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Fostering Innovation

NIU Engagement Database

NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development puts university resources to work in support of innovative products and practices in business and industry, education, municipal government, and health care.

Broadband Technology Leadership

NIUNet is a 2,200 mile high-speed fiber-optic network built by NIU in collaboration with Illinois communities and their anchor institutions like village halls, school districts, libraries and hospitals. 

NIUNet was originally a proof-of-concept initiative for collaboration between public and private partners. Since September 2004, NIU has led the development of several regional fiber optic networks valued at over $120M in federal/state/local grants and other funding sources. 

The unique NIUNet model has stimulated economic development and created one of the most robust broadband communities in the nation. 

NIUNet

iFiber is a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program funded grant to NIU serving a nine-county region

DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority is a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program funded grant for DeKalb County

Illinois Rural HealthNet is a Federal Communications Commission funded grant for the development of high-speed networks for healthcare in rural Illinois areas

Northern Illinois Technology Triangle is a State of Illinois funded network for economic development in counties west of Chicago

Illinois Municipal Broadband Communications Association is a locally funded network cooperative for municipal interconnectivity and economic development

TriLightNet is a local hospital funded medical network for health information exchange and health care

South Suburban Mayors & Managers Association is a network for business, education and local government

Technology

New Media

Developing full-body motion interactive video games for schools and literacy labs
http://www.dcl.niu.edu/index.php/labs/experiential-learning-lab/79-picodroid-full-body-physics

Creating immersive 3 dimensional worlds and games for learning
http://www.dcl.niu.edu/index.php/labs/experiential-learning-lab/135-ashfall

Combining interaction, presentation, and fun through interactive window displays
http://www.dcl.niu.edu/index.php/labs/virtual-world-lab/151-window

Innovative, interdisciplinary projects raise K-12 literacy with arts and technology
http://www.niu.edu/p20/projects/ltcy/index.shtml


Business & Science

Partnering with national labs and regional incubators to accelerate the pace of innovation.

Operating unique cancer-treatment center at Fermilab
http://www.neutrontherapy.niu.edu/neutrontherapy/therapy/index.shtml

Exposing high school students to high-energy physics at Argonne National Lab
http://www.niu.edu/PubAffairs/RELEASES/2008/june/quarknet.shtml

Helping small-to-medium-size businesses develop new products at Rockford's EigerLab incubator
http://www.eigerlab.org/partners.html

Business and Science

Education

Combining technology and expertise to improve teaching and raise student achievement
http://www.niu.edu/p20

Tracking student and school performance in popular online database
http://www.illinoisreportcard.com

Partnering with local districts to build professional development schools
http://niu.edu/pds/

Innovative, interdisciplinary projects raise K-12 literacy with arts and technology
http://www.niu.edu/p20/projects/ltcy/index.shtml

Education

Big Data

Mining giant data sets to improve decision-making and empower average citizens.

Creating web-based tools for individualized classroom instruction
http://www.niutoday.info/2012/05/09/innovative-big-data-web-based-tool-creates-basis-for-individualized-classroom-instruction/

Providing policymakers with statewide and regional perspectives on key issues
http://www.cgsniu.org/

Big Data

Health

Enhancing patient care with 21st Century information systems.

Creating a high-speed, 1,000-mile fiber optic network connecting rural hospitals & clinics throughout Illinois
http://www.niu.edu/irhn/

Facilitating the electronic exchange of patient records across healthcare settings
http://www.ilhitrec.org/ilhitrec/

Helping rural healthcare providers with strategic planning, grant development and management support
http://www.niu.edu/ruralhealth/index.shtml

Health

Aerospace

First year of Rockford aerospace program yields big results

Helping the Rockford area develop as a center of aerospace excellence
http://www.niutoday.info/2011/09/23/higher-education-economic-development-team-wins-2-4-million-for-local-aerospace-industry/

Providing "engineers in residence" to assist aerospace manufacturers
http://www.niu.edu/raaap/business/index.shtml

Helping Rockford grow workforce capacity for the aerospace industry
http://www.niutoday.info/2012/05/23/niu-joins-rockford-leaders-in-effort-to-boost-pipeline-of-local-areospace-talent-good-jobs/

Aerospace