BUSINESS LEADERSHIP AWARD
Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation
University of Illinois System
Inaugural Interim Director
Discovery Partners Institute (DPI)
Edward Seidel is the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation for the University of Illinois System. The U of I System is the state’s largest and most comprehensive public university system with universities in Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield. The System’s three universities offer over 500 academic programs to more than 80,000 students. The System’s interactions with state, federal and local governments, and the private sector are significant and diverse. It is a $5.6 billion enterprise with an economic impact of almost $14 billion annually, and a sponsored research portfolio of nearly $1 billion.
As Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, Dr. Seidel works closely with the president of the U of I System to engage potential public and private partners and strengthen the links between higher education, research, and business to drive innovation and stimulate economic development across the state of Illinois. He oversees the System’s commercialization pipeline that helps bring ideas to market, which includes the Offices of Technology Management at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago; the early-stage technology investment firm, IllinoisVENTURES; EnterpriseWorks, the business incubator in Urbana-Champaign; and the U of I Research Park.
Seidel is an award-winning researcher with a long record of leadership experience that includes three years as director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana-Champaign, where he was among the original co-principal investigators for Blue Waters, a federally funded project that brought one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers to Urbana-Champaign. He is also a Founder Professor in the Department of Physics and a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Computer Science, and at the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) at Urbana-Champaign.
Prior to returning to the University of Illinois, Seidel served as the senior vice president for research and innovation for the MIT Skoltech Initiative at the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow. Previously, he directed the Office of Cyberinfrastructure and served as assistant director for Mathematical and Physical Sciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation. He also led the Center for Computation and Technology at Louisiana State University and directed the numerical relativity group at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) in Germany.
Seidel is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. His research has earned a number of awards, including the 2006 IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Gordon Bell prize, and the Heinz Billing Prize of the Max Planck Society. He received his PhD in relativistic astrophysics from Yale University, earned a master’s degree in physics at the University of Pennsylvania, and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from the College of William and Mary.