Faculty Engagement

Research Park companies have access to University of Illinois faculty. Through the Expert-in-Residence program, company leadership can engage faculty on business needs including design, data science, and supply chain management. Whether a Corporate Innovation Center or a startup at EnterpriseWorks, these experts are available to consult Research Park companies at no charge.

Faculty Engagement


Robert Brunner

Robert Brunner

Robert Brunner provides consulting to Research Park companies through his role as Data Science Expert-in-Residence. Brunner is a Professor in the School of Information Sciences and in the Department of Accounting in the College of Business at the University of Illinois with interests in big data challenges involving data analysis, visualization, and mining.  Robert has led Big Data Short courses that focused on topics in visualization and the use of Hadoop and HPC resources for data analytics.  As the Data Science Expert-in-Residence, Robert provides guidance to clients by applying advanced computational and statistical techniques to astronomical data to gain insights that are applicable to business.

Deana McDonagh

Deana McDonagh

EntrepriseWorks has engaged Dr. Deana McDonagh, Professor of Industrial Design in the School of Art + Design at the University of Illinois, as a Designer-in-Residence. In this role, she assists University of Illinois inventors and entrepreneurs to incorporate empathic design and design thinking in their technology development to help improve user experiences and performance of products to meet customer needs. She is an Empathic Design Research Strategist who focuses on enhancing quality of life for all through more intuitive and meaningful products, leading to emotional sustainability. Her research concentrates on emotional user-product relationships and how empathy can bring the designer closer to users’ authentic need.

Specifically, McDonagh works with startup companies in EnterpriseWorks to further support transforming their inventions into innovations for wider impact. Support can include user research, initial form exploration, mood boards, brainstorming, field research, user evaluation and design strategy.

A recent article in Wired spoke of the need, “So instead of competing on technology, people are competing on design. And now everyone seems to be trying to out-design each other.”

EnterpriseWorks companies can receive assistance from our Designer-in-Residence at no charge.

Designer-in-Residence Request
Udatta Palekar

Udatta Palekar

Udatta Palekar, Professor of Business Administration at the University of Illinois and Director of the Supply Chain Management Program, offers guidance to University of Illinois entrepreneurs through his role as Supply Chain Expert-in-Residence at Research Park.  He works with clients to optimize supply chain function through computational techniques and forecasting. Palekar's expertise includes Stochastic Supply Chain Modeling, Manufacturing Planning, Optimization, Pricing, Distribution Channels and Supercomputing.

Jana Diesner

Jane Diesner

Dr. Jana Diesner is a faculty member in the iSchool and earned her PhD in CS from Carnegie Mellon University. Diesner conducts research at the nexus of network science, natural language processing and machine learning. Her research contributes computational analysis of the interplay and co-evolution of information and the structure and functioning of socio-technical networks.

If your company is interest in working with one of our Faculty Experts-in-Residence, please contact Laura Bleill at lwbleill@illinois.edu.

More Resources

Illinois Experts

Office of Corporate Relations

Laura Bleill
Director of Communications and External Engagement

Contact Laura to work with a Faculty Expert-in-Residence.