Table of Contents


Equipping workers, researchers for next generation

Today's undergraduates and graduate students are becoming tomorrow's scientists and technologists and entrepreneurs, and today's faculty members are becoming tomorrow's business owners - all through Discovery Park.

Sharing laboratories and microscopes with distinguished faculty in electrical engineering in the Birck Nanotechnology Center or scientists at Bindley Bioscience Center, students Akshay Thomas and Matt Stier have worked alongside some of the world's brightest minds. They're prepared to move to the next stage of their careers as key players in corporations, research labs or even classrooms as graduate students, teachers or college professors.

"Working with faculty and researchers in Discovery Park has given me a perspective of medicine that I never would have imagined, opening my eyes to such advancements as telemedicine and robotic surgery," says Thomas, a 2008 health sciences graduate. "These transformative opportunities would not have been possible in a traditional university setting. Discovery Park is providing a leadership role for Purdue to launch tomorrow's leaders."

Students, faculty and friends are key players in a world that demands a better-prepared employee for the workforce, a more dynamic mechanism to get research to the marketplace faster, and stronger U.S. research institutions to compete in the global fields of science and technology. Through Discovery Park, Purdue is delivering on that transformative promise. For example:

  • 1,000 Purdue faculty and researchers are working on projects as diverse as nanotechnology and healthcare engineering to entrepreneurship and homeland security.
  • Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students are participating in certificate programs, business-plan competitions, poster sessions, and research year-round.
  • Corporations are forming strategic alliances with researchers, seeking partnerships that will hone their competitive edge.
  • Purdue alumni and friends, seeing the park's potential, are contributing to build facilities, furnish labs and fund administrative infrastructure.

The $58 million Birck Nanotechnology Center has helped Purdue recruit 16 faculty members in various areas since 2002. Nearly 150 faculty members from 36 Purdue schools and departments are involved in Birck research to address everything from super-small computers, spacecraft and microscopic machines to tiny life-saving medical devices and a plethora of new materials. More than 400 graduate students regularly use Birck for research.

Learning sparked for grads, undergrads

Graduate student participates in outreach for Discovery Learning Research Center.

Researchers are studying how to diagnose diseases earlier and assist pharmaceutical companies in making drugs to target a specific cell for a specific purpose. They're reaching out globally, developing a low-cost diagnostic tool to detect the AIDS virus. The tool has great value in Africa, home to 28 million people who suffer from AIDS. Worldwide, 40 million have AIDS, which kills about 11,000 people daily.

"Discovery Park is Purdue's engine for interdisciplinary research providing world-class resources and intellectual access to creative minds," says executive director Alan Rebar. "It's where Purdue scientists, engineers and students tackle society's grand challenges, where the scientific vision of today is transformed into the reality of tomorrow."

The Discovery Learning Research Center (DLRC) is one of 10 interdisciplinary research centers in Purdue University's Discovery Park. The mission of the DLRC is to advance research that revolutionizes learning in the STEM* disciplines. Through externally funded research projects, innovative programs, and collaborative partnerships, the DLRC is committed to redesigning educational practices and creating innovative learning environments that have immediate impacts and nurture lifelong learning for students and citizens of a global community.

The DLRC is a unique center that bridges the innovative research work at Purdue with the fundamental educational mission of the University.

DLC Overview Video

* science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Impact on Engagement

Since its launch in 2001, Discovery Park has provided a platform for driving Purdue's pursuit of funding for large-scale interdisciplinary research projects. Here is a list of success stories through Discovery Park that demonstrate how teamwork on a university campus is making a difference in the world of discovery:

Discovery Park leads response to STEM education challenge

Research opportunities are available in Discovery Park and across the Purdue campus, focusing on the transformative work in education, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and STEM-related disciplines.
Discovery Park, part of the Purdue Office of the Vice President for Research, serves as an interdisciplinary research hub, building on the university's strong academic disciplines and mission to launch tomorrow's leaders, promote discovery with delivery and address global challenges.
The primary building blocks known as STEM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics — play a vital role in discovery and learning. Purdue is committed to equipping the next generation of leaders with a solid foundation in the STEM disciplines.

STEM's Impact on Purdue Discovery

Purdue researchers and investigators depend on a strong base in the STEM disciplines in order to tackle projects like:
» Finding a cure for cancer
» Sustaining the environment through alternative energy sources
» Seeking healthcare system solutions
» Transforming education through teaching and learning research
» Developing new diagnostic tools for treating diseases » Leading innovations in cyber technologies

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U.S. State Department selects Purdue to lead China EcoPartnership

The U.S. State Department is selecting Purdue University to lead one of six U.S.-China EcoPartnerships, which will focus on sustainability issues including environmental challenges posed by alternative energy and climate change in the two countries.

A formal signing ceremony announcing the agreement is planned for Tuesday (May 10) in Washington, D.C., in connection with the third annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to participate in the signing ceremony.

"The new EcoPartnership will focus on environmental and energy challenges in the United States and China," said Purdue President France A. Córdova. "We are looking forward to being an active and leading global player to address these challenges, working with State Department officials, our colleagues in China and our U.S. university partners."

The Purdue-China EcoPartnership, a five-year initiative, will focus on joint research aimed at addressing the combined effects of climate change, renewable energy and human activities on regional and global ecosystems. Research teams also will explore technologies that would aid in restoring damaged ecosystems.

