A Sampling of research centers & institutes
At Illinois, research shapes the campus identity, stimulates classroom instruction and serves as a springboard for public engagement activities throughout the world. With over 150 research centers and institutes Illinois continues its long tradition of groundbreaking accomplishments with remarkable new discoveries and achievements that inspire and enrich the lives of people around the world. The following is a sampling of principal research centers and institutes. A full listing of principal research centers and institutes by clicking on the following link: Principal Research Centers and Institutes
The Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership offers entrepreneurial programs, services and resources to faculty, students and community members on the Illinois campus. The Academy’s mission is to encourage entrepreneurial awareness and initiatives across all disciplines of the University of Illinois. Academy events highlight entrepreneurial skills, leadership and opportunities of interest to those in academia and beyond, while emphasizing the interdisciplinary nature of modern entrepreneurial thinking.
Founded in 1988, the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center (ACRC) conducts industry–university cooperative research on energy-efficient, environmentally sound technologies for human comfort, environment control, food preservation and transportation and other applications. The ACRC provides a forum for industry and university researchers to coordinate research with long-term value. Graduate students and faculty members from across the College of Engineering pursue advanced study in acoustics, dynamics, control systems, design, materials and the thermal sciences. The ACRC is an active collaboration between approximately 30 companies in industry and the university.
The Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, made possible by a gift from Arnold and Mabel Beckman, is an inter- and multidisciplinary research institute devoted to basic research in the physical sciences, computation, engineering, biology, behavior and cognition. Research programs are focused around three main themes: biological intelligence, human-computer intelligent interaction and molecular and electronic nanostructures. The Institute’s primary mission is to foster interdisciplinary work of the highest quality in an environment that transcends many of the limitations inherent in traditional university organizations and structures.
The Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) has served the College of Commerce and Business Administration and the state of Illinois for over 60 years with research and outreach programs focusing on the U.S. and state economies. Applied research, economic forecasting, database management and the dissemination of research findings are among the BEBR’s chief activities.
The Bureau of Educational Research fulfills a broad mission of enriching the research culture at the College of Education by supporting interdepartmental or interdisciplinary collaboration; nurturing faculty research, especially for those who are at critical passages in their careers; and providing support for grantwriting and liaisons with funding agencies.
The Center for Advanced BioEnergy Research (CABER) works closely with the nine University of Illinois colleges, multiple disciplinary and professional units to provide a facilitative structure for campus outreach, teaching and research in areas related to bioenergy systems. CABER facilitates the advancement of cross-disciplinary and cross-campus research and development, education and outreach programs that promote the greater and more efficient use of bio-renewable resources and, more specifically, support the emergence of advanced bio-fuels and chemicals.
CABER focuses on sustainable bioenergy systems, including plant, microbial, downstream processing and economics and policy issues as they relate to bio-based products. CABER provides a platform for promoting national and international visibility of all Illinois faculty involved with bioenergy research, teaching and outreach. As such, CABER enhances opportunities for external funding and promotes scholarship.
Since its inception in 1959, the Center for Advanced Study has promoted the highest levels of scholarship and discourse. It serves as the primary formal venue on campus for various types of scholarly interaction and creative activity across academic disciplines by sponsoring workshops and seminars, supporting new scholarship, and bringing to campus more than 30 distinguished scholars, writers, and artists each year.
In its institutional structure the Center revolves around a small core of permanent professors, chosen from the faculty for their outstanding scholarship. These appointments are among the highest forms of campus recognition. Center professors, in turn, select research or creative proposals from the tenured and untenured faculty, who are designated associates and fellows. Thus each year brings together the established and the innovative in an ever-changing flux of ideas and disciplines.
