Newsroom Search Newsroom home Newsroom Archive
Purdue News

1. What is the Indiana Innovation Alliance?

Purdue and Indiana universities together are creating a historic partnership called the "Indiana Innovation Alliance" (IIA) to bring together Indiana's research universities, biomedical and biotechnology firms, health and life sciences organizations, local economic development organizations, and state government to grow the state's bioscience economy and increase the competitiveness of Indiana's work force.

2. What will the IIA focus on?

The Alliance will focus on three key strategic initiatives:

A.  Develop strong core research capabilities in emerging technology areas and make them available to university and corporate researchers alike for state-of-the-art health and bioscience research services, making Indiana a "hotspot" for research-intensive development;

B.  Prioritize and allocate matching funds for large-scale, multidisciplinary research grants and initiatives provided by federal research agencies and philanthropic organizations in strategic bio-economic areas in which Indiana can potentially capture significant economic gains; and

C.  Expand medical education and technical work force development, as well as health-care innovation by growing IU's statewide medical education network and Purdue's biotechnology and bioengineering education and Healthcare Technical Assistance programs.

3. What will be the initial set of research core capabilities?

Initially the core research capabilities of the IIA will include:

* Microscopic to whole-body advanced imaging: This core will support many research projects, including an array of structural biology and neuroimaging investigations and advanced clinical research studies.

* Nanotechnology, device fabrication and advanced analytics: The ability to design, prototype and evaluate novel medical diagnostics, therapeutics, devices and instruments will be the hallmark of this core.

* Informatics and Omics: This core will deal with high data content screening and apply the computational engines necessary to analyze the data. It will have applications across the biosciences from disease analysis and drug interventions to biofuels development.

* Model systems (preclinical and computational): Capabilities in this core include a full array of preclinical study models and procedures, with access (by 2010) to BioSafety Level 3 laboratories.

4. How will researchers access these core facilities?

These capabilities will be available to any public or private university research group in Indiana and to corporate sector researchers. The financial support provided by the Alliance will make it possible for researchers and research managers to use these facilities at reasonable cost, making Indiana highly attractive as a "place to go" for companies and scientists that need these capabilities.

5. In what research areas will matching funds be available?

The IIA initially will provide matching funds in three areas that align with Indiana's university and commercial research strengths. Each area represents an important opportunity for Indiana with potential to develop both scientific solutions that can be commercialized and advance the state economically.

Disease treatment and health promotion: Research projects may address one of several topics important to specific economic sectors. Initial priorities include: advanced diagnostic technologies and services; cancer; drug discovery and development; health-care delivery systems; and social, behavioral and economic causes of disease and its prevention.

Bioenergy/biomaterials-based economy: Indiana is well positioned to capture economic value in this emerging sector. Projects might address key technologies in: bio-processing based predominately on non-starch (corn) inputs, genetics to enhance energy conversion and novel biomaterials for tissue engineering.

Nutrition/food and related diseases: Several important metabolic diseases and syndromes are linked to diet, eating habits and lifestyle. Indiana companies face above average health-care costs as a result of these diseases. The focus at the beginning will be on cardiovascular disease, diabetes, genetics (to enhance nutrition and disease prevention) and obesity.

6. Is work force development a part of the IIA?

Yes. Purdue biomedical engineering and biotechnology programs have a long history of supporting Indiana's bio-based industries throughout the state via the education of skilled graduates and collaborative research and technology transfer. The IIA will support the expansion of these educational programs to train company-based engineers and scientists in the latest bioengineering and biotechnology techniques and approaches. Educational offerings will range from dedicated short courses in emerging technology areas to professional degree programs, with a dedicated emphasis on the use of distance-learning to ensure ease of access and broad work force participation.

7. How will the IIA be funded?

In addition to support from the participating academic institutions and companies, a $35 million annual base state appropriation is requested to launch the Alliance. $25 million would be applied to support the development of core research capabilities and matching funds for large research grants and initiatives. $10 million would be allocated to education and innovation. Each of these initiatives is described below.

8. By what metrics and milestones will IIA progress be evaluated?

The Alliance will monitor and evaluate progress, measure performance and invest resources to achieve the following:

* Increased jobs in the bio-economic sector.

* New health and life sciences solutions, intellectual property and companies.

* Increased funding for research and development (new funds coming into Indiana).

* Attraction, education and retention of academic and commercial researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs.

* Increased number of health-care professionals statewide.

* Reduction in the growth of spending for health care by companies and organizations, disease prevention, and changes in utilization of health-care services.

9. How does this new initiative relate to the Indiana Life Science Fund?

This initiative builds on the $20 million investment made by the state in FY 2009 as well as other investments by the two institutions and external funders. These investments have enabled both IU and Purdue to develop world-class core capabilities in advanced imaging, nanotechnology, informatics and omics, and model systems. We plan to use these capabilities to grow externally funded research and to expand collaborations with bioscience companies.

10. Why is this a priority for state investment?

Indiana is a national leader in the number and concentration of bio-economy jobs. This concentration, combined with world-class university research capabilities in the biosciences, gives Indiana an advantage over many states that we can use to improve our competitive position in economic development. This initiative is consistent with Accelerating Growth, IEDC's strategic economic development plan, which calls for increasing Indiana's research and development capacity at both its universities and businesses. The initiative also proposes investment in the state's health-care infrastructure, important because Hoosiers rank poorly in several measures of personal health.

11. What economic development benefit is expected to accrue from the initiative?

The most important goal of the initiative is to improve Indiana's competitiveness for increasing the number of high paying jobs in growth industries. A specific example of an opportunity that Indiana can seize comes from a report recently released by BioCrossroads which indicated that Indiana could capture significant job growth by partnering with biosciences companies that are outsourcing basic research to university partners. Investment in Indiana's health-care infrastructure also can help existing businesses and attract new businesses by reducing employer health-care expenses.

To the News Service home page

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue News Service at