Governor Pat Quinn proclaimed today "Innovation Day" in Illinois while hosting an annual innovation forum at the Executive Mansion. Today's action is part of Governor Quinn's agenda to foster innovation and drive Illinois' economy forward. Innovation Day brings together the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC), the Illinois Innovation Council and members of the General Assembly to discuss the state's progress in today's growing innovation marketplace.
"Innovation is essential to driving the Illinois economy forward," Governor Quinn said. "Innovation Day brings together the best minds in our state to make sure Illinois remains at the forefront of emerging markets and continues to create 21st century jobs."
In 2011, Governor Quinn created the Illinois Innovation Council to identify and advance strategies that accelerate innovation, economic growth and job creation. Comprised of representatives from the state's leading research universities, federal labs and some of the most innovative corporations and entrepreneurs, the council connects public and private thought leaders to foster innovation in Illinois.
The Illinois Innovation Council has helped the governor further his commitment to increasing government transparency through the Illinois Open Data Initiative. The initiative is an innovative use of data and technology to support entrepreneurial activities like the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, which is offering $75,000 in prize money for developers who make apps using available government data for civic good.
The council also publishes the Illinois Innovation Index, a monthly report on important metrics in Illinois' innovation ecosystem. The Index benchmarks those metrics against neighboring and peer states in order to ensure Illinois remains competitive.
"Illinois' world class research institutions, federal laboratories and leading technology-driven corporations are driving the state's position as a national and global innovation hub," Mark Harris, president and CEO of the ISTC said. "Governor Quinn's commitment to supporting innovative public-private partnerships and greater entrepreneurial activity in Illinois is laying the groundwork for economic growth in key sectors."
In 2012, Governor Quinn invested $5 million through his Illinois Jobs Now! capital construction plan to help build the state-of-the-art Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (JCESR), where the R&D firepower of five U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories, five universities and four private firms will be combined in an effort to achieve revolutionary advances in battery performance.
Governor Quinn is also expanding innovation through entrepreneurship in Illinois by investing in emerging fields and supporting start-ups. He was an early supporter and investor in 1871, Chicago's nationally-renowned tech hub, and worked to help take the center from planning stages to a reality.