Grainger projects receive major funding through Investment for Growth

10/5/2022 11:57:16 AM

Cassandra Smith

Three proposed projects connected to The Grainger College of Engineering have been selected to receive major funding through the Investment for Growth program. 

Since the program’s creation in 2018, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has invested more than $78 million in seed funding for projects that address areas of high and emerging student demand, according to Chancellor Robert J. Jones. 

“We are proud to provide central support to encourage Colleges to dream big, think differently and take risks,” said Jones. 

There were three projects from The Grainger College of Engineering selected for the FY23 funding. Those projects included: Online Programs and Hy-Flex Classrooms, Illinois Center for Immersive Computing, and Master in Data Science (A collaboration with the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as well as the School of Information Sciences.) 

The proposed “Online Programs and Hy-Flex Classrooms” project is expected to improve growth within undergraduate and online master’s enrollment. They want to do this through targeted technology upgrades in classrooms and online support for students and staff. 

The joint project between Grainger, LAS, and iSchool focuses on a data science Master of Science program. “We propose to develop and jointly manage a Master in Data Science (MDS) in collaboration between the Department of Statistics, the Department of Computer Science and the iSchool.” The program allows students to strengthen their knowledge in data science and become equipped to lead in innovative research. 

Finally, the Illinois Center for Immersive Computing would help make Illinois the “world leader” in research and workforce development for immersive technologies. The need for such a program becomes more apparent as our world continues its investment in industry, including in the academic realm. “With our strong culture of interdisciplinary research, strong virtual reality (VR) legacy, strong but scattered programs, and industry interest on campus, the time is ripe to consolidate these efforts and propel us to a leadership position.” 

These projects are part of 10 to receive $14.2 million over the next three years. “This is the first group of funded projects since the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are excited to resume investing in proposals and ideas that promise to enhance the visibility and impact of our institution,” said Jones. 

These concepts join many projects that got their start with the Investment for Growth program. Those projects include cross-college programs like CS+X and the growth of online programs such as iMBA and iMSA. 

To see a full list of this year’s funded projects, click here.