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With so much still up in the air for House Republican leadership races, negotiations surrounding the federal budget situation seem to be on the backburner. Less than two months remain until the current Continuing Resolution expires, and Congress has just a few weeks left to address the debt limit.

Meanwhile, the University of Illinois continues to elevate its presence in DC and back in Illinois through events and interactions with the Illinois Congressional delegation and federal agencies.

NSF Leadership Visits Urbana for Research Center Kickoff; Tours NSF-Supported Projects

The Urbana campus was delighted to host two special visitors from the National Science Foundation this week—the NSF Director, Dr. France Córdova, as well as Dr. Pramod Khargonekar, the Assistant Director for NSF's Directorate for Engineering.

Vice Chancellor for Research Peter Schiffer led the NSF leadership team around various campus facilities to meet with researchers and students to see and hear first-hand about the progress and outcomes of NSF-funded research projects. During her first afternoon, Dr. Córdova stopped at the new Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) building to meet with faculty from the Coordinated Science Laboratory and ECE and then swung by the Micro and Nanotechnology Laboratory to do the same. 

The following morning, Dr. Córdova and Dr. Khargonekar started out at the National Petascale Computing Facility to see the NSF-supported Blue Waters supercomputer—one of the most powerful supercomputers in the world and the fastest supercomputer on a university campus. They then headed to the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) building to learn about other significant NCSA projects that NSF has invested in.

Before ultimately returning to DC, they participated in a roundtable discussion on technology transfer, economic development, and entrepreneurship with representatives from Urbana's Office of Technology Management, its Research Park, and Technology Entrepreneur Center.


The centerpiece of the NSF visit was to celebrate the launch of an $18.5 million Urbana-led Engineering Research Center, the Power Optimization for Electro-Thermal Systems (POETS). POETS' overarching objective will be to pack more power into less space for electrical systems. The ERC program is highly competitive—of the 198 proposals that were submitted, our ERC application was one of three selected for funding. 

VCR Schiffer emceed the ceremony, which featured remarks from UI President Tim Killeen, Illinois Rep. John Shimkus, Dr. Córdova, Dr. Khargonekar, and the POETS Director, Andrew Alleyne. Staff from the offices of Rep. Rodney Davis and Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk attended and joined the federal officials for a meet and greet beforehand.

Following the ceremony, POETS held a panel discussion to highlight the value added by collaborating with industry on the effort. The event concluded with poster displays and technology demonstrations.

Wounded Veterans Center Holds Ribbon-Cutting

Urbana recently held a formal dedication ceremony for its new Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education. The Center—which officially opened in August—is a national resource for student veterans with disabilities through its residential and non-residential support services.

In addition to university and campus leadership, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner and Rep. Rodney Davis delivered remarks during the program. Congressional staff from the offices of Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin as well as Rep. John Shimkus made it out to show their support. Sen. Mark Kirk also issued a press statement about the Center. 

"The University of Illinois has a long history of bringing our wounded veterans out of the dark. Beginning with innovator Tim Nugent and his curb cut, the campus has pioneered accessibility for Wounded Veterans. The Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education is the next step in U of I remaining the best choice for soldiers seeking higher education, like my Battle Buddy Garrett."

Killeen Lauds IL Science Champions, Discusses Economic Revitalization with EDA
via The Science Coalition 

UI President Timothy Killeen came to DC last week to participate in the Science Coalition's "Breakfast of Champions," a biennial event which honors Members of Congress who have received the "Champion of Science" award—an award bestowed upon Members who have demonstrated a strong commitment to scientific research. More than 170 people attended, including 13 Champions, Congressional staff, and university leaders and representatives from the higher education and scientific community. Three Illinois delegation members have been recognized with the "Champion of Science" award—Rep. Randy Hultgren, Rep. Dan Lipinski, and most recently, Sen. Dick Durbin. At this year's breakfast, President Killeen had the opportunity to introduce Rep. Lipinski and present him with his commemorative Wheaties ® box.

During that same trip, President Killeen also introduced himself to Rep. Jan Schakowsky and the Illinois delegation's newest member, Rep. Darin LaHood. President Killeen returned to DC the following week for another event and had a chance to meet with Matt Erskine, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development for the U.S. Economic Development Administration. President Killeen informed Matt about how UI is working to bolster economic development within the city of Chicago and across the entire state of Illinois.


Thank you,

Melissa Haas | Acting Director | OGR Federal Relations