University of Illinois Research Park

About the University of Illinois Research Park

The Research Park at the University of Illinois was created by the University of Illinois to advance its economic development mission. The University allocated 200 acres adjacent to central campus for development of the technology park. A private developer was selected as a partner to help advance the development. Within 10 years the Research Park transformed agricultural green field land from fish ponds and swine facilities into a vibrant technology park with 12 buildings housing 90 companies and 1400 employees.  The Research Park at the University of Illinois provides an environment where technology-based businesses can work with faculty and students to take advantage of opportunities for collaborative research. Examples of large corporations in the Research Park include: ADM, Abbott Laboratories, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Littelfuse, Sony, State Farm, and Yahoo. Since opening in 2001, the Research Park has incubated 127 startup companies, helping to turn University of Illinois research into commercial businesses. At any given time over 400 UIUC student interns are working in these companies gaining valuable work experience while making real contributions to internal corporate R&D and product development programs. The Research Park offers weekly events to educate entrepreneurs, create a social environment among the technology companies, and build a community. EnterpriseWorks, the incubator managed by the University of Illinois, provides strong entrepreneurial support including an entrepreneur-in-residence program to help advance new companies. The corporations have research relationships with the University that have resulted in sponsored research, curriculum and teaching contributions, faculty consulting, and sub-contracting of federal grants.

The University of Illinois Research Park by the Numbers

Driving Growth through a Public-Private Partnership

  • 603,721: total square feet constructed in Research Park
  • First building opened in January 2001; there are now a total of 12 buildings and construction on the next building is starting fall 2011.
  • $101,785,249: Total construction cost over 10 years; Of that amount, $63,385,675 = Total funded by the private sector developer; $38,399,574 = total university/public sector funding for buildings and infrastructure.                  

Attracting Major Corporations and Growing Startup Companies over 10 years

  • A total of 202 companies/tenants have been in the Research Park
    • 75 companies have been tenants in the Research Park
    • 127 startups have been tenants in the EnterpriseWorks incubator
  • Current publically traded corporations in the Research Park: Abbott Laboratories, ADM, Caterpillar, Deere and Company, Littelfuse, Pearson, Raytheon, Riverbed, SAIC, Sony, State Farm, and Yahoo!


Jobs/Estimated Payroll in the Research Park from Operations (not including construction jobs impact)*

  • 1235 – direct jobs
  • 241 – indirect jobs
  • 508 – induced jobs
  • Current total annual payroll of $81,220,179.00 and an economic output of $169,549,000.00
  • More than 350 students work in the Research Park annually

Tax Revenue Generated by the Research Park through direct, indirect, and induced revenue sources *

  • Total construction over 10 years has contributed $7.2 million in tax revenues to the state of Illinois.
  • Total operations in the Research Park are annually contributing $4.1 million in tax revenues to the state of Illinois.


Tax Revenue Generated by the Research Park at the County level through direct, indirect, and induced revenue sources*

  • Total operations are annually contributing $1.3 million in tax revenues to Champaign County
  • Total construction over 10 years has contributed $2.1 million in tax revenues to Champaign County.


Accelerating University Technology Commercialization: Composition of EnterpriseWorks incubator clients:

  • 50% of companies have been started by University of Illinois faculty; 24% by UI students or recent alumni; 21% by others; 5% by UI staff. 59% of companies report their origin as coming out of a University department or lab (does not include student started firms).
  • 45% of firms have licensed technology from the University of Illinois; 18 percent have pending licensing.


Graduation Metrics/Location of Companies: Spurring Economic Development in the Region

  • Since the Research Park opened in 2001 through 2011, there have been 127 clients in the incubator. Nearly an equal number of firms enter and exit the incubator each year; only 28% are no longer in active operation.
  • Post-Graduate Location: Of the firms that successfully graduate, 30% remain in the Research Park, 65% remain in Champaign County, and a total of 78% remain in Illinois.


EnterpriseWorks Incubator Graduate Success Stories:

  • iCyt: Started by a University staff member and a graduate of the incubator, was acquired by Sony in February 2010; the flow cytometry business continues to operate in the Research Park and has grown to have 105 employees.
  • Solarbridge: Founded by University of Illinois faculty, a leading developer of module-integrated microinverters for the solar industry. Announced in June 2011 it has secured $19 million in series C funding. The company has raised more than $46 million to date.
  • ShareThis: Founded by a University of Illinois faculty member, ShareThis is the largest market for sharing and influence across the web. ShareThis is currently used by over 400 million users across 1 million websites across the web.
  •  Chromatin: Biotech company graduated from incubator into lab space in the Research Park. Chromatin has successfully licensed its technology through commercial agreements with leading agbiotech companies including Syngenta, Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and Bayer CropScience.
  •  Semprius: A leading innovator in high concentration photovoltaic (HCPV) solar modules, the company secured an additional $20 million in Series C funding in 2011. Now based in North Carolina.



  • Between the years of 2004-2010, 11% of all SBIR and STTR grants awarded in the State of Illinois went to companies in the Research Park, more than $28.1 million.


Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program:
The Research Park sponsors five Entrepreneurs in Residence, experienced tech entrepreneurs that have commercialized technology, to help startups access free consulting services. Between August 2010 – April 2011, the EIRS served 65 entrepreneurs (132 sessions) from the following sectors: Biotech, 26%; Engineering/Devices, 12%; IT/Software/Hardware, 42%; Materials, 6%; Service, 12%.


*Source:  This study was completed by the Champaign County Regional Planning Commission in August 2011. Economic impacts were modeled using the job sectors in the Research Park, Construction figures, and IMPLAN multipliers.