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September 08, 2019 | Tom Ballard

University of Illinois secures state approval for one billion dollar Discovery Partners Institute

Talk about a big, big idea as in a billion dollars!

The University of Illinois (U of I) has secured state permission for a new initiative named the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) that is designed to bring together students and researchers to tackle big societal challenges and promote innovation and entrepreneurship, in partnership with industry, government and other sectors. The state has committed $500 million toward the construction of the institute and other university facilities, contingent on matching private sector funds. The university said it has secured about $400 million in “non-state dollars” toward that goal.

Argonne National Laboratory announced in late August that it will join DPI as its 11th academic partner. Other  inaugural partners include Northwestern University and the University of Chicago; the three U of I System universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield;  Illinois Institute of Technology; and international partners Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, MS Ramaiah Medical College in India, and Cardiff University in Wales.

DPI is the flagship of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), another initiative led by the U of I System. The network of 15 hubs, which includes every public university, will connect with DPI and each other to spread economic growth across the state through research and innovation.