FY20 Funded Investment for Growth Programs

Molecule Maker Lab
Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, Vice Chancellor for Research
The Illinois Molecule Maker Lab will deliver the power of on-demand molecular prototype fabrication to students, engineers, scientists and physician-innovators throughout the campus community. The lab will combine innovative Illinois technologies for small molecule synthesis with commercial synthesis machines to create a next-generation automated workflow, like a 3D printer for molecules.
Extension and Public Engagement Connection Center
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

A new Extension & Public Engagement Connection Center (EPECC) will connect faculty and staff across campus with the Illinois Extension network. Strengthening Illinois’ impact and value across the state, EPECC will provide public engagement opportunities, access to Extension staff, and assistance establishing community-based connections in Illinois counties. EPECC will support people who seek partners with common interest, research that engages stakeholders, and education or training that sustains public engagement through the deeply rooted Extension network.
Synthetic Biology for Food and Nutrition Innovation – SynFONI
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
The creation of the Synthetic Biology for Food and Nutrition Innovation (SynFONI) will build a research network with the top-ranked ACES research programs in food and nutrition, supplemented with existing ties to the Illinois food and agricultural industries through collaborative research, workshops, and outreach. The initiative will create a new Professional Science master’s program in Synthetic Biology for Food and Nutrition and a minor in Fermentation Science.
Securing the Future of Transformative Plant Science Research
College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
A new cross-college project will transform shared plant science research facilities between the College of ACES and the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Plans include the renovation of the Plant Sciences laboratory, associated greenhouses and growth chamber spaces with the construction of a dedicated high-throughput phenotyping facility. Additionally, this project will support faculty hiring in photosynthetic biochemistry and a new support staff member to manage the phenotyping facility to further Illinois education and research in plant sciences.
MPH Epidemiology Concentration
College of Applied Health Sciences
The College of Applied Health Sciences is adding a concentration in epidemiology within the Master of Public Health (MPH) program to support emerging needs in the discipline and the development of new partnerships with other colleges and units (e.g., the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, the School of Information Sciences, and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine). Additionally, the program will offer courses in topics that will serve the broader campus—strengthening research in the areas of chronic disease, health disparities, and the social determinants of health.
Investment in Feasibility Study and Architectural Plans – South Campus Online Learning Facility
Gies College of Business
This project will support the creation of architectural plans for an online learning hub located at the northeast corner of Sixth and Gregory. The new facility will include several video studios for creation and delivery of online content; large classrooms that can be used for both in-person and online education; and office space for the voluntary co-location of eLearning teams from multiple colleges across campus.
Investment in iMBA Scaling
Gies College of Business

This investment will double the size of the iMBA, the largest graduate program at Illinois, while maintaining the impressive quality of current students. Over the next three years, the program will further develop new ways to market transformative learning experiences while creating cross-campus collaborative content that provides added value to maintain a high-quality student experience.
Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Lab Cleanroom Tool Renovation
Grainger College of Engineering

A new program will upgrade and replace several important micro/nano-fabrication tools in the Holonyak Micro and Nanotechnology Lab cleanroom. The process will free up over 2000 square feet of space while replacing key pieces of equipment with state-of-the-art systems for electron-beam lithography, optical lithography, thin film deposition, plasma processing, metrology and plasma etching.
Illinois Automated and Connected Track (I-ACT)
Grainger College of Engineering
The Illinois Automated Connected Track (I-ACT) will be a state-of-the-art research testing arena for the development, testing, and commercialization of smart, autonomous, and multimodal transportation. Complete with smart freight and vehicle loops, a connected village and instrumented agricultural lands, the new space will help distinguish solutions to global mobility challenges. Additionally, the location will help train students as future leaders in smart mobility.
The Future of Healthcare Lies at the Intersection of Engineering, Biology and Medicine
Grainger College of Engineering

