CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Feb. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign announced today that Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), a St. Louis-based Fortune 500 energy company, has opened an Innovation Center on campus. Ameren is the first major energy company to open an office at the University of Illinois Research Park.
The Ameren Innovation Center will collaborate with university students and faculty and other companies across multiple industries at the Research Park. The goal is to foster an exploratory environment that focuses on innovations to help Ameren better meet the future needs of its customers.
"By establishing an innovative and collaborative work center at a world-class research university with access to top students and faculty, we can better leverage information technology to seize business opportunities and improve our customer satisfaction," said Mary Heger, vice president of Information Technology and Ameren Services Center and chief information officer, Ameren Services. "We also hope to develop a talent pipeline to help us continue to build a skilled workforce. This is important as we transition to smart grid technologies and explore future new energy services that may be wanted and needed by our customers."
The Center is hiring for several positions and eventually plans to employ up to 12 students. Undergraduate and graduate students across disciplines will work on a part-time basis on projects ranging from data analytics and mobile applications to projects that focus on the needs of the utility of the future. Some of these projects will leverage Ameren Illinois' Technology Application Center in Champaign, an on-grid testing facility for smart grid technologies that opened in August 2013. A full-time Ameren site manager will supervise the students and serve as liaison between the Innovation Center and the University of Illinois.
"The Ameren Innovation Center will give our students the opportunity to work on smart energy solutions for the Midwest and beyond," said Chancellor Phyllis Wise. "Such real-world experiences are examples of the transformative educational opportunities at Illinois that grow from our leadership in engineering, computing and energy."
The Research Park, located on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign, provides an opportunity for technology-based businesses to collaborate with students and faculty. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's College of Engineering is among the highest ranked in the nation, and is a highly sought after as a partner for pursuing information security for the energy industry.
About the Research Park at the University of Illinois
Since its founding in 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has earned a reputation as a world-class leader in research, teaching, and public engagement. The Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign provides an environment where technology-based businesses can work with faculty and students at Illinois to take advantage of opportunities for collaborative research and easy access to University labs, equipment, and services. The Research Park is home to more than 90 companies and growing, employing over 1,500 people in high-technology careers. At any given time, more than 450 student interns are gaining valuable work experience while making real contributions to internal corporate R&D and product development programs. Publicly-traded firms in the Research Park include: AB InBev, AbbVie, ADM, Abbott Laboratories, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Dow Chemical, Littelfuse, Raytheon, Riverbed, Citrix, State Farm, and Yahoo.
St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric delivery and transmission service as well as natural gas delivery service while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of 10,300 megawatts, and natural gas delivery service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops regional electric transmission projects. Follow the company on Twitter @AmerenCorp. For more information, visit Ameren.com.
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SOURCE Ameren Corporation