Research Institutes and Centers

A culture driven by interdisciplinary research.

Trusted by federal agencies and industry alike, our institutes and centers are home to world-class research infrastructure, faculty, students, and experts. They drive fundamental discoveries and rapidly transfer technology and findings to society. This is why we are routinely among the top global institutions in terms research support and the impact that research has.

Grainger Engineering Interdisciplinary Research Units (IRUs)

Faculty and students are just two of the core elements of The Grainger College of Engineering. The facilities in Grainger engineering and at the University of Illinois are an integral part of the groundbreaking work on campus. Multidisciplinary research is fostered through research spaces designed specifically for collaboration. 

Coordinated Science Laboratory

The Coordinated Science Laboratory is a premier, multidisciplinary research laboratory that focuses on information technology at the crossroads of circuits, computing, control, and communications. 

Holonyak Micro &
Nanotechnology Lab

The Holonyak Micro & Nanotechnology Laboratory is one of the country's largest and most sophisticated university facilities for conducting photonics, microelectronics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology research.

Materials Research Laboratory

MRL brings together world-class faculty and students in condensed matter physics, materials chemistry, and materials science in a highly collaborative research environment.

View all of the ways to engage in research across campus through the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation.

College Institutes and Centers

Center for Digital Agriculture
The Center for Digital Agriculture (CDA) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was formed to help agricultural producers, researchers, and industries keep pace with the ways technology is transforming how we feed and support a growing global population. Increased global productivity and sustainability requires technical innovations that involve CDA’s primary themes: Automation, Data, Animals and Crops, and People.

Advanced Materials Testing and Evaluation Laboratory (AMTEL)
AMTEL provides a platform to develop new and innovative testing techniques for those whose primary research interest is the mechanical behavior of materials, as well as to provide a cost-effective facility for occasional users, for whom mechanical testing is not the major thrust in their research.

Applied Research Institute (ARI)
ARI performs translational research with a sharp focus on the development of technologies that are validated before they leave the laboratory. Our vision is to create a new model for a university-based institute, where industry and federal clients connect with researchers in an integrated environment to understand their needs and rapidly solve problems.

Center for Autonomy
Located at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Center for Autonomy enables high-impact research and develops new educational programs for students and professionals. The Center plays an important role in designing innovative systems that can function autonomously, or without human intervention, in a safe and reliable way.

Center for Hypersonics & Entry Systems Studies (CHESS)
The Center for Hypersonics and Entry Systems Studies is a multidisciplinary team of researchers in The Grainger College of Engineering. CHESS draws from expertise in high-performance computing and state-of-the-art experimental factilities to support fundamental advances in hypersonics and entry system technologies.

Health Care Engineering Systems Center (HCESC)
HCESC provides clinical immersion and fosters collaboration between engineers and physicians. We design collaborative solutions to improve health care outcomes utilizing our expertise in simulation technologies, smart health systems, data analytics, human factors, and medical robotics.

Illinois Quantum Information Science and Technology Center (IQUIST)
IQUIST brings together physicists, engineers, computer scientists, and mathematicians to advance quantum information science and train a quantum-smart workforce. The center is a core member of the Chicago Quantum Exchange and is accelerating innovation through partnerships spanning academia, government, and industry.

IMMERSE: Center for Immersive Computing
IMMERSE brings together expertise in immersive technologies, applications, and human factors to perform research, educate a new workforce, and build infrastructure that will enable a new era of immersive computing.

Information Trust Institute (ITI)
ITI provides national leadership combining research and education with industrial outreach in trustworthy and secure information systems. ITI is creating computer systems, software, and networks that society can depend on to be trustworthy, meaning that they are secure, dependable (reliable and available), correct, safe, private, and survivable.

Institute for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA Institute)
The mission of the IDEA Institute is to support scholarship, innovation, collaboration, and leadership in the areas of inclusion, diversity, equity, and access at all levels: faculty, staff, students, and K-12 outreach and public engagement.

Siebel Center for Design at Illinois (SCD)
SCD's mission is to foster multidisciplinary collaborations across the University of Illinois campus, using design thinking as an approach to promote human-centered design and mandated quick iterations.

Technology Entrepreneur Center (TEC)
Created to highlight the University’s rich history and culture of innovation, TEC continues to inspire its students to become the next generation of world-changing visionaries, leaders and entrepreneurs. This is accomplished through its courses, venture and product competitions, workshops and other curricular and extra-curricular events that expose students to the concepts of technology innovation and market adoption.

