IIN initiatives aimed at enhancing economic opportunity across east central Illinois
(Charleston, IL) –Eastern Illinois University and Lake Land College have joined together in the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), a group of hubs across the state that aims to boost Illinois’ economy through entrepreneurship, research and workforce development. As IIN members, EIU and Lake Land College will continue to play a prominent role in advancing opportunities for economic development across east central Illinois. More than a dozen IIN hubs are in place across the state, including all of Illinois’ public universities.
“It is very exciting to see how our state’s public universities are working together through the Illinois Innovation Network, and how they are putting innovation at the forefront of their agenda,” Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said. “We have so much potential if we just work together, and today’s announcement shows me that our universities are committed to that. They are our state’s key pillars of innovation and talent production, and I look forward to seeing the even greater impact they can have on Illinois’ economy through the IIN.”
Dr. David Glassman, EIU president, mirrored the Governor’s remarks.
“Eastern Illinois University’s involvement in the Illinois Innovation Network creates additional opportunities for EIU to positively impact our region and our state. We look forward to proactively collaborating with our network partners – including Lake Land College – which will allow us to more efficiently meet the unique demands of our regional workforce, as well as the more comprehensive needs of our broader Illinois economy,” Glassman said.
The network of hubs now includes every city in Illinois with a public university presence, and each hub has recruited multiple public and private partners from its region to develop programming with both local and statewide impact. Recent additions to the IIN include Chicago State University, Eastern Illinois University, Governors State University, Illinois State University, Northeastern Illinois University, Rockford (on the U of I regional medical campus), Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Western Illinois University. The initiative was coordinated by the University of Illinois System institutions and initially launched in August with hubs at University of Illinois system institutions, and a fourth at the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in downtown Chicago. Northern Illinois University joined IIN in September and Peoria, which is home to a regional academic medical center, joined in December.
Work at each hub will seek to grow its local and regional economy through education and innovation pinned to the academic strengths of their host university, such as clean energy, healthcare, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and food supplies.
Eastern Illinois University, in partnership with Lake Land College and their network of community partners, will create the East-Central Illinois Hub to provide new economic opportunities through university-community relationships. The hub will include an expansion of the existing Center for Clean Energy and Research Education on the EIU campus and will promote the overall sustainability of critical social and natural systems. The hub will address issues of environment, economic development, entrepreneurship, visualization of community-based assets and infrastructure assessments, rural social systems and community sustainability.
All of the hubs are in line for startup funding from the $500 million in capital funds that were approved for DPI and IIN last year by the Illinois legislature, pending reappropriation in this year’s state budget. Each hub has submitted a proposal detailing their plans to leverage and augment current programs and resources to fulfill the mission of IIN, which includes developing activities in research, education, workforce development and innovation that enhance their regions’ economy and workforce.
For more information about EIU, or to learn more about its various programs and services, visit the EIU website at www.eiu.edu, or call EIU’s public information office at (217) 581-7400.