Governor JB Pritzker announces historic $500 million investment in quantum campus


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Credit: John R. Boehm
Credit: John R. Boehm

A new announcement from Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker could expand the world-class leadership of the University of Illinois' Grainger College of Engineering in the quantum and microelectronics space.

Pritzker, who serves as Innovate Illinois chair, announced a proposal to allocate $500 million toward the advancement of beyond silicon quantum technology. This substantial investment is part of the state's latest budget proposal.

The proposal promises to expand Illinois’ leadership in the semiconductor industry, quantum computing, artificial intelligence, and the effort to move beyond silicon. 

The proposal includes developing a state-of-the-art quantum campus with a cryogenic facility essential for research and development in next-generation microelectronics and quantum technologies. That the creation of the cryogenic facility and quantum campus receives $300 million of the total investment underscores the state's commitment to designing, testing, and packaging at the intersection of the semiconductor industry and quantum information technology.

"We were already solidifying our position as a top hub for quantum development, we're ready to leap ahead. Ensuring we make timely, strategic investments and demonstrate unwavering commitment, builds confidence among private industry and the federal government," said Governor JB Pritzker.

"Innovate Illinois is at the core of Governor Pritzker’s vision to align the state of Illinois investments with an unmatched network of public-private partnerships to secure CHIPS and Science act funding and build a brighter future for our nation,” said Chancellor Robert J. Jones, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and co-vice-chair of Innovate Illinois. "Illinois has absolutely incredible assets and expertise to advance research and innovation in areas that are critical to our collective prosperity, like the bio-economy, microelectronics, quantum industries, sustainable technologies, manufacturing and diverse workforce development.”

The investment aligns with Illinois' efforts to secure the headquarters of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) under the CHIPS and Science Act.

Illinois' history of attracting federal grants and private investments, notably in quantum technology, further demonstrates its leadership in quantum technology.  

In addition, UIUC is leading the quantum thrust of the Silicon Crossroads Microelectronic Commons Hub, recently announced by the Dept. of Defense, an innovation ecosystem driven to accelerate expansion of America’s semiconductor base to achieve domestic microelectronics excellence.

“For years, we have advanced the frontier of quantum information science. Just last fall, researchers in Grainger Engineering launched the first public quantum network, with the hope that these nodes will someday connect to other networks around the world,” said Grainger Engineering Dean Rashid Bashir. “We have a great diversity of talent at Illinois in quantum computing, networking, and sensing. Our research, education, and outreach initiatives, administered by the Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center (IQUIST), are helping build quantum technologies and a workforce we hope will move us beyond silicon.”

Illinois' quantum ecosystem provides a well-established foundation for this ambitious project. The Chicago Quantum Exchange is the largest university-led quantum initiative in the country, anchored by the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and Northwestern University.

This historic investment is a major leap forward for the technological sector and securing further leadership for Illinois.

About Innovate Illinois

Innovate Illinois is a public-private coalition that was formed to drive the coordinated and robust effort in securing unprecedented levels of federal funding made available by landmark legislation including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act. Securing more federal funding for key technologies will propel the state to attract more companies and investors to grow Illinois’ vibrant tech ecosystem.

The Grainger College of Engineering contributed to this report.

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This story was published March 11, 2024.