Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs

About the Initiative

The Grainger College of Engineering combines rigor and a culture that embraces collaboration and approachability. The Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, launched with a $100 million gift from The Grainger Foundation in 2013, is perfectly suited to that distinctive atmosphere. It focuses on bioengineering and big data, fields that grow from collaborative and multidisciplinary roots. But it also supports programs and people throughout the college.

The Grainger Initiative covers all the key elements that make us a truly elite program—people (faculty chairs and named professorships and undergraduate scholarships), world-class facilities, and support for research.

35 New Professorships

The Grainger Initiative will devote a $40-million endowment to expanding the size and quality of Grainger Engineering faculty. That will create 35 new chairs and professorships. About a dozen of those will be in bioengineering, and about a dozen will be in Big Data. The rest will be created throughout the college in a variety of fields. Our world-class faculty, students, and facilities offer the ideal environment for tackling grand societal challenges. Faculty are immersed in a community that encourages innovative ideas and inventive collaborations—with the commitment, infrastructure, and diverse talent to make it happen.

Photo of Rashid Bashir

Rashid Bashir

Dean, The Grainger College of Engineering; Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering

Photo of Shumig Nie

Shuming Nie

Grainger Distinguished Chair in Engineering; Bioengineering

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Rohit Bhargava

Founder Professor in Bioengineering

Photo of Yoram Bresler

Yoram Bresler

Founder Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Photo of Sheldon Jacobson

Sheldon Jacobson

Founder Professor in Computer Science

Photo of Timonthy Chan

Timothy Chan

Founder Professor in Computer Science

Photo of Axel Hoffman

Axel Hoffman

Founder Professor in Materials Science and Engineering

Photo of Joseph Irudayaraj

Joseph Irudayaraj

Founder Professor in Bioengineering

Photo of Jun Song

Jun Song

Founder Professor in Physics

Photo of Aleksander Stolyar

Aleksander Stolyar

Founder Professor in Industrial and Enterprise Systems Engineering

Photo of Yurii Vlasov

Yurii Vlasov

Founder Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering

Photo of Tandy Warnow

Tandy Warnow

Founder Professor in Computer Science

Engineering Visionary Scholarships

Grainger Engineers created the world's most powerful supercomputer on a university campus, electronics that dissolve harmlessly in your body, new medical imaging technologies that allow doctors to biopsy cancer while still in surgery, and a more secure power grid. And we want the best students to learn problem-solving skills like those and take them out into the world.

With the help of a $30-million endowment from the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, large, renewable recruiting scholarships help students choose Illinois over a competing offer, and they help make college more affordable for students and their families. 

Support from the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative is at the heart of the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative. This initiative has raised more than $51 million and provides more than 800 scholarships per year.

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Everitt Lab Renovation

The Department of Bioengineering stands at a significant turning point in its history at the University of Illinois. As the need expands for breakthroughs in human health issues, the department's continued growth allows it to play an even greater role in producing those health-related accomplishments and supporting the people who make them happen.

The Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative enables this accelerated growth and provided foundational funds for the renovation of Everitt Laboratory as the new home to Bioengineering at Illinois. This centralized location adds cohesion to the research, teaching, operations and administration of the department. It allows Bioengineering to become even more collaborative and interdisciplinary, and it facilitates future accomplishments of translational and transformational medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Research Support

Student working on scientific project

The Grainger Initiative creates an endowment to provide broad research support for high-impact research collaborations. Bioengineering and Big Data are two prime areas, but all disciplines receive support through Grainger Engineerings Strategic Research Initiatives program.

Many of the most important innovations of the past century can be tied to new knowledge, discovery, and research advanced by the disciplinary excellence and interdisciplinary nature of our faculty, alumni, and students. Integrated circuits. LEDs. Quantum well lasers. Earthquake-resistant skyscrapers. Medical ultrasounds. The web browser. All products of the interdisciplinary research culture at Illinois.

The Grainger College of Engineering has always responded to the critical needs of society and continues to develop solutions for our global challenges. Our Strategic Research Initiatives support collaboration in high-impact research, as well as emerging areas. Funding and support for these programs seed our future success and drive new discoveries.

Learn more about our Strategic Research Initiatives