UISCampusSPRINGFIELD – A new venture that will connect downtown and the nearby University of Illinois campus as part of a heralded statewide innovation network is an example of what’s possible when the state starts investing in its young people and their future, State Senator Andy Manar said today.

“Not only is this a step toward UIS having a more significant presence downtown – something local officials have discussed for years – it is the first of many incredible things to come for the capital city as a result of this project,” Manar said.

“I am pleased to have had role in making this a reality, and I look forward to watching the exciting changes that are about to unfold in Springfield.”

State, local and university officials are announcing this morning that the Innovate Springfield business incubator will become part of UIS, giving the university a significant downtown presence for the first time in its history.

In addition, UIS will become a hub of a statewide innovation network that is intended to connect universities and foster entrepreneurship in various fields. The network is a project of the University of Illinois-led Discovery Partners Institute, a center where faculty, students and companies will collaborate on research that leads to new products and businesses.

Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat who represents downtown Springfield in the state Senate, was instrumental in bringing the success of Innovate Springfield to the attention of University of Illinois leaders.

“This endeavor represents the same kind of resilience and can-do thinking that for 200 years has propelled Illinois to the top in agriculture, food sciences, computer technology, health care innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Manar, in a nod to the state’s bicentennial this year.

“Illinois can continue to blaze trails for the next 200 years, too. An earnest investment in our universities and colleges is an earnest investment in our young people, our workforce and our future.”

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