As our Strategic Framework makes clear, the University of Illinois System is a powerhouse of discovery, problem solving and innovation that influences lives across the globe.
Just think about the impact of the first graphical web browser and the work of many dozens of Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners. We must maintain that standing and expand it to ensure that our system-wide culture of innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurship and thoughtful risk-taking serves not just Illinois, but the region, the country and the world. We remain committed to extending our reach, as well, through new research and development partnerships around the world.
COLLEGE OF MEDIA ANNOUNCES ROGER EBERT CENTER FOR FILM STUDIES
The College of Media at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign announced that the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies will launch with programming to begin in Fall 2022.
Thanks to gifts totaling more than $5 million from a collection of donors – inspired by a lead gift from Roger and Chaz Ebert – funding will support programming including the Ebert Symposium, Ebert Lecture and a screening series.
“Unlike many centers on film studies, which focus primarily on the skills of making a film, Roger’s Center will also focus on analysis and study of films, the state of the industry, and the impact of film on individuals and society for personal and social change,” Chaz Ebert said.
Roger Ebert was a UIUC alumnus (BS ’64) was the first film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize.
COVID RESEARCH TRANSLATES TO ACTION
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted myriad examples of translational research, quickly delivering solutions to help people. The University of Illinois Chicago and UI Health continue to reside firmly at the forefront.
Phyllis Curry, 60, gets her first shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Mile Square Health Center in Englewood.
“As a research institution, and one with an exceptionally strong health research infrastructure, we felt a sense of purpose and responsibility to empower our scientists and clinician-researchers to maintain or accelerate operations while many other industries were slowing down,” said Joanna Groden, UIC vice chancellor for research.
Here are just a few examples:
- Work by Dr. Richard Novak, UIC professor and head of infectious diseases, provided the foundation for UIC to test a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. UIC and UI Health then shifted to providing access to approved vaccines.
- A $6 million technology and therapeutic development award from the U.S. Department of Defense boosted researchers’ work on a potential COVID treatment that could help restore lung function.
- The National Institutes of Health (NIH) selected UIC as the principal site of a multi-center collaborative in the Chicago area to bolster research and outreach to help communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
- UIC experts will contribute to NIH’s Researching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative over the next four years. The approximately $22 million award focuses on research around the effects of long COVID.
GRANTS FUEL HEBREW UNIVERSITY INNOVATION PARTNERSHIP
Success has prompted another round of grants for a University of Illinois System and Hebrew University partnership.
“We fully expect, given the strength of these funded proposals, that we will see similar impact from these four new projects,” said Jay Walsh, U of I System vice president for economic development and innovation.
Round-two projects will focus on:
- Preventing and curing infectious diseases while reducing antibiotic resistance;
- Preventing chronic tissue injuries to improve cell therapy;
- Modifying bitter tastes in food to answer the needs of the food industry;
- And photosynthetic efficiency to increase crop yields.
The projects are the second round of a joint research and innovation program that began in 2019, seeking to accelerate economic development through the development of innovative technologies, building on talent and resources from the universities.
“We fully expect, given the strength of these funded proposals, that we will see similar impact from these four new projects.”
$40 MILLION NSF AWARDS PROPELS SCIENCE AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Research drives scientific discovery. It also pays economic dividends, creating companies, industries and opportunities.
The National Science Foundation awarded more than $40 million for the Department of Computer Science’s Mind in Vitro – Computing with Living Neurons and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications’ Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Coordination Ecosystem: Services and Support Program (ACCESS).
Both are at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Mind in Vitro could impact every field related to information processing, robotics and health. ACCESS will connect U.S. scientists to supercomputer resources nationwide.
“Money for research that comes to the university flows out to the broader community in sometimes surprising ways, and university research creates a ripple effect,” Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation Susan Martinis said.
NSF Director Sethuraman Panchanathan, UIUC Chancellor Robert Jones and Sen. Dick Durbin at the university's Research Park.
