CHICAGO — City and state officials are endorsing the University of Illinois' plans for a multimillion-dollar research institute that backers say has the potential to drive economic growth in the region.

The idea for UI Labs — an institute with an anticipated $100 million research portfolio and hundreds of researchers and students in its early years — has been percolating over the last year.

The News-Gazette first reported in October the university's plans for the institute, and members of the UI Board of Trustees and faculty leaders have been briefed on the concept in recent months, but Thursday will be the first time trustees will hear about it as a group in public. The occasion will mark an unofficial launch for the project.

Read more at the News-Gazette.