September 21, 2017

Today UI LABS announced an award of $500,000 for its City Digital program from the U.S. Department of Commerce. The grant will accelerate regional innovators’ development of commercial solutions for global urban markets. Funding was awarded through the Economic Development Administration’s Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program.

“This funding fast-tracks City Digital’s ability to deliver commercial solutions to urban markets. The i6 Challenge award will support our innovation delivery engine, which brings together diverse stakeholders in the Chicago region to solve critical challenges with transformative technology,” said City Digital Executive Director Brenna Berman.

City Digital is a unique public-private partnership that uses Chicago as a testbed for massive data-driven technology improvements that enhance residents’ quality of life and the city’s efficiency. Pilot projects have included mapping the city’s underground infrastructure in 3D to prevent construction accidents, improving stormwater management to avoid flooding, and increasing energy efficiency in buildings.

“This grant will strengthen Chicago’s position as a global leader in using technology to deliver city services more effectively,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. “By partnering with City Digital we can drive new technologies that will create jobs and generate economic growth while improving quality of life for people across Chicago.”

42 organizations — including nonprofits, institutions of higher education, and entrepreneurship-focused organizations – from 28 states received over $17 million to create and expand proof-of-concept and commercialization programs or launch early-stage seed capital funds through RIS.

The Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE), housed within the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA), leads the RIS program to spur innovation capacity-building activities in regions across the nation.

“The Trump Administration is committed to strengthening U.S. production and exports, which are essential to our nation’s economic growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “These projects will enable entrepreneurs in communities across the United States to start new businesses, manufacture innovative products, and export them throughout the world – increasing America’s global competitiveness.”

This fourth cohort of awardees expands the RIS portfolio to eight new states and continues to build vibrant regional entrepreneurial economies. The awardees were selected from a pool of more than 217 applicants.

To learn more about the RIS program and awardee projects, visit eda.gov and the FAQs.

About UI LABS and City Digital
UI LABS is an innovation accelerator that leverages a network of hundreds of partners from university + industry, along with startups, government, and community groups, to address problems too big for any one organization to solve on its own. Our mission is to transform industries, starting with manufacturing and infrastructure, using digital technologies. We drive value for our partners and help make the U.S. economy and workforce the most productive in the world.

In 2015, UI LABS announced the formation of its second innovation platform, City Digital, which uses Chicago as a testbed for improvements in the areas of buildings and other physical infrastructure, water and sanitation, energy management, and mobility. Ongoing pilots include research to improve Chicago’s stormwater drainage system, which is frequently overloaded, and mapping Chicago’s underground to prevent construction work from disrupting utility service.

Contact Information
Katie Olson
(312) 281-6826