Forbes Cites University of Illinois Research Park as a Technology Incubator Changing the World

Categories : Features, Research Park
Posted on: April 21, 2010

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —’s list of technology incubators that are changing the world included the University of Illinois Research Park. The Champaign park was included in an April 16 online story — “In Depth:10 Technology Incubators That Are Changing the World” –because of it’s the combination of established firms and start-ups in close proximity, student employment in companies and the history of innovations from the University of Illinois.

The University of Illinois Research Park was lauded for having a combination of large corporate operations alongside new technology startups. This creates an opportunity for interaction that allows small firms to learn from large corporations and for the established firms to develop entrepreneurial approaches to innovation.

“The Research Park at the University of Illinois has effectively attracted and grown operations for large corporations and also supported technology commercialization,” said Avijit Ghosh, U of I vice president for technology and economic development.

Located on campus, The Research Park at the University of Illinois opened in 2001 and has grown rapidly. Currently the park has 80 companies and 607,000 square feet of building space. The Research Park has been developed as a public-private partnership between the University of Illinois and Fox/Atkins Development.

The Research Park at the University of Illinois provides an environment where technology-based businesses can work with the research faculty and students at the Urbana campus to take advantage of opportunities for collaborative research and easy access to University labs, equipment and services. Publically traded firms in the Research Park include: ADM, Abbott Laboratories, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, QUALCOMM, Littelfuse, Riverbed, SAIC, Sony, State Farm and Yahoo.

“One of the secrets to our success has been the growing employment of students by Research Park companies,” said Laura Frerichs, associate director of Research Park and Incubation Facilities. Research Park companies employ 440 students in positions that are typically year-round placements and provide hands-on learning in paid positions.  

“This continuity of employment allows companies to leverage student talent all year, reduce workforce costs by hiring students as research staff, achieve a flexible staffing model and create a recruiting pipeline of future talent to cherry-pick after graduation,” said Frerichs.

The article and full list of incubators selected by Forbes is available at:


University of Illinois/Research Park contacts

Research Park website:

Avijit Ghosh, Vice President for Technology and Economic Development

(217) 265-5440

[email protected]

Laura Frerichs, Associate Director of Research Park and Incubation Facilities

 (217) 333-8324

[email protected]

Fox/Atkins Development, LLC

Peter Fox
Managing Member
(217) 351-1430
[email protected]

About the University of Illinois: The University of Illinois is a world leader in research and discovery, the largest educational institution in the state with more than 71,000 students, 24,000 faculty and staff, and campuses in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago and Springfield. Since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a long history of innovations and technology invented by students, faculty, and alumni that have changed the world including: the first public demonstration of sound on film; Prof. John Bardeen’s theory of superconductivity and his previous work inventing the transistor; Illiac, the first digital computer built and owned entirely by an educational institution; Mosaic, the first popular graphical browser for the World Wide Web; Plato, the first computer based education system; nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) that led to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); You Tube developed by former computer science students Steve Chen and Jawed Karim; PayPal founded by Max Levchin; Siebel Systems founded by UI alumnus, Thomas Siebel; and Beckman Instruments founded by UI alumnus, Arnold Beckman.

About Fox/Atkins Development, LLC: In a joint effort with the University of Illinois, Fox/Atkins Development, LLC, a partnership that was formed between Fox Development Corporation and The Atkins Group, was selected to develop The Research Park at the University of Illinois.