Innovation center welcomes director
September 6, 2018
William Sanders, Electrical and Computer Engineering head, has been named interim director of the Discovery Partners Institute, a new world-class innovation center led by the University System.
The DPI is an interdisciplinary research institute in Chicago and is a branch of the Illinois Innovation Network. According to the DPI website, the program will promote entrepreneurship by empowering inventors.
This year, Illinois approved $500 million in capital funding to develop the center, which is expected to house cutting-edge research. The state also used the money to create the INN, a virtually connected network of regional hubs that will spread the institute’s impact across Illinois.
Sanders directed two campus-wide research centers during his 20 years at Urbana-Champaign, serving as founding director of the Information Trust Institute and director of the Coordinated Science Laboratory.
“These accomplishments of innovation, leadership and creativity are what made Sanders the ideal candidate for the position,” said Jan Dennis, assistant director for University relations, in an email.
“At the Information Trust Institute, he built the institute from the ground up, growing it to about 100 faculty members from 28 departments,” she said. “This enabled ITI to create interdisciplinary research teams to address important societal-scale problems related to cybersecurity and trust.”
Dennis said Sanders will work closely as a member of the leadership team, with the chancellors, provosts and deans of all three universities in the Illinois system.
Edward Seidel, vice president for economic development and innovation, will continue to help oversee development of DPI and IIN, Dennis said.
Sanders will be in charge of launching and operating the DPI, as well as designing initiatives to accelerate job creation and economic growth through research. Sanders will also lead all facets of planning and operations.
Sanders did not respond for comment at the time of publication.