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Chicago State University Joins Illinois Innovation Network

Economy building initiative will bring a new center for urban solutions to the Southside 

Chicago State University Joins Illinois Innovation NetworkCHICAGO, IL.- Chicago State University joined the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN), a group of hubs across the state that aims to boost Illinois’ economy through entrepreneurship, research and workforce development today. The IIN now has 15 hubs, including all of Illinois’ public universities, and spans the entire state. 

"Chicago State University's participation in the Illinois Innovation Network is vital to increasing access to cutting-edge technology and research, and cultivating a diverse community of entrepreneurs and urban-led startups”, said Z Scott, Esq., President of Chicago State University.  “The IIN collaborative complements our strategic plan to leverage partnerships that will prepare scholars and fulfill the workforce demands of our regional community and corporate partners."  

The IIN launched last August with its first hubs at the three University of Illinois System institutions and a fourth at the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) in downtown Chicago.  Chicago State University officially joined today upon signing a memorandum of understanding along with other state universities including: 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.  Northern Illinois University joined IIN in September and Peoria, which is home to a regional academic medical center, joined in December. 

As an IIN hub, Chicago State University will create the Center for Solutions of Urban Populations, an incubator for pioneering ideas and transformative change. The center will include the physical renovation of 50,000 square feet of space and establishing programmatic, research, outreach and entrepreneurial activities to address some of the most challenging issues in the Chicago region. The center will address issues such as health and healthcare disparities, violence reduction and conflict resolution, pathways for success for challenged youth and ex-offenders, urban farming, entrepreneurship training in an urban setting, effective law enforcement practices in an urban setting, and food delivery and consumption in challenged neighborhoods. 

Chicago State University Joins Illinois Innovation NetworkAll 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, if the funding is re-appropriated in this year’s budget. Each hub has submitted a proposal detailing their plans to leverage and augment current programs and resources to fulfill the mission of IIN. 

“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.”