January 21, 2005
Lilly Endowment grants $25 million to Purdue's Discovery Park
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue officials today (Friday, Jan. 21) announced that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the university a $25 million grant to start four new interdisciplinary research centers and to provide operational support for six existing centers at Discovery Park.
This grant, which was announced at the Birck Nanotechnology Center, brings Lilly Endowment's total commitment for Discovery Park, the university's interdisciplinary research, enterprise and education complex, to more than $50 million. In 2001, Lilly Endowment provided more than $25 million to help launch the park's first interdisciplinary centers.
The 40-acre complex now includes five buildings one, the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, completed; and two more, the Birck Nanotechnology Center and Bindley Bioscience Center, which are under construction and scheduled to be completed this summer. Ground was broken in October on the e-Enterprise Center, where the Center for Advanced Manufacturing will reside. The university's trustees also have approved building the Discovery Learning Center.
Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said the new Lilly Endowment grant will enable Discovery Park to take important next steps.
"Discovery Park has made a great beginning in expanding interdisciplinary research at Purdue and translating that research into the technologies and enterprises that will drive Indiana's economic future," Jischke said. "Lilly Endowment played a key role in launching Discovery Park, and the new funds will help us continue to move forward in areas that represent Purdue's core strengths and enable us to take advantage of new opportunities that have arisen since we first unveiled the concept in 2001."
The $25 million in grants include:
$10 million to launch and provide three years of seed funding for four new Discovery Park interdisciplinary research centers, which will be chosen based on a competitive call for proposals to faculty and researchers.
A $6 million endowment and $6 million in seed funding for the six existing Discovery Park interdisciplinary research centers the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Birck Nanotechnology Center, Bindley Bioscience Center, e-Enterprise Center, Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Discovery Learning Center.
$2 million to endow a Discovery Park student internship program.
A $1 million endowment for a Discovery Park lecture series to bring speakers to campus.
As part of a matching grant challenge, Purdue has committed to raise $3 million in new private funds over the next three years to create an endowment that will provide each of the six existing centers with a continuing flow of annual funds the directors can use to support center activities.
Endowed funds remain intact in perpetuity, and their earnings continue to provide annual funding at a level of about 5 percent of the endowment. So, for example, a $1 million endowment yields $50,000 per year. Assuming annual earnings of 10 percent means that $50,000 can be put back into the endowment principal so inflation does not erode the real value of the endowment.
Sara B. Cobb, vice president for education at Lilly Endowment, said Discovery Park builds on Purdue's traditional strengths in science, engineering and management.
"When Lilly Endowment made its original investment, we did so because we recognized that Purdue is a magnificent resource for the state of Indiana and the world and that the innovative Discovery Park concept had the potential to take the university to a new level of excellence and impact," she said. "In fewer than four years, Discovery Park has more than met expectations and has become a model for interdisciplinary research and learning.
"We are pleased that our new grant will help Purdue secure the future of the successful efforts already launched at Discovery Park and add promising new efforts to the mix."
Charles O. Rutledge, executive director of Discovery Park, said the university has learned a great deal since the original Lilly Endowment grant of more than $25 million grant in 2001.
"We've learned to go after low-hanging fruit big projects where we can demonstrate success in a short time," Rutledge said. "So we sponsored a project that used refrigerated air on the wood cutters the furniture industry uses to reduce the wear on the cutting blades and save a great deal of money.
"Doing projects like this has allowed us to demonstrate success, raising $200 million from the federal government, Indiana's 21st Century Research and Technology Fund, and corporate and private support since Lilly Endowment's original gift. We expect to leverage $200 million from this gift, also.
"Finally, we've learned to be responsive, to respond within 24 hours to companies that come to us with a potential project or for a progress update."
Rutledge said new Discovery Park centers also could address other large, complex areas of research, such as transportation-distribution-logistics, environmental science and cancer research. The university will request proposals from faculty and fund the most promising ventures within the next one to two years.
Jischke has stressed the concept of using public-private partnerships to attract funds and businesses to the state. In addition to the $200 million the original Lilly Endowment gift has attracted, Discovery Park also has been a key factor in Purdue's success in raising more than $1 billion to date in the university's Campaign for Purdue. This fall, the campaign goal was raised from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion.
Discovery Park is Purdue's interdisciplinary research hub that brings the university's scientists, researchers, engineers and management experts together on a project-based basis to make basic discoveries available to advance the Indiana economy and solve societal problems by inventing new products and processes. Also under construction at Discovery Park is a biomedical engineering building.
Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Martin Jischke, (765) 494-9708
Gretchen Wolfram, Lilly Endowment media contact, (317) 916-7304, email@example.com
Charles O. Rutledge, (765) 494-7766, firstname.lastname@example.org
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; email@example.com
Note to Journalists: Video of the buildings is available from the Purdue News Service by contacting Jesica Webb at (765) 494-2079, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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