U-I Relationship Models: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

In a town of around 80,000, roughly two hours South of Chicago, sits the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and one of the best examples of an integrated approach to commercialization and industrial relations. This sort of impact doesn’t just happen, and is the result of many programs, initiatives and campus coordination that aims to position the university as a place to do and to grow business.

As Lesley Millar-Nicholson, Director, Office of Technology Management, puts it, “With academic institutions facing growing funding challenges, an innovative approach to industry engagement is more important than ever. At the University of Illinois our corporate relations, development, research park and technology transfer officers work together to amplify each other’s efforts and provide corporate partners with a variety of options for engaging with the University.  We’ve seen great success with these initiatives, which have resulted in student internships, sponsored research  and licensing of University technology.”

Three of the initiatives that support this vision will be covered in detail in an upcoming innovosource web-workshop ,including:

  • The University of Illinois Research Park/EnterpriseWorks Incubator:   Positioned on 200 acres of land, these dedicated facilities are satellite homes to larger companies like Yahoo, State Farm, and Caterpillar, and launching grounds for nearly 70 start-up companies since opening its doors.
  • The Illinois Proof of Concept Fund (I-POC):  Grants to help move discoveries to the marketplace by demonstrating potential to companies and investors. The I-POC puts up $50K into each promising project
  • Digital Lab for Manufacturing: The campus was selected as a founding site the Obama administration’s push to drive manufacturing capability in the US. The initiative will be backed by more than $300M in public and private support


Join us on April 2nd: If you want to learn specifics about the University of Minnesota programs, please join us for the discussion via the University-Industry Model Review II web-workshop: please learn more here and join us for the event.

Showcase your U-I program: If you program would like to be added to these spotlights and showcased in future articles or if you are a institution or stakeholder interested in these approaches, please make yourself known here

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