The State of Illinois announced last month that $500 million from its 2019 budget would be allocated towards the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), a program designed to collaborate with Chicago universities to foster innovation.
Part of the budget would establish a research center on undeveloped land in Chicago’s South Loop.
The Institute, backed by Governor Bruce Rauner and spearheaded by the University of Illinois, will also partner with the University of Chicago and Northwestern University.
University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen announced last October that the University would recruit up to 1,800 students and 90 faculty members to work at the innovation center.
The $1.2 billion venture is part of the larger Illinois Innovation Network which uses resources from outside of the Chicago area to encourage entrepreneurship.
The project’s funding announcement comes as Chicago enters the final round of competition for Amazon’s second headquarters, a $5 billion investment that could create as many as 50,000 jobs for the city.
Proponents of the DPI hope to attract Amazon’s attention by establishing Chicago as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship.