CHICAGO – Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by officials from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in opening a new research facility in IIT’s University Technology Park (UTP) that will provide space for more than 30 startup companies focusing on life sciences, biotech, engineering, materials and chemical research to take their innovations to the next level.
“Our long-term economic vitality depends on our ability to continue nurturing an environment that supports innovation and growth,” Governor Quinn said. “The state-of-the-art facility will help accelerate growth of emerging Illinois companies, support a more vibrant entrepreneurial environment, and create the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
Incubator-South is a new 28,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility that can house up to 34 companies and features 19 wet labs, nine dry labs and six offices. The state has provided more than $15.7 million in funding to support expansion of IIT’s UTP, including $7.2 million for the Incubator-South project.
“Incubator-South will provide new and emerging companies with an ideal environment to thrive,” Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity Director Warren Ribley said. “This facility will help connect businesses and researchers with the resources they need to turn their promising ideas into market successes.”
UTP was developed to meet rising demand for high-quality laboratory and office space, as well as technology and business services, for startup technology companies in the Chicago area. Started in 2006, the UTP has grown to 23 companies and created 240 jobs. The companies represent biotech, medical diagnostics, clean/green tech and software/information technology industries. UTP has graduated companies that have stayed and grown in Chicago, including All Cell Technologies, which develops heat sink technology for lithium ion batteries. UTP has also graduated CleverSafe, a digital data storage company that had three employees in 2005 and now employs 68 people full-time.
“The new Incubator at the University Technology Park at IIT is already attracting the interest of energy and biotech startup companies,” said John L. Anderson, IIT President. “Governor Quinn’s leadership has enabled us to create a dynamic and strategic innovation hub on Chicago’s South Side.”
As part of his commitment to nurturing innovation in Illinois, in February Governor Quinn launched the Illinois Innovation Council (www.IllinoisInnovation.com) to help ensure the state remains on the cutting-edge in the global economy. The council is actively working to promote the role and importance of innovation in economic development and quality of life; convene and partner with academic, business and governments to evaluate and recommend initiatives to improve support for innovation, and align public and private resources.
© Illinois Science and Technology Coalition
Illustration by Dieter Braun