New university partnership targets innovation, economic growth

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UIUC, Illinois State alliance seeks to build on research discovery

May 11, 2016

URBANA – The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and Illinois State University announced a partnership Wednesday to build on the research-based innovation that drives progress and economic growth for the state.


The two universities will work together under the intergovernmental agreement, with UIUC providing technology transfer services to support Illinois State’s efforts to expand development of new intellectual property.


“This unique new collaboration leverages the power of UIUC’s innovation infrastructure to serve not only Illinois State, but the people across Illinois who will benefit from breakthroughs that create new products and services, new companies and new jobs,” said U of I President Tim Killeen.


Under the partnership, the U of I’s Office of Technology Management will provide fee-based services to Illinois State’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs to help identify, patent and license new intellectual property developed by faculty on the Normal campus. Along with technology transfer services, UIUC also will provide workshops, seminars and educational materials to promote awareness of research opportunities and interest among Illinois State faculty.


Over time, Illinois State expects to develop an internal innovation ecosystem, based on the knowledge it gains through the partnership with UIUC.


“Illinois State faculty members have been creating innovative technologies for years and the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation continues to grow across all academic disciplines on campus,” said Illinois State University President Larry Dietz. “This partnership gives us access to a highly-developed technology management office that provides a full range of services at a very economical cost. The agreement puts Illinois State in an even stronger position to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the Bloomington-Normal community and throughout Illinois.”


Illinois State typically averages two to three disclosures of new technology a year and hopes that will grow to more than 10 through the new partnership with UIUC. The three-campus University of Illinois system had 373 disclosures in fiscal year 2015, the latest data available, along with 299 patent applications, 97 patents issued, 83 licenses and 15 new start-up companies.


The U of I system is a leader in research, with more than $900 million in funding that historically ranks among the top 10 universities in the nation. Illinois State has a more than $20 million research portfolio in a diverse range of fields, from biology and materials science to education.


The partnership grew from discussions between the universities that began in July, followed by a pilot program last fall where UIUC worked with Illinois State faculty to evaluate intellectual property possibilities and make recommendations on moving forward.


“This alliance creates a new model for collaboration that will positively impact economic development across the state,” said U of I Vice President for Research Lawrence Schook. “We are already in discussion about similar arrangements with other Illinois universities.”


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The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 80,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. The U of I awards more than 20,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees annually.