The Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) installed its inaugural slate of officers, approved bylaws and created four working committees to address key statewide priorities during a Sept. 26 meeting of the IIN Council at Governors State University.
The IIN is a group of 15 university-based hubs across the state that aims to boost Illinois’ economy through entrepreneurship, research, education and workforce development. The IIN Council is the IIN’s governing body, comprising a representative from each hub.
“It is so encouraging the way these leaders from the state’s public universities have come together to set the IIN up for success,” said Ed Seidel, University of Illinois System vice president for economic development and innovation, whose office is responsible for development of the IIN and Discovery Partners Institute. “They have prioritized the development of key programs that address state needs and created a clear organizational framework. We have witnessed more cooperation among the state’s public universities in the last two years than many people can remember, and that is very inspiring. The IIN is going to chart a remarkable course forward, which will greatly benefit all of our communities and the entire state of Illinois.”
Gerald C. Blazey, vice president for research and innovation partnerships at Northern Illinois University, was named chair of the IIN Council. Leslie K. Roundtree, interim provost and vice president of academic affairs at Chicago State University, was named vice chair. Denise Cobb, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, was named secretary. Joseph A. Rives, senior vice president for strategic planning and initiatives at Western Illinois University, will serve as an at-large member on the IIN executive committee. Kyle Harfst, associate vice president for economic development and innovation for the U of I System, will be the IIN’s executive director.
The bylaws approved by the council establish policies around IIN membership, organizational structure, officers, elections and committees.
Initial working committees created by the council will lead development of programs and initiatives in IIN’s core areas, and will serve as a conduit for the network’s hubs. Elizabeth A. Cada, provost and vice president of academic affairs at Governors State, will chair the education and workforce development committee. Bruce Sommer, director of economic development and innovation at the University of Illinois at Springfield, will chair the entrepreneurship and corporate engagement committee. Ryan C. Hendrickson, vice provost of sponsored research at Eastern Illinois University, will chair the research and collaboration committee. Ryan Spain, vice president of economic development at OSF HealthCare, will chair the public policy committee. The committees will be made up of representatives from the hubs as appointed by each IIN hub leader.