VinUni-Illinois Smart Health Center (VISHC)
The VISHC is a collaboration between VinUniversity (VinUni) and The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC or Illinois). The center was established to conduct high-impact research on biomedical sensing, informatics, and their applications in smart healthcare. We aim at developing state-of-the-art sensing and digital technologies to provide widely accessible health monitoring and improvement for people all over the world.

Zhejiang University-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Institute (ZJUI)
The ZJU-UIUC Institute leverages the brand new ZJU International Campus and creates a unique student experience of cross-disciplinary collaboration, technical leadership, teamwork, and creative excellence. Undergraduate degree programs are offered in civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer engineering that mirror the degree programs offered at UIUC. All courses are offered in English.

Externally-Funded Centers

ACE Center for Evolvable Computing (ACE)
The goal of the ACE Center is to devise novel technologies for scalable distributed computing that will improve the performance and the energy efficiency of diverse applications by 100x over the expected computer systems of 2030. The ACE Center is led by the University of Illinois and includes researchers from several universities. This SRC JUMP 2.0 Center is funded by several leading companies and DARPA.

Illinois Advanced Research Center at Singapore (IARCS)
Located at the Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE) in Singapore, IARCS' mission is to identify and solve basic research problems with high scientific impact and high potential economic impact, and to help expand the workforce of highly trained IT researchers. These activities enhance Singapore's position as a hub for cutting-edge research in information technologies, interactive digital media, and adaptive cyber infrastructure, while also facilitating interactions between University of Illinois researchers and research and industry partners in Singapore and Asia.

Artificial Intelligence for Future Agricultural Resilience, Management, and Sustainability Institute (AIFARMS)
AIFARMS brings together researchers in artificial intelligence and agriculture, combining their expertise to promote advances in agriculture through AI. Their mission is to use core AI research areas such as computer vision, machine learning, data science, soft object manipulation and intuitive human-robot interaction, to address major challenges in agriculture. Digital Transformation Institute (DTI)
The Digital Transformation Institute is a research consortium dedicated to accelerating the benefits of artificial intelligence for business, government, and society. The Institute engages the world’s leading scientists to conduct research and train practitioners in the Science of Digital Transformation, which operates at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, internet of things, big data analytics, organizational behavior, public policy, and ethics.

Center for Advanced Semiconductor Chips with Accelerated Performance (ASAP)
The ASAP is working to strengthen U.S. leadership in critical technologies — including high-performance computing, advanced manufacturing, 5G and beyond — by creating new materials and process paradigms for efficient electrical interconnects, photonic integration, and in-memory computing solutions targeting digital, analog, and RF platforms.

Center for Networked Intelligent Components and Environments (C-NICE)
C-NICE serves as a global hub for the smart, reconfigurable technology that drives the manufacturing plants, medical environments, autonomous vehicles and smart homes of the future.

Center for Power Optimization of Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS)
POETS takes an ambitious, innovative approach to improving the power density of next generation electro-thermal systems involves integrating traditionally separate research efforts in mechanical, electrical, and materials engineering across different technical domains.

Center for Regenerative Energy-Efficient Manufacturing of Thermoset Polymeric Materials (REMAT)
This DOE Energy Frontier Research Center will advance the science of thermochemical reaction-diffusion processes in additive and morphogenic manufacturing and accelerate a transformative, circular strategy for thermoset polymeric and composite materials with programmed end-of-life.

Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks (HQAN)
Hybrid Quantum Architectures and Networks, an NSF Quantum Leap Challenge Institute, will tackle the challenge of scaling quantum processors by pursuing an alternative paradigm: distributed quantum processing and networks composed of a hybrid architecture. 

IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute (IIDAI)
The IBM-Illinois Discovery Accelerator Institute is a new model of academic-industry partnership designed to increase access to technology education and skill development to spur breakthroughs in emerging areas of technology including hybrid cloud and AI, quantum computing, accelerated materials discovery, and sustainability to accelerate the discovery of solutions to complex global challenges.

Illinois Center for Transportation (ICT)
Illinois Center for Transportation, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s transportation research center founded in 2005, steers the development and implementation of cost-effective mobility technologies, improves safety and reliability, reduces congestion and minimizes environmental impacts while returning taxpayers’ dollars.

Illinois-Insper Partnership
Insper and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign , through the Grainger College of Engineering and the Department of Computer Science, are working together to support research and educational collaborations between the two institutions.

Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC)
The mission of the Illinois Materials Research Center is to (i) perform fundamental, innovative materials research that has applications to societal needs, and (ii) support interdisciplinary education and training of students in materials design, understanding, and application.

International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research (I2CNER)
I2CNER's mission is to contribute to the advancement of low carbon emission and cost effective energy systems, and improvement of energy efficiency. The array of technologies that I2CNER’s research aims to enable includes Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFCs), Polymer Membrane based fuel cells, biomimetic and other novel catalyst concepts, and production, storage, and utilization of hydrogen as a fuel.

Internet of Battlefield Things (IoBT)
The Internet of Battlefield Things will connect soldiers with smart technology in armor, radios, weapons, and other objects, to shorten the latency of decision cycles, improve the resiliency of tactical battlefield analytics, and push tailored machine intelligence to the point of need. The initiative is a collaboration between the Army Research Lab, academia, and industry.

Molecular Maker Lab Institute (MMLI)
The Molecule Maker Lab Institute focuses on the development of new AI-enabled tools to accelerate automated chemical synthesis to advance the discovery and manufacture of novel materials and bioactive compounds. The institute also trains a new generation of scientists with combined expertise in AI, chemistry and bioengineering.

Quantum Sensing and Quantum Materials (QSQM)
This DOE Energy Frontier Research Center aims to develop and apply nontrivial quantum sensing methods to measure and unravel mysteries associated with three families of quantum materials. These families are exotic superconductors, topological crystalline insulators, and strange metals.

Strategic Partnerships

Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL)
The Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (CERL) is the Army Corps of Engineers' premiere Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC)  for developing technologies that provide high-quality facilities and realistic training lands to the Department of Defense (DoD). For more than 50 years, we’ve supported the Army’s ability to design, build, operate, and maintain its installations and contingency bases.

Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance
Since the founding of the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance in 2010, researchers from both institutions have collaborated on research projects, publications, patent disclosures, tools, and algorithms, and have helped to prepare more than 100 trainees for careers in biomedical research. The Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine and University of Illinois Grainger College of Engineering, Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute (IHSI), and National Center for Supercomputing Applications are leading the charge to identify global challenges and create solutions together.  

Sandia's Academic Programs
UIUC is one of a handful of academic partners that collaborate with Sandia National Laboratories through its Academic Programs and University Partnership Network. The program cultivates strategic and enduring institutional relationships, develops research collaborations and grows impacts, stimulates workforce development, and fuels the talent pipeline all in an effort to solve science and technology problems of national importance.

Campus Interdisciplinary Research Units (IRUs)

Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology
The Beckman Institute brings researchers from many disciplines together to collaborate which allows for scientific advances that couldn’t occur any other way. The institute is a community of scholars and a physical space meant to foster interdisciplinary collaboration, inspire bold scientific risk-taking, and nurture new ideas and discoveries. The institute was founded to reduce barriers between traditional science and technology disciplines in order to yield research advances that otherwise would not occur.

Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
The Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology is an interdisciplinary institute dedicated to transformative research and technology in life sciences using team-based strategies to tackle grand societal challenges. IGB tackles grand challenges in fundamental and applied research with genomics and multi-disciplinary team science. The IGB began at the dawn of the genomic era as the embodiment of a goal to centralize biological and biotechnological research at Illinois, a role that it continues to fulfill today as the largest comprehensive genomics institute in the country.

National Center for Supercomputing Applications
The National Center for Supercomputing Applications is a hub of transdisciplinary research and digital scholarship where researchers unite to address research grand challenges for the benefit of science and society. Current research focus areas include digital agriculture, bio and health sciences, earth and environment, astronomy, plus many more. The Center also provides integrated cyberinfrastructure—computing, software, data, networking, and visualization resources and expertise that are essential to the work of scientists, engineers, and scholars.

Prairie Research Institute (PRI)
The Prairie Research Institute benefits the people, economy, and environment of Illinois, delivering impact to every corner of the state. PRI staff apply scientific knowledge and data to develop solutions in geology, ecology and biodiversity, archaeology, water, weather and climate, pollution prevention, hazardous waste management, and sustainable energy.

Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE)
With the world population projected to increase to 8 billion by 2023—and to considerably more than that by 2100—the Institute is purposed to find solutions for the ever-growing demand for food, water, and energy while ensuring a safe, productive, and sustainable environment for all global citizens. iSEE's three-pronged approach—research, campus sustainability, and education and outreach—was created to do just that. The overarching goal: to become a global model of sustainability by creating effective, positive change.