Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative

Engineering at Illinois combines rigor and a culture that embraces collaboration and approachability. The Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, launched with a $100 million gift from The Grainger Foundation in 2013, is perfectly suited to that distinctive culture. It focuses on bioengineering and big data, fields that grow from collaborative and multidisciplinary roots. But it also supports programs and people throughout the college.

The Grainger Initiative covers all the key elements that make us a truly elite program—people (faculty chairs and named professorships and undergraduate scholarships), world-class facilities, and support for research.

35 new professorships

The Grainger Initiative will devote a $40-million endowment to expanding the size and quality of Engineering at Illinois’ faculty. That will create 35 new chairs and professorships. About a dozen of those will be in bioengineering, and about a dozen will be in Big Data. The rest will be created throughout the College of Engineering in a variety of fields.

Our world-class faculty, students, and facilities offer the ideal environment for tackling grand societal challenges. Faculty are immersed in a community that encourages innovative ideas and inventive collaborations—with the commitment, infrastructure, and diverse talent to make it happen.


Illinois engineers created the world's most powerful supercomputer on a university campus, electronics that dissolve harmlessly in your body, new medical imaging technologies that allow doctors to biopsy cancer while still in surgery, and a more secure power grid. And we want the best students to learn problem-solving skills like those and take them out into the world.

With the help of a $30-million endowment from the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, large, renewable recruiting scholarships help students choose Illinois over a competing offer, and they help make college more affordable for students and their families. 

Support from the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative is at the heart of the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative. This initiative has raised more than $51 million and provides more than 800 scholarships per year.

Find out more about the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative and give now!

Everitt Lab rennovation

The Department of Bioengineering stands at a significant turning point in its history at the University of Illinois. As the need expands for breakthroughs in human health issues, the department's continued growth allows it to play an even greater role in producing those health-related accomplishments and supporting the people who make them happen.

The Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative enables this accelerated growth and provides foundational funds for the renovation of Everitt Laboratory as the new home to Bioengineering at Illinois. This centralized location will add cohesion to the research, teaching, operations and administration of the department. It allows Bioengineering to become even more collaborative and interdisciplinary, and it facilitates future accomplishments of translational and transformational medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Find out more about the rennovation of Everitt Laboratory and give now!

Research support

The Grainger Initiative creates an endowment to provide broad research support for high-impact engineering research collaborations. Bioengineering and big data are two prime areas, but all disciplines receive support through Engineering at Illinois’ Strategic Research Initiatives program.