Vice president of economic development and innovation for the U of I system | eseidel@uillinois.edu

Prof. Edward Seidel is the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation (VPEDI) for the University of Illinois System. He is a distinguished academic and seasoned administrator with leadership experience developing and overseeing academic, research, and innovation programs at multiple universities and at the National Science Foundation. Seidel is a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has earned a number of awards, including the 2006 IEEE Sidney Fernbach Award, the Association for Computing Machinery’s 2001 Gordon Bell prize, and the 1998 Heinz Billing Prize of the Max Planck Society for his research, and the 2018 Business Leadership Award of the America-Israel Chamber of Commerce for his work in economic development. He is 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 the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation, Seidel oversees economic development and innovation activities that build on the U of I System’s education and research capacity. 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 89,000 students. The System is a $5.9 billion enterprise with an economic impact of more than $17 billion annually, and a sponsored research portfolio of nearly $1 billion, making it an incredible engine for economic growth for the state.

Seidel works closely with the president and senior leadership of the U of I System to build and support programs that engage university, 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. As VPEDI, Seidel spearheaded the creation of and oversees development of the Discovery Partners Institute and the Illinois Innovation Network, for which $500 million has been appropriated by the State of Illinois. He also oversees the System’s commercialization pipeline that helps bring ideas to market, which includes the Offices of Technology Management at Urbana-Champaign and Chicago; and the early-stage technology investment firm, IllinoisVENTURES, which has catalyzed over $1.7 billion in funding for companies. He formerly oversaw the U of I Research Park and the EnterpriseWorks business incubator in Urbana-Champaign, a thriving environment of over 2,000 students, staff and faculty from the university and over 110 companies, across 17 buildings.

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. Prior to returning to the University of Illinois in 2016, 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 led the Directorate of Mathematical and Physical Sciences as National Science Foundation Assistant Director. 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. He has supervised dozens of graduate students and postdocs in physics, astronomy, computer science, and other disciplines, and has published about 200 papers in professional journals.

He received his Ph. D. 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.