The University of Illinois System, its Office of the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation (OVPEDI), and Northern Illinois University are committed to advancing the Illinois Innovation Network (IIN) by providing supplemental (operational) funding for several projects. IIN members are guided by the following principles:

  • Drive inclusive innovation, equitable workforce development, and sustainable economic growth throughout the state of Illinois
  • Assess and meet regional needs through a combination of collaborative research, public-private partnerships, and entrepreneurship and training programs
  • Collaborate with hubs across the state and share best practices
  • Advocate for the value of higher education at the state and national levels

IIN hubs are encouraged to partner/collaborate with each other and the IIN will do its best to support and facilitate. As an organization, the IIN Council will facilitate collaboration that can be incorporated into a unifying theme with the umbrella concept of “Sustaining Illinois.” Sustaining Illinois has multiple meanings, including the broad economic, health-related, and social well-being of the state and its communities, and the environmental sustainability of its food and water ecosystem, which includes addressing issues affecting groups who are underserved, under-represented, or under-resourced.

Within Sustaining Illinois, several important elements need to be considered:

  • Education and Workforce Development: developing and sustaining the education of its citizens and developing a productive and inclusive workforce for the 21st century;
  • Economic Development: sustaining and developing the economy of the state, including understanding how best to support the growth of diverse entrepreneurship and business formation in Illinois;
  • Health and Wellness: sustaining and improving the general health and social wellness of all Illinois citizens, including local and regional
  • Water, Food, and Agriculture: sustaining the water supply, with 20% of the world’s freshwater supply in the shores of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin, the largest in the US and 2nd largest in the world, and enhancing the home to a national leader in food and agriculture; and
  • Computing and Data: under the umbrella of Sustaining Illinois, there is a foundation of computing, big data, and artificial intelligence. This is an important area in its own right as Illinois develops its high- tech industry, but in this context, it is seen as an enabler for all other aspects of sustainability as articulated above.


  • Lead PI must be from an IIN Hub in their IIN hub role
  • At least two IIN hubs must be involved significantly in the project
  • Project must represent a “seed” concept not previously funded by the IIN Sustaining Illinois Program or in later stages of project development, regardless of “seed” funding source
  • The project must be completed within one year of funding
  • Previously submitted but unfunded projects may be submitted a maximum of 3 times in a three-year period

In addition, if you received an award from this program in 2020 or 2021, describe the accomplishments of that project. Many 2020 projects were granted extensions; provide an estimate of the project’s completion including which milestones have been achieved and when you expect to finish the work.

Applications for new awards must be for a totally different project or a meaningfully distinct component of the one that was already supported. This section will not be included in the 3-page project description/scope of work page limit and can be on a separate page.

Awarding of funding for projects will be considered according to the following criteria:

  • Sustaining Illinois must be the dominant
  • Proposals addressing multiple sustainability elements are
  • Equity, diversity, and inclusion must be addressed in proposals. Key issues facing underserved, under-represented, and under-resourced groups should be identified and addressed. The target populations or representative group(s) must be specifically identified. Additional information is located in the
  • The project name, scope of work, budget, and timeline must be provided. See attached document for additional
  • The number of IIN hubs involved and the significance of their individual participation must be identified.The number of non-IIN hubs institutions or organizations and their limited role must be


Total funding will likely not exceed $120,000 and this funding will likely be limited to no more than

$100,000 from the University of Illinois System office in FY 2022 and $20,000 from Northern Illinois University during this same time frame.

  • Up to $30,000 will be available for each project. A match of at least 50% is strongly encouraged. Matching funds may be in the form of cash, personnel time, or unrecovered indirect
  • No more than 30% of the requested funds may pay for full-time researchers’/professors’ salaries and
  • No indirect costs will be
  • Funds will be advanced on a fixed price


  • Upon completion of the project, a written report must be submitted electronically to the University of Illinois System
  • Interim reports and information must be submitted upon
  • Lead PI and Co-PIs commit to present their project to the IIN and to participate in related IIN events as
  • Lead PI and Co-PIs commit to acknowledge IIN in outcomes and


Proposals need to be submitted to by April 25, 2022. Any questions should be submitted to prior to the deadline.

A review committee consisting of members of the IIN, including its Council, Committees, and OVPEDI or IIN staff, as needed, will evaluate all proposals received and will make recommendations to the University of Illinois Vice President of Economic Development and Innovation for funding. No IIN member will review submissions or make recommendations on proposals from its own hub.

Recipients of the awards will be notified no later than June 6, 2022.

Illinois Innovation Network Supplemental Funding Guidelines Sustaining Illinois

Proposal Outline

  1. Cover page (Project Name, Lead Researcher with contact information, Co-Investigators with contact information)
  2. Sustaining Illinois Abstract (no more than 250 words)
  3. Project Description (no more than 2 pages, single-spaced, 12 font)
  4. Scope of Work (no more than 1 page, single-spaced, 12 font) – note that only page 1 will be read from any submissions of longer than 1 page
  5. If applicable, results from previous award and distinction of the current proposal from previous award (no more than 1 page, single-spaced, 12 font)
  6. Describe the potential for future work and sources of follow-up funding (no more than one-half page)
  7. Team bios (no more than a one-half page per team member)
  8. Budget (if matching funds, include here, no more than 2 pages, single-spaced, 12 font). Refer to the budget template on the following –


CategoryFunding Request *Match Provided
A. Personnel
B. Fringe Benefits
C. Travel
D. Equipment
E. Supplies
F. Other* (Specify)
G. Total

Provide a written summary of the budget:

  1. Personnel:
  2. Fringe Benefits:
  3. Travel:
  4. Equipment:
  5. Supplies:
  6. Other (Must be specific):
  7. Match (Detail all sources):
  8. *Funding for UIUC, UIC, or UIS (specify recipient and amount):

*Please note if any funding will be directed to the University of Illinois Chicago, University of Illinois Springfield, or the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign regardless of role in the project or the A- G line item.

Illinois Innovation Network Scoring Matrix for Supplemental Funding

The chart below identifies the area of review and total points maximum for each area of review. In addition, the strengths and weaknesses will be identified for each proposal.

Proposal SectionEvaluation Points*Total Max PointsTotal Score**
A. Project and activity alignment with IIN principles (equity)20
B. Project addresses Sustaining Illinois area(s)20
C. Scope of work20
D. Collaboration component with other hubs and/areas throughout Illinois10
E. Budget/Matching Funds10
F. Demonstrates potential for further work20

*Evaluation Points 1=lowest, 20=highest

**Total Score = Evaluation Points


Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Focus:

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion discussion should address at least one of the under-represented, underserved, and under-resourced groups, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Women
  • Rural Residents
  • People of Color
  • Individuals with Disabilities – both cognitive and physical
  • Veterans
  • Justice-impacted Populations
  • Immigrant Populations
  • LGBTQ Community
  • Homeless and Homeless Youth
  • Low-Income and Lower-Income Individuals
  • Foster Care Youth and Alumni
  • Migrant and Seasonal Workers
  • Recipients of public assistance
  • Individuals who are basic skills deficient

Intersectional approaches and groups should be identified specifically.