Established in 1970, the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois is one of the leading African studies programs in the United States. As a Title VI National Resource Center, the Center is committed to providing comprehensive and excellent educational opportunities. Its activities and programs are a testimony to the strength and vibrancy of African studies on this campus. The Center has an outstanding Africana library collection, a wide range of course offerings, including regular instruction in six African languages and an interdisciplinary Master of Arts degree program. Over the years, mutually beneficial linkages have been established with numerous African universities and independent research institutions. The Center is also known for its dynamic extracurricular programming, including seminars and conferences, as well as innovative, multi-disciplinary research projects.
The Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies (EAPS) is the steward of campus-wide teaching, research, programming and outreach on East Asia, as well as Southeast Asia and the Pacific. EAPS serves almost 200 affiliate specialists on East Asia, as well as over 30 off campus affiliates across the state. EAPS strives to broadly support the research, teaching and service missions of the University of Illinois.
EAPS is part of the Illinois/Indiana East Asia Initiative (IL/IN EA), a consortium between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. It houses The Asian Educational Media Services (AEMS) with a comprehensive web-based database of multimedia resources on Asia. EAPS is also home to the Freeman Fellows Program, a University of Illinois-China exchange program launched in 1996; EAPS has welcomed over 150 scholars in the humanities and social sciences from China and nearly 200 University of Illinois faculty and students have traveled to China.
Established in 1991, the Center for Human Resource Management (CHRM) has operated as a cooperative venture between corporate partners, their senior human resource executives, and the multidisciplinary faculty of the University of Illinois’ Chicago and Urbana-Champaign campuses. Together, they identify, investigate, and debate workplace issues that affect companies, employees, educators, and the future management of human resources. With its formal and informal activities, the CHRM provides mutual benefits for its business partner companies and faculty members.
The Centers for International Business Education and Research (CIBERs) were created by Congress under the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 to increase and promote the nation's capacity for international understanding and competitiveness. Administered by the U.S. Department of Education, the CIBER network links the manpower and information needs of the United States business community with the international education, language training and research capabilities of universities across the country.
Since its establishment in 1993, the University of Illinois' Center for International Business Education and Research (Illinois CIBER) has been a leader in advancing the study and teaching of international business and supporting research on global competitiveness. Illinois CIBER is committed to empowering students, faculty and business professionals to meet the globalization challenge of the 21st Century. Our mission is to offer high-quality teaching, research and outreach programs that help advance their global knowledge and cross-cultural skills.
The Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) is an interdisciplinary unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that brings together faculty and students who have a common interest in Latin America and the Caribbean. We offer Master's and Bachelor's degrees as well as undergraduate and graduate minors, in Latin American Studies. For more than 20 years, CLACS has also held classes in Quechua, the most widely-spoken Native American Language. CLACS attracts speakers and visiting scholars from Latin America and the Caribbean; organizes cultural and educational activities; and sponsors travel and field research. The Center seeks to support and enlarge an interdisciplinary faculty who maintain an active research agenda and teach courses on Latin American subjects. CLACS promotes the presentation of Latin American art, literature, music and scholarly research to the larger community through exhibits, performances and lectures.
The Center for Microanalysis of Materials (CMM) at the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory provides advanced instrumentation for the characterization of a wide range of advanced materials over the full range of scales from the atomic to the macroscopic. The CMM is an integrated facility containing the full array of modern nanostructural and nanochemical analysis techniques including electron microscopy (SEM, TEM, STEMs, high-pressure environmental cell TEM, high-temperature LEEM, focused ion beam microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, variable-temperature STM), surface microanalysis (SIMS, TOF-SIMS, AES, XPS, imaging XPS, electrochemical XPS), x-ray scattering in all modes and ion-beam spectroscopies (RBS, channeling and NRA).
The center is staffed with experts in each technique who teach researchers so they can operate the instruments to conduct their own measurements. Licensed users have 24-hour access to the instruments. The CMM staff members also provide guidance, consultation and collaboration in the microanalysis of materials.
