Two-week “Digital Rebirth” program will focus on the digital economy, sustainability, and the crossroads of digital manufacturing, smart cities, and energy

As part of our mission to retain tech talent in Chicago, we have partnered with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to co-host the 5th Annual Summer Institute for Sustainability and Energy (SISE), a two-week intensive program held August 6-18, 2015.

Over 30 doctoral, masters, and senior-level undergraduate students and recent graduates, representing 13 different academic and research institutions, will explore topics under this year’s theme, “Digital Rebirth.”  Academic institutions represented include University of California, Berkeley, Stanford University, Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Chicago, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and eight others.

Participants will address the coming smart era as a result of digital integration, exploring the crossroads of digital manufacturing, smart cities and energy through applications such as the smart grid and connected vehicles. Some of this year’s expert speakers on these topics include Brenna Berman, City of Chicago’s Chief Innovation Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology, Adam Hecktman of Microsoft, and Sonny Garg of Uptake, among others.   

“The world is experiencing a dramatic shift in technology,” said Caralynn Nowinski, Chief Executive Officer of UI LABS. “From the development of more sustainable forms of energy, to the increase of digital manufacturing technology, we now have the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines to solve global problems with advanced solutions. Partnering with UIC on the SISE Program allows UI LABS to encourage sustainable energy innovation, showcase Chicago’s growing technology ecosystem, and develop a new generation of researchers who will deliver these solutions to the world.” 

UI LABS is a natural partner for us, given their research-driven mission to bring together large organizations in the public and private sector to tackle some of today’s biggest societal issues using next generation technology,” said George Crabtree, Director of the UIC Energy Initiative and Director of the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory. “Together, SISE and UI LABS will encourage future leaders to think in new ways and create innovative digital tools to address tomorrow’s challenges.”

The SISE 2015 Program is made possible by the support of headlining sponsor Lockheed Martin, in addition to its partnering universities and organizations: Argonne National Laboratory, Clean Energy Trust, Northwestern University’s Institute for Sustainability and Energy (ISEN), Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Environmental Sustainability (IES) and Illinois Institute of Technology’s Wanger Institute for Sustainable Energy Research (WISER).

“Lockheed Martin and the SISE Program are addressing important questions on digital manufacturing and the role it now plays for industries worldwide,” said Steve Betza, Director of Advanced Manufacturing and Development at Lockheed Martin. “We see the program as an opportunity to leverage the creativity of talented students to work on problems that are relevant to our business and the complex challenges being faced by our customers.”

“To solve the industrial problems of tomorrow, whether in our manufacturing processes or infrastructure systems, organizations will need to become ‘smarter,’” said Nowinski. “SISE is designed to foster an understanding of the issues we will face – understanding that will lead to smarter and more valuable advancements for businesses, governments and academic institutions alike.”

UI LABS is working with partner institutions to engage students in its applied research programs, with several occurring throughout summer and fall of 2015. Additionally in the month of August, UI LABS will host the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) iVenture Accelerator, which supports 13 student startups that represent 33 entrepreneurs within seven different colleges in UIUC.

UI LABS’ first Lab, The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), will be launching ‘Digital Days’ this fall. The program, which will bring in middle and high school students for STEM educational learning, will be focused on the technical elements of digital manufacturing. DMDII is partnering with community groups and local schools to raise awareness of manufacturing as a viable career path in the 21st century.

For additional information on the SISE Program, visit the SISE website at sise.uic.edu.