ISTC Illinois Science & Technology Coalition

About the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition

The Illinois Science & Technology Coalition (ISTC) harnesses the power of research and innovation to grow the state’s economy. We are a member-driven, non-profit entity that drives public-private partnerships between industry, research universities, federal labs and government to increase research and technology-based investment, talent, awareness and job growth in Illinois.

Our Role

The ISTC drives the state’s innovation economy forward through our role as a convener, catalyst and champion for Illinois businesses, research institutions and government.


We are an impartial intermediary and matchmaker providing a neutral link between public and private entities around areas of common interest—including uniting diverse groups and expertise around federal funding opportunities, driving sector-driven priorities and managing Governor Quinn’s Innovation Council to facilitate new ideas and collaborations.


We incubate ideas and implement projects across technology sectors, including energy and sustainability; health innovation; advanced manufacturing; civic innovation, and cross-cutting areas, such as STEM education and links between corporations and the entrepreneurial community.


We celebrate Illinois’ innovation ecosystem, raising awareness and visibility for Illinois’ diverse research and technology community, including creating resources for innovators, analyzing growth opportunities and key innovation metrics, and
advocating for state and federal policies that enhance our community’s development and success.

Our History

The ISTC was authorized by state statute in 1989 as Illinois’ technology adviser and economic development partner. With support from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and our members, we are charged with tapping the state’s vast research and development community to advance Illinois as a regional, national and global innovation leader. The ISTC—formerly known as the Illinois Coalition—is located in 1871, a technology hub in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

Our Impact

The ISTC strengthens the Illinois innovation ecosystem by cultivating increased research and investment capital, innovative ideas and partnerships, awareness, sound policies and top talent.


Helping to attract federal research dollars to Illinois and direct state funds, including:

  • $120 million Department of Energy Joint Center on Energy Storage Research (JCESR) Hub at Argonne to advance new breakthroughs in battery technology
  • $72.5 million as part of the 2011 Energy Infrastructure Modernization Act to invest in emerging energy technologies and empower consumers to better access the smart grid
  • $10 million Illinois Manufacturing Laboratory to boost the competitiveness of Illinois manufacturers by lowering barriers to cutting edge technologies

Ideas & Partnerships

Incubating new ideas and implementing projects, including:

  • The Corporate-Startup Challenge, a pilot initiative linking five leading Illinois corporations with the state’s entrepreneurs and emerging enterprises for mutual benefit
  • Strengthening public access and use of government information through the Illinois Open Technology Challenge, which sparked the creation of civic-minded apps and digital tools in four pilot communities across Illinois
  • Shedd Aquarium’s Master Energy Plan, a national model for energy efficiency in civic institutions, which will allow the Aquarium to reduce its energy use by 50 percent by 2020


Generating visibility, celebrating successes, and providing educational tools and resources for the state’s research and technology community, including:

  • The Illinois Innovation Network website (, a first-of-its kind statewide portal for innovation resources and data across Illinois—listing more than 425 tools and resources for innovators
  • The Illinois Innovation Index online publication, which measures and benchmarks Illinois’ performance across innovation inputs
  • ISTC Catalyst, a monthly publication that highlights the state’s diverse technology strengths and growth opportunities


Advocating for sound policies and programs at the state and federal level that have a positive impact on the state’s science and technology development, including:

  • The successful extension of the state’s R&D Tax Credit and implementation of the Angel Investment Tax Credit
  • Assisting in the reauthorization of the America COMPETES Act, including the Regional Innovation Program
  • Hosting regular events, roundtables and briefings for government leaders and elected officials in Springfield and D.C. on key R&D topics


Cultivating a deeper STEM talent pipeline in Illinois:

  • The Illinois Science & Technology Institute (ISTI) is the ISTC’s 501(c)(3) affiliate focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and discovery
  • The ISTI runs the R&D STEM Learning Exchange, part of the state’s Illinois Pathways initiative, a public-private effort to better connect students to careers in STEM fields which includes the participation of more than 40 cross-sector partners
  • In its 2013-14 pilot year, the R&D Learning Exchange aims to impact more than 250 students across 15 high schools and engage 300 mentors, which will increase and enhance inquiry-based learning experiences to enable greater career exploration and degree production in R&D fields

Download the ISTC Fact Sheet here.