CARBONDALE – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday the release of $37.3 million to launch facilities for five hubs of the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), created to accelerate job creation and economic growth through groundbreaking education, research, and discovery.
The funding is made possible by the bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital program, with state investments matched dollar for dollar through university, private, and philanthropic funding sources.
“Rebuild Illinois isn’t just about modernizing our roads and bridges—it’s about building a future
for generations to come that is economically prosperous with the promise of opportunity at every
turn,” Pritzker said in a press release. “That’s why we are distributing more than $37 million to
first-rate educational institutions throughout our state to create facilities that will prepare our
students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Funding will support the construction and renovation of facilities at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU), Northern Illinois University (NIU), Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) and the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS). The Illinois Capital Development Board (CDB) will oversee the projects’ design and construction in accordance with the protocol for state-appropriated projects.
At SIU Carbondale, the university will use $2.5 million in state funds to renovate the McLafferty Annex and launch the Illinois Food, Entrepreneurship, Research, and Manufacturing (iFERM) hub. The renovations will include a teaching kitchen and sensory lab, fermented dairy facility and fermented beverage facility for the hub that will solve food/nutrition, agriculture, and health challenges through transdisciplinary research, innovation, and education while providing the infrastructure for development of Illinois agriculture value-added products.
The IIN operates as a network of networks, connecting entities across Illinois to drive inclusive and integrated research, innovation, and economic development. Hubs utilize a combination of research, public-private partnerships, entrepreneurship, and workforce training programs to spur inclusive economic development in their region and across the state.
IIN will create or fill 48,000 new-economy jobs over the decade following completion of construction, according to an economic impact study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group. In all, the initiatives are expected to have an economic impact of $19 billion over the 10 years following construction, a return of nearly 40 times the original state investment.