Industry Networks Day

Enhancing interactions between industry and academia

Industry Networks Day 2024 will focus on what efforts on sustainability look like in Chicagoland and elsewhere, some of the research going on at the University of Chicago and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering in the sustainability space, and the different ways innovation ecosystems can be leveraged for mutual benefit. Panel discussions and talks on different ecosystems and how they might work together - and the opportunities to engage for creative innovation - will lead to new and interesting networking.

Industry Networks Day is meant to provide high-level and inspirational discussion, illuminating pathways to partnerships to better take advantage of collective resources and talent. This meeting will highlight some of these aspects and encourage strategic thinking and tactical planning to maintain a competitive edge.

Industry Networks Day is sponsored by the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC). Corporate sponsors are shown below.

  • Date: Sept 11 (poster session and industry/faculty reception) and Sept 12th (full event)
  • Time: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm with options for small group dinners after the event to continue discussions
  • Location: UChicago campus, Eckhardt Research Center (5640 S. Ellis Ave, Chicago, IL 60637)
  • Parking: Visitor parking available at Campus North (Ellis) Garage. View rates and more options on the Safety and Security website.


Italian Trulli

Jag Alexeyev

Jag advises firms on ESG investing, sustainability, and climate strategies. He has been a consultant to asset management executives for more than two decades, enabling business expansion and product innovation. Most recently, he served as Head of ESG Insights for Broadridge Financial Solutions. Previously, he founded Impactvesting LLC, a research consultancy focused on sustainable investments and global fund distribution.

He also collaborated with the Global Footprint Network on their Finance for Change initiative, leading a working group of institutional investors to develop carbon footprint methodologies in sovereign debt. In addition, Jag advised FFI Solutions on developing solutions to reduce carbon and stranded asset risks in investment portfolios.

Earlier in his career, Jag was head of global research and consulting at Strategic Insight, a fund intelligence provider that was acquired by Institutional Shareholder Services (IIS), which is now majority-owned by Deutsche Börse Group. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard and a Master's degree in International Relations from the London School of Economics.

Italian Trulli

Chibueze Amanchukwu

Neubauer Family Assistant Professor

Chibueze Amanchukwu is a Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago, a faculty affiliate in the Data Science Institute, and a joint appointee at Argonne National Laboratory. His research is focused on enabling long duration electrical (batteries) and chemical energy storage for a sustainable energy future. His team is especially interested in modifying electrolyte and ion solvation behavior to control electrochemical processes occurring in batteries and electrocatalytic transformations such as carbon dioxide capture and conversion. They couple data science, computation, synthesis, and characterization to holistically understand ion transport in electrolytes and control interfacial reactions for efficient and cheap long duration storage. He has been named a “Talented Twelve” by Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN). His work has been recognized with the NSF CAREER Award, DOE Early Career Award, Google Research Scholar Award, Camille-Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, ECS-Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship, CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar Award, and the 3M Nontenured Faculty Award. He obtained his PhD in chemical engineering as a NDSEG Fellow at MIT and was a TomKat Center Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. 

Italian Trulli

Junhong Chen

Crown Family Professor

Junhong Chen is currently Crown Family Professor of Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago and Lead Water Strategist & Senior Scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. He also serves as the Science Leader for Argonne’s presence in the City of Chicago (Argonne in Chicago). Prior to coming to Chicago, Dr. Chen served as a program director for the Engineering Research Centers program of the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the director of NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) on Water Equipment & Policy (WEP). He founded NanoAffix Science LLC to commercialize real-time water sensors based on 2D nanomaterials.  Dr. Chen received his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from University of Minnesota in 2002 and was a postdoctoral scholar in chemical engineering at California Institute of Technology from 2002 to 2003. His current research focuses on nanomaterial innovation for sustainable energy and environment. Dr. Chen has published nearly 300 journal papers and has been listed as a highly cited researcher (top 1%) in materials science/cross-field by Clarivate Analytics. He is an elected fellow of National Academy of Inventors, Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Italian Trulli

Daniel Holz


Daniel Holz is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Departments of Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics, the Enrico Fermi Institute, and the Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.

Holz is a member of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration; his research focuses on black holes, gravitational waves, and cosmology. He has received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, a Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, and as a member of LIGO received the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics and the Gruber Prize. He was selected as a Kavli Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences and is an APS Fellow.

Holz is Chair of the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and in this role helps set the time of the Doomsday Clock. Holz is also founding director of the UChicago Existential Risk Laboratory (XLab), an interdisciplinary effort focused on understanding and mitigating existential risks, including nuclear war, climate change, and AI-fueled disinformation.

Italian Trulli

Jennifer “Vern” Long

CEO World Coffee Research

Vern Long is the Chief Executive Officer of World Coffee Research (WCR). WCR unites the global coffee industry to drive science-based agricultural solutions to urgently secure a diverse and sustainable supply of quality coffee today and for generations to come. In close collaboration with the WCR Board and member companies, Dr. Long and the WCR executive leadership team are harnessing the collective power of the coffee industry to deepen public and private investment and engagement in coffee R&D in response to the significant innovation gap in coffee agriculture. A plant breeder by training, Long has over 25 years of experience in global collaborative crop improvement and seed systems initiatives aligning public sector and industry goals. She is deeply motivated by the transformative power of agricultural R&D to achieve the coffee industry’s sustainability priorities. A dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., she holds a Ph.D. in plant breeding from Cornell University.

Italian Trulli

Felix Lu

PME Director of Corporate Engagement

Felix Lu is the Director of Corporate Engagement at the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering and has been in this type of role for about a decade. He spent the previous decade in industry. He trained as a semiconductor materials scientist receiving his PhD from UC San Diego, worked at the Boeing Satellite Development Center in the Technology Qualification Group, co-founded a startup company in North Carolina making high performance MEMS array devices for steering laser beams for an early niche quantum computation experiment, and in a variety of academic staff roles including course instructor for analog circuit courses, cleanroom staff, and outreach coordinator. He has worked and lived in Southern California, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and moved to Chicago in 2018. His current role includes strategic and tactical roles, playing the long game of building robust partnerships with companies seeking talent, community outreach channels, STEM projects, and translation of emerging technologies.

Italian Trulli

Nadya Mason

Dean, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering

Nadya Mason is the dean of the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) at the University of Chicago. She specializes in experimental studies of quantum materials, with a research focus on the electronic properties of nanoscale and correlated systems, such as nano-scale wires, atomically thin membranes, and nanostructured superconductors. Her research is relevant to applications involving nanoscale and quantum computing elements.

Before becoming dean of PME, Mason was the Rosalyn S. Yalow Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she directed the Illinois Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and also served as founding director of the Illinois Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (I-MRSEC).

Italian Trulli

Stuart Rowan FRS

Barry L. MacLean Professor for Molecular Engineering Innovation and Enterprise

Stuart Rowan earned his B.Sc. (Hons.) and PhD in Chemistry from the University of Glasgow. His post-doctoral work began in the Chemistry Department at the University of Cambridge, where he later became a Research Associate of Girton College, and culminated at the University of California, Los Angeles. Rowan was the Kent Hale Smith Professor in the Department of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University before joining the University of Chicago in the Department of Chemistry and Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering in 2016. In 2018 he became the Barry L MacLean Professor of Molecular Engineering and in 2021 he became the Director of the University of Chicago’s Materials Science and Engineering Research Center (MRSEC).

Rowan won the American Chemical Society Mark Scholar Award, the Morley Medal, the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the CWRU School of Engineering Research Award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the American Chemical Society. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of ACS Macro Letters, published by the American Chemical Society, and a member of the editorial advisory boards of the Journal of Polymer Science, Chemical Science, the Journal of Macromolecular Science, and Pure & Applied Chemistry.

Registration to be opened this summer.

  • Poster prizes: $1,000 (Silver sponsor, 6’ booth), or $3,000 (gold sponsor, get a 6’ table for a booth, and 2-3 minutes to introduce company and even speaker)
  • Event sponsorship: $1,000 (Silver Sponsor, 6’ booth)), $5,000 (Platinum Sponsor, 6’ booth, 5 minutes to introduce company and next speaker, and present poster at poster session), $10,000 (iridium sponsor, all of the previous perks, except you get a 30-minute speaking slot to tell us about your company)
  • Sustenance Sponsor:
    • Breakfast (on Sept 12th) - $1,000
    • Lunch (on Sept 12th) - $3,000
    • Dinner (reception on Sept 11th) - $3,000

Felix P. Lu, Director of Corporate Engagement 


For Industry attendees

Talk to students about their research interests and answer their questions about life in industry!

For academic attendees

Inquire about what industry life and culture is like and talk about complementary skill sets that will be important as you transition to an industrial career.

Is this event for me?

Postdocs, graduate students, staff, technicians, managers, undergraduate students from STEM fields including PME, BSD, PSD, MRSEC, etc.

Industrial scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, executives who want to get a high level view of resources here on campus, managers, etc.

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What will I come away with?

  • You will leave with a better understanding of how the PME operates
  • What research challenges are being addressed and who to contact to learn more about how these might align with your company priorities
  • Awareness of the spectrum of resources available and who to contact
  • An improvement in your awareness of soft skills through an interactive activity
  • New/updated social and professional contacts
  • PME swag
  • A free lunch (see dietary restrictions question in registration link)