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Damian Rico

CHICAGO — The University of Illinois is proposing a new public-private innovation center near downtown Chicago that would partner the Urbana-Champaign campus with Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.

Gov. Bruce Rauner backs the University of Illinois-led Discovery Partners Institute, which would be built in Chicago's South Loop neighborhood. The partnership, which would focus on an array of fields such as computing, food and agriculture, and health and wellness, is to be officially announced Thursday, the Chicago Tribune reported .

The center is intended to bring together faculty, students and companies to collaborate on research and turn it into new products and companies, University of Illinois president Timothy Killeen said. The University of Illinois wants to recruit 90 new faculty members and up to 1,800 students to the center, he said.

"It's an attempt to really take advantage of the assets that the state and the city have to accelerate economic development and to provide opportunities for our students to stay in the state and for innovations to flow into our economy," Killeen said.

However, the newspaper reports that details are lacking regarding the project's funding, including how much it would receive in state money and how much has been committed in private money.

Rauner said he wants to see Illinois' top universities work together to foster entrepreneurship and innovation in Chicago. Rauner also said part of the reason he wanted to run for governor was to advance this vision from Springfield.

No opening date has been set but the center would be located on land along the Chicago River donated by the development company Related Midwest.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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