President Obama announces $320 million Digital Lab partnership with UI LABS

By Daily Illini Staff Report

President Barack Obama announced the University’s partnership with the $320 million Digital Lab for Manufacturing, a new Chicago-based private lab. 

“They’re partnerships that bring together companies and universities to develop cutting-edge technology, train workers to use that technology, and then make sure that the research is translated into real-world products made by American workers,” Obama said Tuesday in Washington, D.C. 

The University is central to the project. The Digital Lab will work alongside UI LABS, as well as the National Center for Supercomputing Applications for its supercomputing resources. 

UI LABS is a collaboration of companies, industry partners, universities, government and community partners to shape future economic, business and cultural challenges, according to the collaborative.

“This new Digital Lab has the potential to revolutionize the way the United States approaches manufacturing and a major effort will be centered in Illinois,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a press release. 

The firm will also work with the College of Engineering. William King, University professor in the department of mechanical science and engineering, will serve as the Digital Lab’s principal investigator and chief technical officer.

“We are delighted by the success of the UI LABS application and look forward to joining with other university and industry partners in creating an opportunity for our faculty to contribute their expertise to advanced manufacturing and the revitalization of the regional economy,” said University President Robert Easter in a press release.

The Digital Lab is being funded by the U.S. Department of Defense along with industry, academic, government and community partners and will develop digital manufacturing technologies and commercialize them in hopes to reduce costs for manufacturers.

“This is a transformative opportunity to shape the future of American Manufacturing,” said UI LABS Chairman Warren Holtsberg in a press release.