State Farm Research and Development Center Celebrates 10 Years in Research Park

Category : Research Park
Posted on: April 21, 2015

        State Farm® Celebrates 10 Years at U of I Research Park

Student innovation contributes to State Farm product development

CHAMPAIGN, IL – State Farm® continues to lead the insurance industry with its innovative approach to insurance and meeting the needs of our customers. Today we celebrate the contributions of U of I student interns, faculty and staff, and State Farm researchers who, through their research and development strategies, have helped State Farm better serve our customers. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the Research and Development Center (RDC), and our continued partnership with the University of Illinois and the City of Champaign.

The State Farm RDC is an extremely valued member of the Research Park.  Dr. Peter Schiffer, Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign describes it as “one of our strongest, most strategic and most treasured” partnerships. Vice president of State Farm strategic resources, Laurette Stiles echoed the importance of the partnership when she said her hope is that it will “sustain far into the future.”

The center has succeeded “beyond our wildest dreams,” State Farm assistant vice president and actuary, Greg Hayward said.  The growth of staff and interns in the past 10 years has been remarkable, as well as the range of backgrounds that have come together under the RDC; this range includes freshman to doctoral students studying mathematics, technology, engineering and psychology.  

“State Farm’s innovative interdisciplinary student research model has transformative effects – the results of which we celebrate today,” said Schiffer “These experiential learning experiences are a win-win for the company, the students, involved faculty, and the Research Park. The University is proud of this 10-year partnership.”

Opening in 2005, the RDC was created to leverage the talents of UIUC students and staff with the needs of the State Farm P&C Actuarial Strategic Resources departments.  Starting out with only 3 full-time staff and 7 interns, the RDC now has 13 employees and 80 interns, the largest in the U of I Research Park. The program was soon expanded to include work with the State Farm Systems Department and has since grown to support efforts with other areas across State Farm.  Since its opening, State Farm has employed nearly 750 interns who have worked on approximately 1,500 research and development projects.

“The RDC offers real-world educational opportunities for the students and faculty who work with us,” Vice President of State Farm Strategic Resources Laurette Stiles said. “Our partnership with the university through the RDC gives State Farm access to efficient, immediate and diverse research resources with the opportunity to foster innovative research in a campus atmosphere.”

State Farm actively recruits on all campuses of the University of Illinois.  As a result of on-campus recruiting efforts, nearly 30 University of Illinois graduates last year and over 200 graduates in the last five years opted for full-time employment at State Farm.  State Farm’s presence at the RDC provides ample opportunities for State Farm to get in front of U of I students in classroom, seminars and social settings.  Students’ work at the Research Center provides them with real world work experience and the opportunity to learn more about State Farm.

RDC has been instrumental in research around State Farm products; including Steer Clear® Mobile app, web-based vehicle telematics; and research around safety aspects of mobile devices and intelligent homes.

The Center for Consumer Feedback (CCF) began operation at the Research Park in 2007.  The CCF’s mission is to collect and process information on consumers’ knowledge, behaviors, perceptions and insights to facilitate strategic decisions at State Farm.

The Research and Development Center (RDC) continues to grow and is excited to announce the addition of a “Maker Space.”  Lead by our Systems partners, and in collaboration with P&C Actuary and Strategic Resources, this space will serve to allow research into areas previously not tapped.  The RDC Maker Space will include 3D printers as well as microcomputers; Arduino Uno and Raspberry Pi.  The 3D printers may be used for creating mock-up devices for display in presentations, while the microcomputers are able to develop systems like car-crash detection. This space will provide the RDC with capabilities allowing for broader project selection, strengthening the research possibilities within State Farm.

About State Farm®:

State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve over 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

Read more about the State Farm Research and Development Center.