A Northern Illinois University administrator will chair the Illinois Innovation Network Council.
The Network is a collection of 15 hubs based at state universities. Each hub is a center of research, entrepreneurship, education, and workforce development; and the Council is a way to better coordinate their projects. NIU's inaugural chairman is Vice President for Research and Innovation Partnerships Dr. Gerald Blazey. Blazey says all the hubs have a central connection to the Discovery Partners Institute in downtown Chicago.
“There’s four themes for the Discovery Partners Institute around data, environment, food and health care; and that will be the centerpiece for the Illinois Innovation Network, but every hub will have its own specialty,” he said.
NIU’s specialty is sustainability, and the university will begin construction on the Center for Community Sustainability in 2021. Blazey hopes NIU’s work can help with addressing the consequences of larger issues such as climate change.