The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition – NIU President Doug Baker serves as chair of the board – realized unprecedented growth and impact in 2014 that strengthened Illinois’ position as a hub for innovation.
Created by the State of Illinois 25 years ago as a public-private partnership, ISTC now harnesses a network of more than 40 academic, industry and civic/nonprofit members across sectors and regions to foster research and innovation.
As a convener, catalyst and champion for the innovation community, ISTC’s many 2014 successes drove new capital opportunities, impact partnerships, enhanced awareness, sound policies and deeper STEM talent development (through the work of the Illinois Science & Technology Institute).
- Capital and Advocacy: ISTC was part of the core teams that launched the Illinois Regional Proof of Concept program with $500,000 in initial seed funding and delivered the $320 Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII) to the state, including $70 million in federal funding.
- Impact Partnerships: The Corporate-Startup Challenge introduced new partnership opportunities between global corporations and the entrepreneurial community. Now in its second year, the model is being proven out by results: 40 startups have forged connections with one or more corporate partners.
- Awareness: ISTC created the first-of-its-kind Illinois Science and Technology Roadmap to uncover insights into the state’s research and innovation activities to help drive new economic development strategies. The roadmap provides an unprecedented understanding of where Illinois’ collective research strengths lie, where there is untapped commercial potential, and what technology clusters are primed for expansion.
- Talent: In the 2013–2014 R&D STEM Learning Exchange pilot year, more than 400 students and 20 teachers in 12 Illinois high schools partnered with experts at Baxter International, the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Institute for Food Safety and Health, Motorola Solutions, Northrop Grumman and TGG Group to address authentic innovation challenges identified by these organizations.