, and nine additional hubs – including all of the other public universities in the state – joined the IIN in May 2019.

Announced IIN Facility Projects

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


The data science will replace the existing Illini Hall near the Main Quad with a state-of-the-art classroom and research facility focused on creating knowledge through statistics, data analysis and machine learning. The approximately 65,000-square-foot building will add up to 60 percent more space than the existing Illini Hall and will serve as an incubator of data science education programs and research collaboration among academic units that are at the center of the growing “big data” movement. The facility will provide every student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a meaningful exposure to data science while expanded capacity to support DPI in a number of thematic and cross-cutting areas, including the computing and data theme. The facility also will enable data scientists on the Urbana-Champaign campus to connect with businesses, industry, and surrounding communities.


This facility, to be constructed on the southeast corner of University and Goodwin Avenues in Urbana, will better coordinate the health and medical initiatives at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while also connecting the university to DPI's health and wellness theme. The approximately 125,000-square-foot building will support translational research and development, working with the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine to rapidly bring research discoveries into clinical practice. The facility will provide a cohesive entry point for industry collaborators, clinical partners, venture capital investors and citizen scientists while offering unique core facilities and resources that will enable the transformation of biomedical technologies with transformational capacity.


This project will add approximately 70,000 square feet of space to the east side of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) that will support the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's efforts in high-performance computing, autonomy and artificial intelligence, and their application to the digital transformation of all industry sectors. This expansion will directly increase teaching capacity and DPI collaboration opportunities in computing and digital transformation on the Urbana-Champaign campus, and also will enable expansion of NCSA's industry program that will include potential collaborations with DPI.


The U of I Research Park, which has grown to 17 buildings and more than 120 companies since it opened in 2001, will expand to accommodate the demand for its support for research and corporate development programs. The park also is a business incubator that turns faculty research discovery into high-tech, start-up businesses – a model that will support economy-building programs at DPI and IIN’s hubs across the state. This project will include new facilities for growth-stage startup companies and commercialization of technologies spawned from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It also will enable employees of Research Park and EnterpriseWorks companies to better interact with DPI, while growing and diversifying resources to support technology commercialization and startup company formation.

University of Illinois at Chicago


The Computing, Design, Research and Learning Center will create an approximately 130,000-square-foot facility to expand research and education programs for UIC's rapidly growing computer science department that currently has about $45 million in active research grants and has seen undergraduate enrollment grow by 380 percent over the last decade. The five-story building will provide state-of-the-art research labs and classrooms, which will provide space for experiential learning and interdisciplinary collaboration while facilitating DPI's work in a number of thematic and cross-cutting areas, especially the computing and data theme.


The project will create a new, 110,000-square-foot classroom and research facility to build on UIC’s leadership in the discovery, development, and commercialization of drugs and pharmaceutical technologies. The five-story facility will fill a void to expand the college’s success, providing the university’s first building to bring together researchers, students and industry to pursue new, innovative therapeutics. With team-based teaching classrooms, office and conference space, research labs, instrumentation and clinical research labs, and clinical patient rooms, the DDIP will primarily support DPI's work in the health and wellness thematic area.


The project will expand by half UIC’s Innovation Center, a collaborative education, development and design center that is the model for DPI and IIN. The additional 5,000 square feet will add classroom and lab space, including flexible collaborative spaces and a maker space, to accommodate more collaboration with industry and fully support DPI's entrepreneurship and technology transfer cross-cutting area.

University of Illinois at Springfield


Innovate Springfield became part of the University of Illinois at Springfield in August 2018 as a way to expand economic growth, entrepreneurship opportunities and social progress in Illinois' capital. The first announced hub of the IIN, Innovate Springfield will expand to become the Capital Innovation Center, an approximately 25,000-square-foot facility that will catalyze innovation, entrepreneurship, economic and workforce development, and public policy for greater Springfield and the state of Illinois. The CIC will support entrepreneurs through the different stages of business development and enhance student engagement by creating opportunities for high school and college students to develop their own business ideas alongside business and government professionals.

Northern Illinois University


The project will construct a $22.9 million facility on Northern Illinois University's far west campus that will be focused on advances in food food systems, water resources stewardship and development, and climate change adaptation. With an approximately 30,000-square-foot facility, NICCS will be a key partner of DPI's Food Innovation Center for the Metropolitan Food and Environmental Systems (MetroFESt) program led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences.


The ENGAGE Distance Interaction Network will enable deeper collaboration among partners separated by physical distances, through its distributed telepresence environment. Smart and attentive meeting rooms will provide a visualization, display and analysis environment utilizing walls of pixels that will include 3D immersive visualization and other advanced technologies to help foster scientific discovery and creative arts alike. Deeply linked classrooms will allow for an immersive student experience throughout DPI partners and the Illinois Innovation Network.