The Center for Nanoscale Chemical-Electrical-Mechanical Manufacturing Systems (Nano-CEMMS) was established in 2003 as a National Science Foundation Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center. A partnership of the University of Illinois, the California Institute of Technology, North Carolina Agricultural and Technological State University and Stanford University, Nano-CEMMS' mission is to develop a viable manufacturing technology and science base for fabricating ultrahigh-density, complex nanostructures. Specifically, Nano-CEMMS research focuses on micro-nano fluidic networks, processing sensing and control, manufacturing systems and applications to organic optoelectronic and combinatorial chemistry.
Nanoscale technology is the next frontier in our quest to find solutions to problems facing humankind. The Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology (CNST) was established in 2001 at the University of Illinois as the premier institution for nanoscale science and technology initiatives. CNST draws its strength working as a collaboratory towards seamless integration of interdisciplinary research from atoms and materials to devices and systems.
CNST is uniquely located to harness the entrepreneurial and technical spirit in downstate Illinois, with ongoing linkages with the University Research Park, the Illinois Technology and Enterprise Corporation-an initiative of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the state legislature. Industrial linkages have also been initiated. CNST also is developing a curriculum for nanotechnology education, which will transcend a number of campus departments and units.
The objective of the Center for Plasma-Material Interactions is to study plasma-surface interactions relevant to fusion power, propulsion and materials processing systems through a combination of computational and experimental means. Current research at the CPMI focuses on four areas: (1) the creation and application of plasma-based EUV light sources for the next generation of lithography use in the production of cutting-edge microelectronics, (2) nano-scale particle removal, nano-scale etching and nano-scale pattern enhancement aimed at the next generation of microelectronic production and beyond, (3) magnetic fusion energy diverter and first was technology, particularly the use of lithium as a means of recycling control, (4) various plasma sources including Helicon antennas and microwave discharges for a variety of materials and propulsion applications.
Since its establishment in 1976, the Center for the Study of Reading has been a national leader in the field of reading and literacy research. CSR has undertaken numerous research and development projects that aimed to build new knowledge about reading and about the practice of reading instruction. From these projects, several highly influential reports have been produced that have helped shape the practices and policies in reading instruction in classrooms across the United States and China.
The Center of Advanced Materials for the Purification of Water with Systems (WaterCAMPWS), is a National Science Foundation Science and Technology Center. The mission of The WaterCAMPWS is to develop revolutionary new materials and systems for safely and economically purifying water for human use, while simultaneously developing the diverse human resources needed to exploit the research advances and the knowledge base created. The WaterCAMPWS consists of university faculty, research scientists, graduate & undergraduate students, and municipal practitioners in fields related to water purity. The WaterCAMPWS has 11 partner institutions: University of California Berkeley, MWRDG-Chicago, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, University of Michigan, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, NRMRL-EPA, Rose Hulman Institute of Technology, Sandia National Laboratories, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and Yale University.
The Center of Excellence for Airport Technology (CEAT) draws resources from the University of Illinois and several other universities to conduct basic, developmental and applied research in airport technology. CEAT is sponsored by both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the O'Hare Modernization Program (OMP). The FAA is supporting research in pavement structural modeling, concrete fatigue studies, asphalt overlay design, base and subgrade material characterization, pavement response analysis, airport safety and wildlife hazards. OMP is supporting research in subgrade stabilization, raw materials for concrete production and concrete pavement behavior. In addition, the center has developed an outreach program that encompasses a Summer Minority Student Internship Program and a Minority Contractor Outreach Program in Chicago. Portions of the research and testing are performed at the Advanced Transportation Research and Engineering Laboratory (ATREL) in Rantoul, Illinois.
For nearly 50 years the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has provided groundbreaking leadership in research, education, and public outreach programs related to health, wellness, and enhancing the quality of life. Building upon its leadership in these areas, the Center on Health, Aging & Disability is dedicated to the interdisciplinary studies of science that will impact the lives of individuals, families, and communities by promoting health, self-sufficiency, economic independence, and quality of life across the lifespan. The Center on Health, Aging, and Disability provides leadership in interdisciplinary research, educational, and outreach efforts that promote health and wellness; healthy aging across the lifespan; healthy communities; and optimal participation of individuals with disabilities. The Center serves as a catalyst around which discoveries are made, critical societal issues are addressed, and exemplary educational and outreach opportunities are provided.
