Science and Innovation at Illinois: Transatlantic Collaborations

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a hub for research in science and technology, as well as conversations about how scholars, policy makers, people from industry, and activists in North America and Europe think of “innovation.” Researchers at the University of Illinois famously developed Magnetic Resonance Imaging and the prototype for the first browser for the World Wide Web. The U of I’s College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES) has been ranked among the top 30 agricultural schools worldwide. These scientific discoveries have taken place at a university where exemplary faculty with interests in Europe span the humanities, social sciences, sciences, and applied fields. Two of the U of I’s five strategic partnerships in the world involve universities in European cities (Birmingham-Illinois BRIDGE and Illinois-Sweden Program for Educational and Research Exchange) and countless other peer-to-peer collaborations with partners in Europe distinguish the work of U of I faculty.

The EU Center at Illinois has consistently sought to use its U.S. Department of Education Title VI status as a National Resource Center, as well as its success with securing other grants, to foster conversations on science and technology between partners in Europe and Illinois, higher education and industry, and communities both urban and rural. The EU Center’s long-standing collaborations with ACES, the College of Law, and the College of Business have made sure that questions of trade and policy have been a consistent feature of our programming (such as our EU Day and interest of students in our MA in European Union Studies).

We have used our relationships with European institutions, such as through Jean Monnet grants, to promote collaborations on science and innovation between researchers at UI and researchers in Europe such as by drawing attention to European events on the topic of research and innovation. One recent initiative has been support for a new course for U of I students to engage with Europe on the theme of smart cities. The EU Center is also fostering ongoing conversations about comparative lessons for technology and innovation such as from the U of I’s efforts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in part through a unique contact tracing app