By Chase Cavanaugh
DEKALB – Northern Illinois University will be the fourth research hub for the Illinois Innovation Network.
This hub will be part of a research network that spans three University of Illinois campuses, each focused on different subjects. Gov Bruce Rauner says the state’s already budgeted $15 million for NIU’s center, and NIU President Lisa Freeman says the center will focus on issues of sustainability.
“Environmental sustainability, water and food policy, water and food shortages,” she said.
Gov. Rauner said this could lead to significant innovation.
“Sustainability is already a great focus at NIU,” he said. “It’s already a national leader in that regard, and sustainability practices and technologies are driving a lot of the economic growth in America and around the world, so this is a huge economic potential for the state.”
And U of I President Tim Killeen says establishing the hub will allow NIU and partner institutions to tackle larger issues.
“And so we have these assets here in this state, the intellectual heft we can bring to these problems, plus the fact that we are surrounded by food, great soil, and fresh water,” he said.
The presidents and Gov. Rauner hope this ongoing partnership can spur economic innovation and greater student enrollment.