Innovation and Impact


Innovation and Impact

One of the world’s premier research universities, the University of Chicago helps lead the country in scientific and technological innovation in part through its management of two U.S. Department of Energy laboratories. UChicago’s tradition of intensive research and inquiry has led to discoveries that include the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, carbon-14 dating, and groundbreaking thinking in nearly every field. The University has contributed this expertise as the prime contractor for Argonne National Laboratory since the lab’s founding in 1946 and as co-contractor with the Universities Research Association for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) since 2007.

With more than 65 years’ experience managing national laboratories, the University of Chicago helps ensure the nation’s security and prosperity through transformative science and technology.

In its stewardship of these labs, UChicago has significant impact on research and innovation in the region.

From 2007 to 2013, UChicago supported Argonne and Fermilab with:

  • $15 million in direct investments
  • $6 million to joint UChicago-Argonne institutes and centers
  • $6.5 million for collaborative seed grants, which led to an additional $9.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to support this high-impact work
  • $3+ million for joint appointments, recruitments, and other supporting investments
  • $1.7+ million in leadership training
  • $4.5 million in UChicago scholarships and tuition remission to children of lab employees

UChicago also helped Fermilab and Argonne secure:

  • $55 million in-state funding for new lab facilities
  • $35 million direct financial support from UChicago and its partners combined from 2007 to 2013


Argonne and Fermilab have a significant impact on the Illinois economy. Through their innovative research, technological advancements, and programming to support science education, the laboratories attract visitors, funding, and jobs to the state.

For more information and statistics on the labs’ economic impact in Illinois, download:


UChicago leverages its resources and relationships to promote the labs’ missions and to create scientific and economic growth. The University garners support for Argonne and Fermilab through its relationships with community, city, academic, and business leaders, as well as by educating federal policymakers about the labs’ scientific advancements. Through its Federal Relations office, UChicago has worked to restore and sustain U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science funding.

Many UChicago-led initiatives unite academic, industry, and government partners to advance national innovation, including:

Midwest Energy Forum
Chicago Innovation Mentors
Chicago Innovation Exchange
UChicago Innovation Fund
Clean Energy Challenge
New Venture Challenge

By building the bridge between research and application, UChicago creates a climate of regional collaboration and facilitates groundbreaking science and technology that benefits the nation.