AN INCREDIBLE LEGACY IN MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING
An exhibit now at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign celebrates the invention of MRI and the foundational research that started at UIUC in the 1940s and ‘50s that led to this world-changing innovation.
The first two human magnetic resonance imaging scanners, invented by late UIUC faculty member Paul Lauterbur, are on display.
Lauterbur came up with the idea for MRI in 1971 and was recruited to Illinois in the 1980s. Along with British physicist Sir Peter Mansfield, Lauterbur won the 2003 Nobel Prize in Physiology for Medicine for their work in developing MRI.
In-depth interviews allowed researchers to gain understanding of what influences financial stability.
“(Wealth) captures how the long legacy of structural racism in this country continues to shape people’s life trajectories,” the report states.
In one example, white respondents often came from families that provided lifelong financial support. Conversely, middle-class Blacks and Latinos often not only lacked that support but financially supported extended family, diminishing their resources.
“Chicago’s Racial Wealth Gap: Legacies of the Past, Challenges in the Present, Uncertain Futures” is the fifth installment in IRRPP’s State of Racial Justice in Chicago series.
AI, MUSIC AFICIONADO LENDS TALENTS TO BEATLES DOCUMENTARY
Professor Paris Smaragdis centers his artificial intelligence research on taking sound and breaking it down into its individual components.
That came in handy as the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign educator joined a team of sound engineers to boost the audio quality of the popular documentary “The Beatles: Get Back.”
“Being in a position in which I could not only see how they produced their music, but also deconstruct it and undo the mixing, was definitely a mind-bending experience,” he said.
For the project, Smaragdis tapped into machine learning models to produce sophisticated and useful systems that weren’t available a decade ago.
SYSTEM UNIVERSITIES DELIVER FOR STUDENTS FAR BEYOND CAMPUS WITH BEST-IN-NATION ONLINE PROGRAMS
The need for higher education to reach students far beyond campus is increasing and the University of Illinois System’s three universities are delivering across the country and around the world with some of the best-ranked online programs available.
U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Programs ranks the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the top 10 nationwide for online master’s programs in education and engineering, while the University of Illinois Chicago is ranked No. 3 in online bachelor’s programs. The University of Illinois Springfield’s online bachelor programs were also in the top 10 percent, rising to No. 29.
The University of Illinois System’s three universities are delivering across the country and around the world with some of the best-ranked online programs available
AI PROJECT PROTECTS U.S. NAVY DIVERS FROM UNDERWATER DANGERS
University of Illinois Chicago researchers are doing a deep dive on protecting U.S. Navy personnel.
A $725,000 U.S. Office of Naval Research grant allows the use of real-time information about waterborne bacteria, parasites and other harmful pathogens and microbes.
Artificial intelligence will assemble user-provided and web-based information so divers can make real-time decisions instead of testing water samples and waiting for results.
That means divers conducting underwater work can better prepare for potentially harmful conditions. The AI data will help drive the protective equipment they choose and the duration of their dives.
UIUC, IBM LAUNCH DISCOVERY ACCELERATOR INSTITUTE PARTNERSHIPS
A 10-year, $200-plus million initiative will combine the strengths of academia and industry to advance emerging areas of technology.
The goal? Accelerate the discovery of solutions to complex global challenges. IBM and The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will focus on hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence, quantum information science and technology, accelerated materials discovery, and sustainability.
“This IBM investment will not only lift up a world-class educational institution, but also will invite national and international scientists, entrepreneurs, businesses, and innovators to Illinois,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said.
RESEARCH AT UIC ATTRACTS RECORD $446M IN FUNDING
At the University of Illinois Chicago, research funding reached a record $446 million in FY 2021. The nearly 9% increase over the previous year meant support for more than 3,500 projects.
“The nearly $340 million we received in federal awards enable the discoveries that test new ideas, address critical problems locally and globally, and train the next generation of researchers,” Vice Chancellor for Research Joanna Groden said.
Federal awards account for 76% of the funding, with the National Institutes of Health providing the largest amount – nearly $205 million. Other top sponsors include the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense and the state of Illinois. Private sponsors contributed $69 million.