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University of Illinois System

University of Illinois System

On 23 June 2023, Cardiff University signed a new Strategic Partnership Agreement with the University of Illinois System (UI).

Our two institutions have developed close ties through the Discovery Partners Institute (DPI), UI’s interdisciplinary private-public research institute and hub of the Illinois Innovation Network in the heart of the City of Chicago.

The strategic partnership aims to strengthen joint research in key areas:

  • Energy systems and Net Zero emissions
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data science and artificial intelligence
  • Cancer research
  • Geo-sciences
  • Entrepreneurship and innovation
  • Water and prairie research
  • Journalism

The University of Illinois hosts 94,000 students across three campuses: Chicago, Springfield and Urbana Champaign. Providing the state’s largest system of higher education, UI has its own hospital, clinics, airport, research facilities and extension offices.

Partnership collaboration in all subject areas is welcomed; read on to explore how you can become involved.



Cardiff University joins Discovery Partners Institute



Strategic Partnership is signed



Inaugural Cardiff-Illinois Seed Grant Programme is launched

“The partnership underpins our world-leading ambitions, tackling issues of global importance captured in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The collaboration offers fantastic opportunities to bid for international collaborative funding through UK Research and Innovation’s partnership with the National Science Foundation, and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s work with the US Department of Defense.”
Professor Colin Riordan Former President and Vice-Chancellor

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the original 37 public land-grant institutions created after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862.

The university is in the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana (total population 207,000) in east-central Illinois. Situated about 140 miles south of Chicago, 125 miles west of Indianapolis, and 180 miles northeast of St. Louis.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has 29 Pulitzer Prize winners, and invented the first graphical web browser.

It has 56,000+ students from all 50 US states and over 100 countries.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has 15 Colleges and Instructional Units:

The University of Illinois Chicago is the city’s largest university and its only public Carnegie Research 1 institution.

Its 16 top-ranked colleges (including seven health sciences colleges and Chicago’s only public law school) serve more than 33,500 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.

UIC is recognized as one of the best public universities and one of the most ethnically rich and culturally diverse campuses in the nation.

Located in the heart of Chicago, it is an integral part of the educational, technological and cultural fabric of one of the world’s greatest cities.

Established in 1969 as Sangamon State University by the Illinois General Assembly. On July 1, 1995, became a campus of the University of Illinois, thereafter known as the University of Illinois Springfield.

UIS celebrates its diversity with a campus comprised of students and faculty of various ages, backgrounds, and ethnicity.

It has 4 Colleges: Business and Management; Health, Science and Technology; Liberal Arts and Social Sciences; Public Affairs and Education.

UIS has a total enrollment of over 4,500 students, 60 undergraduate programmes of study and 44 graduate programmes of study.

It produces approximately $7 million annually in research funding.

UIS is located in the Southeast side of Springfield, Illinois, near Lake Springfield. Approximately 200 miles southwest of Chicago and 100 miles northeast of St. Louis. Its campus stretches out over 746 acres.

The Discovery Partners Institute empowers people to jumpstart their tech careers or companies in Chicago.

Led by the University of Illinois System in partnership with top research universities, DPI does three things: train people for high-demand tech jobs, conduct applied R&D, and business building to grow Chicago’s tech ecosystem.

Discovery Partners Institute (DPI) is an interdisciplinary private-public research institute and hub of the Illinois Innovation Network. Cardiff is an Academic Member of DPI (since 2018) along with a small number of other international partners.

Cardiff's Interaction with DPI has already led to three applications to the US National Science Foundation and a successful seed grant from DPI on “Pathway to Net Zero” for electric vehicles in the Chicago area.

DPI is the anchor of a new neighborhood, in which 13 million square feet of office, retail, residential and hotel space has been mapped.

DPI’s facility includes:

  • Computational and engineering labs
  • Classrooms
  • Startup offices and labs
  • Meeting & event space
  • Public space

Partnership News

Find out how our partnership has enabled international collaboration for staff and students alike:

President Tim Killeen is announced as Honorary Fellow at Cardiff University

Awards given to individuals making a difference to society.

Two men look at the camera as they hold a strategic partnership document

Cardiff and Illinois sign Strategic Partnership

Universities join forces to build impact

Car exhaust fumes/Mygdarth gwacáu car

New £10m Global Centre in Clean Energy

Cardiff partner in new project to help reduce emissions from road transport

Cardiff University

Cardiff University joins Discovery Partners Institute

New partnership will develop collaboration on major research challenges and will foster entrepreneurship and student exchange.

“I’m delighted to sign this agreement in my home city. Growing up in Roath, education played a vital role in creating life-changing opportunities. Our partnership with Cardiff aims to generate similar career-defining chances that can transform lives. It will allow students, researchers and staff from both our institutions to collaborate closely across areas of joint expertise: from engineering and physical sciences to healthcare, journalism and environmental science.”
Professor Tim Killeen UI System President

University of Illinois System Collaboration Funds

Through the strategic partnership, two types of funds have been established to support the development of the Strategic Partnership between Cardiff University and the University of Illinois System, across common areas of research, teaching and education.

There are two available funds that staff may apply for through the University of Illinois’ online application systems:

  1. Joint Research and Innovation Seed Grant
  2. Travel Grant

Further information about how to apply can be found on the staff intranet.

“Partnering with UI creates great opportunities for all students and researchers to participate in impactful international experiences. It supports our commitment to ‘global opportunities’ for our students, enabling them to study in an international setting or gain international experience during their studies. Working with UI will allow us to expand the reach of our research, particularly through our Innovation Campus."
Professor Rudolf Allemann Pro Vice-Chancellor, International

Get in touch

For inquiries relating to the strategic partnership with the University of Illinois, please contact:

International Partnerships Engagement Manager

Sophie Lewis