In October, the U of I System partnered with several other higher education institutions to host recruiting events for high-achieving high school and community college students. These events were held in the southern and northern regions of the state, encouraging Illinois students to stay in Illinois when pursuing higher education. At a September recruiting event, the U of I System honored hundreds of high-achieving high school seniors during an annual event that promotes opportunities for Illinois students from traditionally underrepresented minority groups and geographic regions across the state. The events are part of the system’s ongoing efforts to halt an outmigration of students to universities in other states.
Read the news release about the northern Illinois event
Read the news release about the southern Illinois event
Read the news release about the high achieving student event
The U of I System is adopting the fundraising focus and strategies that private schools have employed for decades to create a long-term culture of giving that will help offset declines in public funding, writes Illinois Alumni Association Chairman Pat Basu.
Read the letter to the editor
Discovery Partners Institute and Illinois Innovation Network Update
On Oct. 9, officials announced that a world-class research center targeting food systems, water resources and environmental change is planned at Northern Illinois University as part of a new statewide innovation network led by the U of I System.
The Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability (NICCS) will be housed in a $22.9 million facility to be built on NIU’s far west campus. As the fourth hub of the Illinois Innovation Network – and the first outside of the U of I System’s three universities – NICCS will be part of a statewide network aimed at driving economic growth in Illinois and addressing critical global issues.
Read the news release
Tel Aviv University has been chosen to become one of four founding partners of the Discovery Partners Institute, a new innovation and entrepreneurship hub that the U of I System is developing in Chicago.
The Israeli university joins three other institutions – the U of I System, University of Chicago and Northwestern University — in the venture, which will be backed by $500 million in capital funding from the state of Illinois.
Read The Times of Israel article
U of I System research highlights
UIC researchers Brian Murphy, Laura Sanchez, and Isabel Cruz were awarded $1.7 million in August by the National Institutes of Health to build a reference library that will help scientists identify bacterial strains and analyze their disease-fighting capabilities.
The researchers hope the library will not only provide information to help classify bacteria but also will aid in identifying potential antibiotics that each species of bacteria might produce. The reference library has the potential to cut years from the drug discovery process, which would enable a "more targeted, cost-efficient and accessible approach to microbial drug discovery", Murphy said.
On October 10, the U of I System was joined by the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri System, and Northwestern University to host the Infrastructure Technologies Resources Center (ITRC) workshop. IRTC represents a coordinated partnership between government agencies, universities, and industry in the Midwest. This engagement will help to accelerate the transfer of technology to industry for use in infrastructure such as roads and bridges that is crucial to foster economic growth. The workshop will be one of the first of many future events and seminars. U of I System President Tim Killeen participated in the event, which also attracted staff from industry and from the offices of Sen. Dick Durbin, Representatives Bill Foster, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Mike Quigley, and Brad Schneider and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
On October 1, Sen. Dick Durbin announced Chicago Hospital Engagement, Action, and Leadership (HEAL) — a new initiative he’s leading in conjunction with the largest hospitals serving Chicago, including the University of Illinois Hospital. The initiative is aimed at reducing violence and improving health in Chicago’s most underserved neighborhoods. The action plan highlights UI Health's Better Health Through Housing program, which was created to reduce costs and provide stability to the chronically homeless.
Tim Yardley, senior associate director of technology and workforce development at Urbana's Information Trust Institute, testified on October 10 at a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on blackstart, the process for returning energy to the power grid after a system-wide blackout. Yardley, whose research primarily focuses on cyber resiliency in critical infrastructure, stressed the importance of funding forthe Department of Energy and other government agencies to advance research and collaboration between academia and industry.
Members of the Student Advocacy Coalition, a student group run by Illinois Connection to advocate on behalf of the U of I System, held letter-writing campaigns during the week of October 22 at Urbana and Springfield. Students from both universities were encouraged to write their state representatives and senators asking for support for higher education during the legislature’s veto session, which begins in November.