Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

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Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Illinois Research Park Aerial View 2017.jpg
Aerial View of the University of Illinois Research Park
Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
60 Hazelwood Drive
Champaign, Illinois, USA 61820
Established 1999
Area 663,000 sq-ft
Companies 100+
Structures 14
Employees 1,500+
Student Interns 500+
Website Official Site
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Research Park, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, or simply referred to as "Research Park", is a research park located in the southwest part of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus in Champaign, Illinois, United States. The Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a technology hub for startup companies and corporate research and development operations. Within the Research Park there are more than 100 companies employing students and full-time technology professionals.


Research Park gained the approval of the Board of Trustees in November 1999 and established its governance with the University of Illinois Research Park Limited Liability Company in March 2000. The Research Park opened its first building in 2001 and grew quickly into a 200-acre technology hub for corporate research and development operations. Research Park is located on the south side of the University campus which provides several advantages such as easy access to University facilities, close proximity to university faculty, and flexibility to use university students for internships.[1] In 2003, the State of Illinois provided funding to build the EnterpriseWorks Incubator, a 43,000 square-foot business technology incubator for early-stage tech firms, and the first tenants moved in during early 2004. In May 2000, the University entered into a partnership with Fox/Atkins who now leases the land from the University and constructs customized buildings for Research Park's tenants. The company is responsible for transforming the land from fish ponds, agricultural fields, and livestock barns to a thriving, supportive environment for modern tech entrepreneurs.[2] The next phase of development in the new master developer agreement is to add 160 acres of additional land east of the main Research Park area. This expansion represents the continuing success of advancing the economic development in the state and region at large. The total operation in Research Park annually contributes $4.1 million in tax revenues to the state of Illinois. The total construction over 10 years contributed $7.2 million in state tax revenue. The Research Park is the most visible shift in economic development and innovation in the history of the University of Illinois. Ed McMillan, chairman of the Board of Managers for the Research Park and a University of Illinois trustee, stated that, "The mission of the Research Park is much in collaboration with the mission of the University of Illinois. In addition to teaching - in addition to research and outreach - it's also commercialization of technology."


Research park[edit]

Located on campus, the Research Park is now home to more than 100 companies, employing more than 1,700 people. At any given time more than 600 student interns are working in these companies gaining valuable work experience while making real contributions to internal corporate R&D and product development programs. Multinational and/or publicly traded corporations in the Research Park include: ADM, Abbott Laboratories, AbbVie, AB InBev, Ameren, Capital One, Caterpillar, CEB, Deere & Company, Dow AgroSciences, Dow Chemical, Grainger, Littelfuse, Raytheon, Riverbed, State Farm, and Yahoo. The Research Park is also home to over 50 startup companies that are commercializing technology. EnterpriseWorks, the Research Park’s 43,000-square-foot business incubator for early-stage tech firms, is operated by the University of Illinois to help launch successful startup companies.[citation needed]

EnterpriseWorks Incubator[edit]

EnterpriseWorks Incubator located in the University of Illinois Research Park

The EnterpriseWorks Incubator provides a bridge between the research of the University and the commercialization of technology by university faculty, researchers, and students. The award-winning incubator provides free counseling services to technology entrepreneurs and facilities such as laboratories, offices, conference rooms, kitchen, and co-working space. The Entrepreneur-In-Residence program is a free service provided by Research Park which consists of 7 experience tech entrepreneurs who provide monthly consulting to new startup ventures and prospective entrepreneurs.[4] Research Park and the EnterpriseWorks Incubator hold educational, training, social, and networking events to facilitate a community feel while providing a place where the newest startups have the opportunity to develop relationships with established national and international corporations.


  • EnterpriseWorks receives $50,000 award from the Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition[5]
  • Urbana, IL named a Top Startup City by Popular Mechanics, mainly due to the UI Research Park community[6]
  • One of Three College-Town Incubators to watch by in June 2013[7]
  • One of 12 Business Incubators Changing the World by in 2013 [8]
  • Top 10 Start-Up Incubator to watch by in 2011[9]
  • Outstanding Research Park Award by the Association of University Research Parks in 2011[10]
  • Top 10 Technology Incubator that is changing the world by in 2010 [11] In 2011


Networking events include happy hours, golf outings, bonfires and an annual holiday party. The Research Park also facilitates recurring events that target certain groups related to technology business.

