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Illini Science Policy program seeks hosts, advanced-degree grads for 2023 collaboration

URBANA, Ill. – Improving public policy to meet the needs of underserved communities requires developing a deep understanding of the specific economic, environmental, and social challenges those communities face.

The Illini Science Policy Program, administered by University of Illinois Extension, offers a unique partnership that matches qualified University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign graduates with public agency or legislative office hosts in Illinois to learn about and engage with those community challenges.

Working with both their host agency and an Illinois Extension mentor, awardees will develop and advance projects that address solutions and policy decisions in the areas of food, economy, environment, community, and health for diverse Illinois communities.

“The Illini Science Policy Program allows UIUC graduates to see firsthand how the work of state agencies or legislative offices impact the communities of Illinois, especially those which historically are underserved and underrepresented," says Evangeline S. Pianfetti, director of the Illini Science Policy Program. “Scholars in our program see the intersection between public service and public policy and how the application of knowledge and expertise impacts households in diverse and life-changing ways.”

Hosts may include local, state, and federal agencies and legislative offices in Illinois. Host applications for the 2023 program year are due by Feb. 18:

Qualified scholars must be recent UIUC graduates with advanced degrees who will draw from the latest advances at University of Illinois’ flagship campus to provide substantial professional contributions to host and Extension projects over a 12-month paid appointment.

Scholar applications for the 2023 program year will be open from Feb. 21 to Mar. 8:

Illinois Extension provides administration of the program appointments, as well as a 50 percent match for appointment costs. For questions and program information, contact Pianfetti at

The Illini Science Policy Program is supported by University of Illinois Office of the Provost Investment for Growth Program, participating host offices, University of Illinois Office of Government Relations, and PepsiCo.

Past agency partners include: Illinois Board of Higher Education (2021); Illinois Department of Agriculture, Meat and Poultry Division (2020); Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Broadband (2020, 2021); and Illinois Department of Innovation and Technology, Education Group (2020)

Past legislative partners include: Illinois Legislative Black Caucus / Black Caucus Foundation (2020,2021); Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus / Latino Caucus Foundation (2020, 2021); and Illinois Office of the Lieutenant Governor (2021)

ABOUT EXTENSION: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.

SOURCE: Evangeline S. Pianfetti, Outreach Associate, University of Illinois Extension and University of Illinois Government Relations