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Soy-based denture adhesive, wound-care startups claim top prizes at Purdue elevator pitch competition

A soy-based denture adhesive developer and a wound-care startup delivered the top pitches Friday (April 8), claiming $1,000 each during the fifth annual Purdue University Elevator Pitch Competition.

Ankit Gupta won the undergraduate student category for his two-minute pitch about Dentural, which is developing an environmentally friendly biodegradable denture adhesive.

Sean Connell took top honors for his pitch about Medtric Biotech's bandage that both heals a wound and fights off infection in the category for Purdue graduate students, staff, faculty, alumni and those affiliated with the Purdue Research Parks.

"The pitches on these impressive business ideas from students, faculty members and others affiliated with Purdue gets better and better every year, making the judges' decisions extremely difficult," said Jeanette Greener, coordinator for Purdue's Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

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New electronics material closer to commercial reality

Researchers have developed a method for creating single-crystal arrays of a material called graphene, an advance that opens up the possibility of a replacement for silicon in high-performance computers and electronics.

Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon that conducts electricity with little resistance or heat generation. The arrays could make possible a new class of high-speed transistors and integrated circuits that consume less energy than conventional silicon electronics.

The new findings represent an advance toward perfecting a method for manufacturing large quantities of single crystals of the material, similar to the production of silicon wafers.

"Graphene isn't there yet, in terms of high quality mass production like silicon, but this is a very important step in that direction," said Yong P. Chen, corresponding author for the new study and Miller Family Assistant Professor of Nanoscience and Physics at Purdue University.

Other researchers have grown single crystals of graphene, but no others have demonstrated how to create ordered arrays, or patterns that could be used to fabricate commercial electronic devices and integrated circuits.

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Company developing nanocomposite bone substitute wins inaugural Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition

A company developing a nanocomposite bone substitute claimed the $30,000 top prize Friday (March 25) in the inaugural Nanotechnology New Ventures Competition, sponsored by Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame.

Citrics Biomedical, led by Notre Dame graduate A.J. Noronha and Matthew Vaughn, won for its business plan presentation on its biocompatible, bioresorbable nanocomposite product called CitrOSponge, which is designed to facilitate bone healing and aid in hard-tissue regeneration.

LightSprite, led by Notre Dame physics professors Steven Ruggiero and Carol Tanner, finished second and received $15,000. Tymora Analytical, founded by Purdue professor Andy Tao and research assistants Anton Iliuk and Juan Martinez, collected the $10,000 prize for third place.

MagnAgents and MT2, two companies also affiliated with Purdue, each received $1,000 as the fourth- and fifth-place finishers in the event, which was held at Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

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Free electronic field trips open science education doors

A Purdue zipTrip is an electronic field trip. That's right. Electronic! Let's face it. Kids love field trips. The chance to go places beyond their own classrooms and see for themselves how the world works.

But not every destination is close enough for a day trip, and you may not have the time or resources to commit a full day to one field trip. That's where we come in.

When you sign up to take your class on a Purdue zipTrip, the field trip comes to you!

Purdue scientists will share their exciting work with your middle-school students, without making them late for their after-school activities.

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Discovery Park: Transforming a major research university

Faculty can seek out colleagues from other disciplines to take their research to the next level.

Undergraduate and graduate students work alongside some of the world's brightest minds, gaining insights and experience and using the some of the most advanced facilities at a research university anywhere in the world.

Stakeholders, government agencies and researchers from other institutions and organizations can partner with centers to add value to their devices, research, systems or processes.

Entrepreneurs and investors who seek to bring an idea from the laboratory to the marketplace can access various experts across disciplines and utilize park resources to cultivate important initiatives quickly and effectively.

With its advanced research capabilities and state-of-the-art facilities, Discovery Park acts as a lens to focus many sources of light - sources that include top faculty, staff, researchers and students at Purdue, along with government and business interests throughout the state, nation and the world. It then focuses that light into promising solutions to complex global issues.

"Discovery Park makes it easier for me as a social scientist to meet and interact with other kinds of scientists on this campus. That would have been much harder to do, say, 10 years ago."

Leigh Raymond, political science professor and associate director, Purdue Climate Change Research Center

Contact Information By Audience

Contact information at the end of each chapter has been created to direct our audience - students, faculty, partners, and visitors - in their efforts to connect with the right person to discuss areas of potential involvement in Discovery Park activities. Related Web sites link visitors to programs at Discovery Park.

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The Overview chapter offers a glimpse at the unique features, the latest news, building locations and contact information for Discovery Park.


Learn about how research has been reinvented at Discovery Park, how collaborations among scientists and stakeholders are seeking solutions to grand challenges, and the impacts of discovery.


Discovery Park is delivering on Purdue's land-grant mission to serve the people of Indiana and the nation. Large-scale research drives economic development in a knowledge economy and Discovery Park is the engine.


Activities at Discovery Park transform people's lives. Undergraduates gain hands-on research experience, business plan competitions nurture a new generation of entrepreneurs, and innovative diagnostic tools detect early stages of disease.


To meet today's grand challenges, a spectrum of partnerships are forming at Discovery Park -- international partners, partnerships with foundations, institutions and industry all contribute to advancing learning and research.