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Edward Seidel, University of Illinois System Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, will receive the 2018 Business Leadership Award from the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce Chicago at an event on Wednesday, Nov. 28, at Marshall’s Landing in the Merchandise Mart.

AICC is honoring Seidel for his work in strengthening the links between higher education, research and business to drive innovation and stimulate economic development across Illinois. A key part of that has been Seidel’s role as inaugural interim director of the Discovery Partners Institute, a new interdisciplinary research institute designed to create societally beneficial solutions to 21st century grand challenges in areas including food and agriculture, computing and data, health and wellness, and environment and water.

“Israel is the first country asked to participate in DPI’s initiative to build an innovation ecosystem and catalyze economic growth in Chicago, Illinois, and the wider Midwest, and Israel’s Tel Aviv University is the first international institution to commit to participate in DPI,” AICC President Susan Rosenstein said. “With the world’s largest number of start-ups per capita, the world’s third-highest rate of women entrepreneurs, and more registered patents than Russia, India, and China combined, Israel is a natural choice for accelerating innovation. AICC is proud to honor Ed Seidel and DPI for this initiative.”

Seidel worked with his team for more than two years to conceive of and initiate the development of DPI and the Illinois Innovation Network – a statewide group of connected hubs that will leverage local strengths to catalyze economic development – culminating in a $500 million state appropriation in May to help launch the project. His team also built partnerships with a number of international universities, including Tel Aviv University, DPI’s first international partner. A number of other Israeli partners also are anticipated. He continues to oversee the growth of DPI and IIN, forging partnerships across the state, nation and world.

“DPI and IIN are the most exciting projects of my career,” Seidel said. “We’ve been amazed with the strength of Israel’s world-class education and innovation communities, and we’re thrilled that they will help power collaborative R&D and economic development at DPI and across Illinois. On behalf of my team, I am honored to be acknowledged for our joint work to build links with Israel and to get this impactful project off the ground.”

Seidel has a wealth of experience with interdisciplinary research, as he served as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana-Champaign; was senior vice president for research and innovation for the MIT Skoltech Initiative at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, Russia; directed the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and served as assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation; and directed the numerical relativity group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Germany.

About the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce
The AICC’s mission is to cultivate business connections, collaboration, and community between Illinois, Chicago, the broader Midwest, and Israel by building a community of businesses and individuals interested in networking, cross-border business collaboration between the U.S. and Israel, and potential investment opportunities. Additionally the AICC promotes Israeli goods and services; present business networking and educational programs; leads business match-making events; and works closely with the Government of Israel to advance bilateral trade.