  • EIR Workshops[12] - These workshops are for Research Park EIRs to share their wisdom, stories, and advice with the audience
  • Startup Cafe[12] - Luncheon series that highlights successful entrepreneurs with connections to the Research Park as guest speakers
  • CU Women in Tech[12] - Informal networking event for women working in Champaign-Urbana area technology companies or women working in technology roles
  • CEO Roundtable[12] - Networking event for CEO's of technology businesses in Champaign-Urbana to address business operations and best practices
  • Big Data Summit[12] - Event gathering the thought leaders from the University of Illinois Research Park, industry, and academia, in order to explore the challenges and emerging topics surrounding Big Data
  • Agriculture Technology Innovation Summit[12] - Creating, developing and building connections between entrepreneurs, industry, and growers is a key component to implementing innovation in agriculture.
  • Career Fair[12] - Job fair for Research Park employers and recruiters to meet prospective student jobseekers
  • Reverse Career Fair[12] - The event allows student organizations to show Research Park companies what they have to offer and how the companies can engage with them and their constituents.
  • Mobile Development Day[12] - Daylong event dedicated to providing and sharing information while networking with peers about mobile development with the thought leaders from the University of Illinois Research Park, industry, and academia
  • Summer Intern Professional Development Workshop Series[12] - Held weekly for Research Park interns, each workshop focuses on a unique aspect of the professional world, giving useful advice on everything from networking to negotiation.
  • Food Trucks at UIRP[13] - During the summer months, the Research Park welcomes a number of local food trucks to provide tenants with exciting and diverse lunch options.
Hendrick House offers locally sourced, made from scratch food.
Pandamonium Doughnuts offers made-from-scratch doughnuts using local and organic ingredients whenever possible.


  • Laura Frerichs, the University of Illinois Research Park Director and Director of Economic Development for the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus.
  • Laura Bleill, Associate Director for the University of Illinois Research Park.
  • Cynthia Faullin, Assistant Director for Operations in Research Park.
  • Jennifer Kim, Events and Workforce Development Coordinator
  • Roger West, Finance Manager

Recent company openings[edit]

Chancellor Phyllis Wise at the Ameren Innovation Center Grand Opening at the University of Illinois Research Park
  • Carle Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Facility in January 2017
  • AARP Tech Nest in October 2016
  • CME Group Innovation Center in September 2016
  • CEB Data Innovation Center in March 2016
  • Agrible New Headquarters in November 2015
  • Granular Regional Headquarters in November 2015
  • Capital One Digital Campus Lab in October 2015
  • Dow Chemical Company AgroSciences Innovation Center in September 2015
  • Caterpillar Inc. Data Innovation Lab in February 2015
  • Ameren Innovation Center in February 2015
  • AbbVie Innovation Center in January 2015
  • TURN Innovation Center in April 2014
  • Anheuser-Busch Grand Opening in September 2013
  • Dow Chemical Company Innovation Center in January 2013

Notable tenants[edit]

John Deere at the University of Illinois Research Park

Notable graduates[edit]


I-Hotel located within Research Park in Champaign, Illinois
  • 3D Printer[14]
  • Conference Rooms[14]
  • Daycare[14]
  • Electric Vehicle Charging[14]
  • Entrepreneurs-In-Residence[14]
  • I-Hotel & Conference Center[14]
  • Outdoor Facilities[14]
  • Restaurants[14]
  • Server Co-Lo Facility[14]
  • Shared Lab Facilities[14]
  • Work-Out Facilities[14]


  1. ^ "Maps | Research Park". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  2. ^ "Developer Partnership | Research Park". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  3. ^ "History | Research Park". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  4. ^ "Entrepreneur in Residence Program | Research Park". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  5. ^ "EnterpriseWorks Receives Award from SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition | Research Park". 2015-08-05. Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  6. ^ "Urbana recognized as a top city for startups -, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News". 2015-01-14. Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  7. ^ "3 College-Town Incubators to Watch". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  8. ^ "The Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - pg.8". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "AURP Awards of Excellence 2014". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  11. ^ "Ten Technology Incubators Changing The World". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Research Park Events". Research Park. Retrieved 2015-02-23. 
  13. ^ "Food Trucks at UIRP | Research Park". Retrieved 2017-05-03. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Research Park Amenities". Research Park. Retrieved 2013-06-28.