Student Open House at Research Park
By Noah Malmed, Computer Science '15
The Illinois campus is a really big place. There are all kinds of nooks and crannies that the average four-year undergraduate student never gets a chance to see.
Most students kind of just stick to where they need to be for class.
Even I, in my eighth semester on campus, have never paid a visit to the facility tucked away in the southwest corner of campus known as Research Park.
Research Park exists to help professors commercialize their research. For example, say a professor, through their research, figures out a new way to protect PCs from malicious attacks. Research Park provides an area for that professor to develop that technology into an actual product and to create a business around the technology.
To learn more about Research Park, I went to the Student Open House event this past Thursday (10/22).
The tour started in the EnterpriseWorks building, which is the University’s tech incubator.
This building was really interesting because it not only provided offices for small companies to work, but they also provided lab space for more science-oriented companies.
I learned that the combined venture capital of all of the startups there is $9,000,000, which is one of the highest concentrations of venture capital in the world.
Going on from there, we toured some of the buildings in the park. There are currently twenty buildings (with another currently being built) in the park, so we couldn’t visit them all.
The first building we visited was Yahoo’s building. This building, which is the newest building in Research Park (it opened this year), serves as the main hub for Yahoo!'s advertising analysis.
On the tour of the building, I was told that the facility hires a ton of U of I graduates. They brought in thirty new U of I hires last year.
Not all buildings in Research Park are like Yahoo!'s though. Some, like the Atkins Building, host many small offices.
The Atkins building includes offices for companies such as Grainger, Abbot, Anheuser-Busch and AbbVie, which has an office almost solely comprised of interns.
Above: Yahoo! Building in Research Park, tour group on the right
If you are curious to see exactly what companies are located at Research Park, check out their directory here.
Scrolling down the list, it’s kind of shocking to see how many companies are in Research Park. There are the big names like Caterpillar and Grainger, but also smaller like the Common Grounds publishing (the creators of Scholar).
Also, for students looking for internships, there are always opportunities at Research Park. There are jobs ranging from Engineering to Finance, and for everyone from first-year undergraduates to Ph.D.’s.