To increase the university’s National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding portfolio, Illinois will attract, recruit and establish a new class of researcher-clinicians in collaboration with Carle. These clinicians will collaborate with current Illinois faculty to address grand challenges in health and health care. Ultimately, the addition of clinical faculty will help assist in making Champaign-Urbana a hub for health innovation, technology, design and development.
Center for Re-Imaging Simulation Technology – CReST
Grainger College of Engineering and Carle Illinois College of Medicine
The Center for Re-imagining Simulation Technology (CReST) will develop, manage and market simulation products for the Carle Illinois College of Medicine and the Health Care Engineering Systems Center. Additionally, the project will develop new certificate programs to cater to the healthcare industry while fostering the growth of an international simulation fellowship program. The new center will also boast an advanced multi-modal AR/VR curriculum while developing a global simulation membership program for academic and industrial clientele.
Assessing Social Impact in the Arts and Humanities at Illinois
College of Fine and Applied Arts
What role do the arts and humanities play in community well-being and social transformation? This pilot program will provide Illinois arts and humanities efforts with staff and expertise to help set measures for success that reflect the values and goals of all stakeholders, within and without the university. Through inclusive and research-informed standards of accountability, the public engagement efforts stand to grow in relevance, number and support.
Growth for School of Earth, Society and Environment
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Three new online master’s degree programs in the School of Earth, Society and Environment (SESE) will provide educational advancement for off-campus students. The degrees will leverage the three departments’ expertise in geospatial data science, weather and climate risk and groundwater science while preparing students to succeed as leaders in government and industry. New online courses developed through these programs will be available to on-campus undergraduate and graduate students, increasing course quality and availability for current students as well.
Illinois Microbiome Initiative: A Cross-Campus Collaboration to Enhance Multidisciplinary Research and Education in Microbial Sciences
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

A cross-campus collaboration will help spearhead the university’s contribution to breakthrough microbiome studies. By harnessing the breadth of expertise in microbial sciences and leveraging interdisciplinary strengths across campus, the university will develop a new Master’s degree in Microbiome Analytics. In addition, new coordination will create a cross-campus strategic hiring program to fill critical expertise gaps and stimulate new interdisciplinary research.
Professional MS Degree in Chemical Engineering and Professional Development Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
A new Professional Master’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and Professional Development will combine chemical engineering with a range of topics including financial analysis, leadership, management and strategic planning. The new degree program will provide a unique learning experience that addresses the intersection of engineering, management, and marketing. Engineers will learn how technical knowledge and business knowledge affect decision-making skills, process benchmarking and business management.
Building and Shaping the Future of Innovation in Brand Communications and Advertising Technology
College of Media, Siebel Center for Design, and Technology Services
A partnership between the College of Media, Siebel Center for Design and Technology Services will establish a center of excellence in data-driven strategic brand communication and advertising technology. The new center will integrate resources for faculty research, student learning and community engagement. As a collaborative research platform, the center will develop a model for experiential and team-based learning centered around design thinking and innovation.
Games @ Illinois: Playful Design for Transformative Education
Informatics, School of Information Sciences, College of Media, and College of Fine and Applied Arts
Games @ Illinois will support the growing number of projects and programs across campus that are seeking to work at the dynamic intersection of play, immersive technologies and interactive design. There is potential for new degree and certificate programs, establishing Illinois as the locus for innovative game studies research and transformative game design. Creating an interdisciplinary game studies community and supporting games and apps that have been created at Illinois will also put the university in a strategic position to attract external partnerships and become a national leader in these fields.
Designing for Social Impact: Enhancing Skills for Students and Community Service Personnel
School of Social Work
The School of Social Work will continue to develop new educational programming that focuses on strategies and skills needed to create impactful social service-related programs for disadvantaged populations. This initiative will establish a Chicago-based Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program targeted at metro-area students who complete two-year community college degrees, create interdisciplinary Designing for Social Impact undergraduate courses and develop stackable continuing education social impact training sessions in Urbana-Champaign and Chicago taken as stand-alone or culminating in a non-degree certificate.