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Pillar II:  Research and Scholarship with Global Impact

The University of Illinois System is a powerhouse of discovery, problem solving, innovation, and creative production. We have given the world the graphical web browser that led to exponential growth in Internet use; created an affordable, accessible treatment for multidrug-resistant HIV that has saved countless lives worldwide; and exonerated the wrongly convicted and imprisoned through our Innocence Project. The awards our  scholars have won, their reputation in professional academies, and the recognition accorded them worldwide affirm the excellence and power of the System’s people and ideas.

1. Build a System-wide culture of innovation, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and thoughtful risk-taking

Our faculty and students should feel empowered to study,understand, and change the world. We will be a catalyst for creative experimentation among our universities and regional campuses. We will convene members of the entire System around issues of common interest, provide incentives that encourage them to cross disciplinary and geographic boundaries, and remove administrative and structural barriers in order to improve efficiency and encourage collaboration.

  • Provide resources, support, and recognition to increase the engagement of all members of the System community in scholarship, research, and creative production
  • Identify and enable opportunities for scholars and researchers across the System to collaborate, build critical mass, and enhance global recognition and prominence.
  • Use information technology to make the full breadth of System expertise accessible and easily navigable by faculty, students, staff, alumni, and outside partners.
  • Promote the System’s research, scholarship, and creative production nationwide to raise our visibility as a powerhouse of innovation and a potential partner for businesses, organizations, and individuals wishing to build on our creativity.

2. Identify a set of significant sociotechnical problems that the System is particularly well suited to solve

By convening faculty and coordinating the full extent of our intellectual capital and infrastructure, we can have a transformative impact on a number of critical challenges such as:

  • Addressing the root causes of disparities in health, education, economic opportunity, social justice, and civic participation.
  • Creating a more sustainable food supply chain to serve the planet’s growing population.
  • Developing diverse and renewable energy sources and responding to accelerating climate change.
  • Ensuring that global cybersecurity balances privacy rights with the safety of our communities.
  • Translating scientific discoveries and technological advances into state-of-the-art medical outcomes by delivering “precision medicine”: the right care to the right person at the right time.

3. Highlight the centrality of the humanities and arts in the human experience

In a technologically driven age, our research and scholarship in the humanities and arts are ever more essential. We are a wellspring for fresh insights and new, multicultural voices. We support creative work that reimagines the environment, nourishes the soul, and expands our thinking beyond the horizon of the present.

  • Sustain and promote scholarship in the humanities and the arts that enriches our perspectives on the enduring challenges of justice, violence, and poverty; health, race, identity, and religion; and global and local citizenship.
  • Stimulate interdisciplinary and cross-institution collaborations of all kinds: among faculty and students; in the classroom, studio, and archive; and within and among the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. We will pioneer new approaches to critical inquiry, shed new light on enduring questions, and challenge longstanding paradigms.

4. Forge new research and development partnerships around the world

Increasingly, research and development will rely on a diverse base of external funding and support from non-governmental organizations and corporations outside the United States.

  • Establish and showcase public-private partnerships with companies that have significant global reach, building on existing relationships such as those connected to EnterpriseWorks Chicago and Urbana, and the Research Park at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
  • Use these relationships to commercialize System research discoveries; incubate innovations; accelerate tech transfer; and provide training, leadership development, and internship/job opportunities for students and alumni.