Planned Illinois Innovation Network Facilities

In June 2018, the Illinois General Assembly appropriated $500 million to the University of Illinois System 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 formation of the IIN with 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. IIN leadership is working with officials from higher education institutions across the state to develop additional hubs and announcements will be made on an ongoing basis.

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 60,000- to 80,000-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 expanded capacity to support DPI in a number of thematic and cross-cutting areas, including the computing and data theme.


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. The park is home to more than 70 start-up companies and has launched more than 250 new businesses since opening. This project will allow Research Park to more fully support DPI's entrepreneurship and technology transfer cross-cutting area.

University of Illinois at Chicago


The Computing, Design, Research and Learning Center will create a 145,000-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 help facilitate 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 proposed 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. It will primarily support DPI's work in the health and wellness thematic area.


The project will expand by half UIC’s Innovation Center, an incubator that mirrors the confluence of education, research and industry that is the model for DPI and IIN. The additional 5,000 square feet will add classroom and lab 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 increase its programs to support business startups, entrepreneurs and innovation that promote the public good. 

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 and agriculture to help feed a growing world; environmental and water innovations that protect natural resources and provide for a growing population; improvements in the use of “big data” and computing technology, including cybersecurity and the “internet of things;” and healthcare breakthroughs including new drugs and treatment methods. The hub will focus primarily on the DPI themes of food and agriculture and environment and water.