The Children and Family Research Center is dedicated to conducting and supporting research that contributes to keeping children safe, assuring permanent homes for children and supporting child and family well-being. The center was established in 1996 by a cooperative agreement between the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services and the University of Illinois School of Social Work as an independent research organization.
Since its inception in 1951, The Coordinated Science Laboratory (CSL) has evolved into a world-class multidisciplinary research facility with over 450 researchers. Today, CSL is a world leader in IT infrastructure development. CSL’s work at the confluence of computing control and communications is making IT all-pervasive, high-performance, reliable, secure and able to support a wide range of applications. Combining foundational issues with government-sponsored projects and industrial interactions are hallmarks of CSL projects.
Led by faculty who are world-renowned experts and supported by high achieving graduate students, CSL’s interdisciplinary teams explore new and innovative computing, communications, signal processing and control technologies that make seamless wireless/wireline computing -- the backbone of the nation’s cyber infrastructure -- possible.
eDream (The Illinois Emerging Digital Research and Education in Arts Media Institute) is dedicated to promoting arts that are conceived, created, and conveyed through digital technologies. We draw upon the University of Illinois's strength as a leader in science and engineering as well as its internationally recognized faculty and programs in the arts, humanities, and social sciences to reimagine creative productions, technologies, expressions and their potential for positive impact on our communities and cultures. We bring together artists, scholars, and technical innovators from many disciplines, diverse perspectives to realize the dream of arts futures in present conversation and practice. We reach out to the next generation of digital media artists and media-talented knowledge workers to prepare them for a world that exponentially reinvents itself.
Established in fall 1998 through a grant from the European Commission, the European Union Center (EUC) at Illinois is part of the Network of EU Centers created to examine the process and special policy problems of European integration and their implication for the United States. In spring 2003 and renewed in 2006, the European Union Centers were designated as a Title VI National Resource Center on US-EU relations by the US Department of Education.
The Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory (FSMRL), founded in 1962 fosters interdisciplinary research at the forefront of materials science. The FSMRL brings together world-class faculty and students in condensed matter physics, materials chemistry and materials science in a highly collaborative research environment. The FSMRL is home to several large-scale, multi-investigator research programs. These research activities are primarily supported by the Department of Energy/Office of Basic Energy Sciences Materials Sciences and Engineering Division (DOE/BES DMS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the University of Illinois, other Federal agencies and industry.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) is the statutory fire academy for the State of Illinois. It is operated as a continuing education and public service activity by the University of Illinois. IFSI conducts nationally-sponsored firefighter life safety and other homeland security-related research with Underwriters Laboratories, the Chicago Fire Department, the Colleges of and Departments within Engineering, Applied Health Sciences, Medicine and other units across campus, as well as corporations. The Institute is a member of the Governor's Illinois Terrorism Task Force (ITTF), co-Chair of the ITTF Training Committee and also offers 17 interdisciplinary rescue, HAZMAT and National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses "institutionalized" by the US Department of Homeland Security. The strategic vision of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.
The Illinois State Geological Survey is a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability. The Survey is a premier State Geological Survey serving the needs of Illinois with earth science information relevant to the State's environmental quality, economic vitality and public safety. Some 200 scientists and technical support staff conduct basic and applied research in geology, compile geologic maps and gather and manage the state's geological data to provide information to industry, governmental agencies and the public about the geology and mineral resources of Illinois. Survey staff may conduct joint research projects, supervise graduate studies and teach courses through joint appointments with the University.
Since 1858, the Illinois Natural History Survey has been the guardian and recorder of the biological resources of Illinois—the state's biological memory. As a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability and with a staff of over 200 scientists and technicians, it is recognized as the premier natural history survey in the nation. Over the years, its mission has remained fairly constant: to investigate the diversity, life histories and ecology of the plants and animals of the state; to publish research results so that those resources can be managed wisely; and to provide information to the public in order to foster an understanding and appreciation of our natural heritage.
The Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities (IPRH) was established in 1997 to promote interdisciplinary study in the humanities, arts and social sciences. The IPRH grants fellowships to faculty and graduate students who work in yearlong symposia on thematic topics, and coordinates and hosts an annual conference, consisting of faculty and graduate students from the University of Illinois and elsewhere. The IPRH also provides financial support to faculty and graduate student Reading Groups and hosts a yearlong film series. In addition to its own programming, the IPRH shares its resources with other University departments and programs, serving as a major co-sponsor of numerous lectures, programs and conferences on campus throughout the year and coordinating its activities with other units wherever possible. The IPRH offers a free yearlong humanities course for members of the Champaign-Urbana community who live at or near the poverty level.
The Illinois State Water Survey, a division of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability, is the primary agency in Illinois concerned with water and atmospheric resources.
The Water Survey has flourished for more than a century by anticipating and responding to new challenges and opportunities to serve the citizens of Illinois. Today, the Water Survey continues to demonstrate flexibility and adaptability by developing new programs, while continuing to provide long-standing services upon which Illinoisans have come to rely. The organizational structure of the Water Survey includes four centers (Center for Atmospheric Science, Center for Chemistry & Technology, Center for Groundwater Science and Center for Watershed Science) and one national program (National Atmospheric Deposition Program).
Formerly the Waste Management and Research Center, the Center is part of the Institute of Natural Resource Sustainability. The Center assists Illinois industries, businesses and citizens to reduce and manage waste. WMRC services include: Laboratory Services, Information Services, Research Funding and Technical Assistance. The Center has offices in Champaign, Oak Brook, Peoria and Brighton.
The Information Trust Institute (ITI) provides national leadership combining research and education with industrial outreach in trustworthy and secure information systems. ITI brings together over 90 faculty and senior researchers, many graduate student researchers, and industry partners to conduct foundational and applied research to enable the creation of critical applications and cyber infrastructures. ITI is creating computer systems, software, and networks that society can depend on to be trustworthy; that is, secure, dependable (reliable and available), correct, safe, private, and survivable. Instead of concentrating on narrow and focused technical solutions, ITI aims to create a new paradigm for designing trustworthy systems from the ground up and validating systems that are intended to be trustworthy. ITI is an academic/industry partnership targeting application areas such as electric power, financial systems, defense, and homeland security, among others.
The Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois was established in 2003 to advance life science research and stimulate bio-economic development in the state of Illinois. Construction of the $75 million, 186,000 square foot state-of-the-art IGB facility began in April 2004 and was completed in November 2006. The facility will ultimately house up to 400 researchers in three broad Program Areas: Systems Biology, Cellular and Metabolic Engineering and Genome Technology.
The Institute of Communications Research, housed in the College of Media, is an internationally recognized program for interdisciplinary education, scholarship and public service in communication and culture. Drawing broadly on the social sciences and humanities, the institute seeks to develop critically interpretive knowledge about communications in a global economy.
The Materials Computation Center (MCC) is actively developing powerful, leading-edge methods and tools to analyze and predict the properties of materials. The MCC provides an interactive environment for students, teachers and researchers focused on world-class, multidisciplinary education and research across traditional boundaries in Computational Materials Science. Research areas evolve but include computer science methods and applications to materials multiscaling, complex systems, computational biophysics, as well as classical/quantum materials simulations. The MCC promotes networking of researchers and students locally and worldwide, sponsors summer schools on current topics such as computational biophysics and nanoscience. The MCC hosts a shared-resource, web-based Software Archive that contains codes fostering research and education, with community contributions welcome. The center also directly supports broader interactions such as the Division of Computational Physics at the American Physics Society and Research Experience for Undergraduates.
