CHAMPAIGN – Remarking that the university environment also can serve as an economic engine, Gov. Blagojevich announced today that he will release $82 million in state capital dollars to fund a laboratory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and another lab at the University of Illinois Chicago.
The governor also congratulated the university for being the home of two Nobel Prize winners and one Crafoord winner in one year. Joining the governor and the University of Illinois President James Stukel at the announcement were Nobel Prize winners, Paul Lauterbur for Medicine and Anthony Leggett for Physics; and Carl Woese who won the Crafoord Prize, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Biosciences.
“When we award state funds, we generally look at certain criteria like: need, the availability of matching funds, or potential for economic growth,” said the Governor. “But let me tell you, knowing that money we award will be used to help further the research of a faculty that has two Nobel Prize winners and one Crafoord Prize winner this year alone certainly helps.”
At the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the Governor released $18 million to build the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory in Urbana-Champaign. The Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory is a multidisciplinary research facility in the College of Engineering that supports research in photonics, microelectronics, nanotechnology, and biotechnology. The research activities carried out in the Laboratory can be divided into four areas: optoelectronics and photonic systems, microelectronics for wireless communications, microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), and nanobiosystems. The laboratory will spearhead research and industrial collaboration in nanotechnology solutions to "biotech" and "info tech" challenges.
“In my State of the State speech last March, I talked about nanotechnology or is the manipulation of matter at an atomic level. That means we can build materials that are stronger and smaller than ever before,” said the Governor. “And that means we can create new products that people will want to buy, meaning new jobs, new growth, and new development for Illinois.”
The Governor also released $64 million to build the Advanced Chemical Technology Laboratory at the University of Illinois Chicago. The proposed new building (117,000 net square feet) will replace existing space that is both limited and outdated and will allow for the creation of an interdisciplinary Institute of Environmental Science and Policy, bringing faculty together who have succeeded at commercializing products. The proposed Institute of Environmental Science and Policy will serve as a clearinghouse for more than 40 faculty members in six colleges, who will tackle complex, interdisciplinary problems. The new chemistry faculty has already developed products destined for the market, such as using DNA probe diagnostics for H1V and hepatitis C, and for cancer and genetic screening and metabolites to indicate kidney stone formation.
“Building the Advanced Chem Lab doesn’t only mean developing new products that will help create new jobs, it means developing new products that will helping people survive deadly diseases,” said Gov. Blagojevich. “These are exactly the kinds of investments we should be making in the University of Illinois.”