One of the finest university-based semiconductor research facilities in the United States, the University of Illinois Microelectronics Laboratory was renamed the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory in February 2002. The lab’s mission is to create, support, and sustain an environment that facilitates advanced research not only in photonics and microelectronics, but biotechnology and nanotechnology, as well. There are many projects being carried out in the lab, ranging from designing and fabricating ultra-high-speed analog-to-digital converters for wireless applications to optical and electronic sensors for biological applications.
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is a unique state-federal partnership to develop and deploy national-scale cyberinfrastructure that advances science and engineering. The National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), one of the five original centers in the National Science Foundation's Supercomputer Centers Program, opened its doors in January 1986. Since then NCSA has contributed significantly to the birth and growth of the worldwide cyberinfrastructure for science and engineering, operating some of the world's most powerful supercomputers and developing the software infrastructure needed to efficiently use these systems (for example, NCSA Telnet and, in 1993, NCSA Mosaic™, the first readily available graphical Web browser). Today the center is recognized as an international leader in deploying robust high-performance computing resources and in working with research communities to develop new computing and software technologies. The center focuses on five thrust areas that are the pillars of an exciting future: Cyberenvironments, NCSA's cyber-resources, Innovative systems research, Advanced visualization and cybereducation.
The National Soybean Research Laboratory (NSRL) is your information source for the latest in soybean research - from production to consumption. NSRC was built and equipped with federal and state funds and has programs supported by industry, state, and federal dollars, and gifts and grants. Housed within NSRC is a diverse association of research programs including entomology, plant pathology, breeding and genetics, food and nutritional sciences, and international marketing. Many University researchers in other areas, such as animal science and agricultural economics, are directly linked to research projects underway at the NSRL. Since 1993, NSRL's role has dynamically responded to the evolving technological and marketing conditions of the soybean industry.
The Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides an environment where technology-based businesses can work with the research faculty and students at Illinois to take advantage of opportunities for collaborative research and easy access to University labs, equipment and services. Located minutes from central campus, the Research Park is now home to 60 companies and growing, employing almost 1,200 people in high-technology careers. At any given time over 200 University of Illinois student interns with leading-edge technical skills are working in these companies gaining valuable work experience while making real contributions to internal corporate R&D and product development programs
EnterpriseWorks (EW) is a 43,000 sq ft startup business incubator in the center of Research Park. Since opening in 2003, EW has become the launching pad for over 60 startup companies. EW provides an ideal environment for starting a high-growth technology venture with 24 full wet-chemistry labs, furnished office space, an extensive array of shared lab equipment, server co-location facilities, and conference rooms with complete presentation facilities and high-speed wireless Internet access.
Established in 1984, the Biotechnology Center through its core laboratories in genomics and proteomics provides a state of the art research infrastructure to investigators both on and off campus. Research facilities consist of the Proteomics Center and the W. M. Keck Center for Comparative and Functional Genomics. The Proteomics Center is composed of four units involved in protein and cell characterization: Flow Cytometry Facility, Immunological Resource Center, Carver Metabolomics Center and Protein Sciences Facility. The W.M. Keck Center is subdivided into three units by their research focus: High-Throughput Sequencing and Genotyping, Functional Genomics and Bioinformatics. Genomic and proteomic research services are provided to over 221 principal investigators on campus representing six colleges and 38 departments as well as numerous off-campus projects. In addition, Career Services assists graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in career placement.
The Russian, East European and Eurasian Center brings together, in a variety of programs, members of the university community and the public interested in understanding and promoting knowledge about Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia.
Established in 1959, the Center is a Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center. REEEC supports work on the region by faculty and students in various colleges and departments; organizes lectures, conferences, public forums and other events; offers interdisciplinary courses and degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students; organizes special programs for K-12 teachers and other professionals; sponsors the national Summer Research Lab on Russia, Eastern Europe and Eurasia and the Slavic Reference Service; and seeks to foster new perspectives and innovative approaches to learning and teaching.
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