Purdue doubles research investment, expands commercialization effort

February 3, 2012

Richard O. Buckius

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue officials reported Friday (Feb. 3) that the university has doubled its annual research expenditures to $600 million since 2006-07, supporting its goal to increase economic development for Indiana and revenue streams for the university.

At the same time, new sponsored program awards totaled $420 million for 2010-11 - most of them research related - a 4 percent dip from the previous year's record high of $438 million, which included stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. If ARRA funds are not included, the increase in sponsored program awards is 19.3 percent - from $331 million in 2009-10 to $395 million in 2010-11.

Most came from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, industry and foundations.

Discovery with delivery is a key component of the university's 10-year plan to generate new sources of funding to hold down tuition, said Richard O. Buckius, Purdue's vice president for research, who presented a portion of the report to the university's Board of Trustees. The effort also helps the state: Of the 55 companies based on Purdue discoveries in 2006-2010, three out of every four are located in Indiana.

Joseph B. Hornett

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Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of Purdue Research Foundation, oversees the Office of Technology Commercialization and the university's four research parks, which are key to the effort. He also told the trustees about progress on moving discoveries to market in 2010-11:

* The Association of University Technical Managers showed that among U.S. universities, Purdue ranked sixth for business startups, with 11 startup companies based on Purdue technology.

* Purdue is second in the Big Ten (when adjusting for differences in research expenditures) in identifying new discoveries (257) and integrating them into the commercialization process.

* Among its aspirational peers, Purdue was second in new U.S. patent applications; worldwide 364 were filed.

* Purdue led the Big Ten and aspirational peers in closing commercial licenses and options, besting even Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which has three times the support staff.

* The Purdue Research Park network, with its annual $1.3 billion economic impact, employs more than 4,000 people and is a top-20 private employer in Indiana.

Earlier this month, President France A. Córdova announced Purdue is creating an Innovation and Commercialization Center that will move Purdue discoveries to the marketplace even more quickly. The center will serve as a "one-stop shop" for faculty and staff inventors and offer seed grants and other funding for testing concepts, developing prototypes or participating in joint technology development projects with external partners. First-year activities will be supported by $1 million in gift funds donated by alumni entrepreneurs. No general funds from state appropriations or tuition will be used.

Gerry McCartney, chief information officer, vice president for Information Technology at Purdue and the Olga Oesterle England Professor of Information Technology, will serve as the center's inaugural director. McCartney will serve a split appointment between the center and ITaP for two years, and there will be a national search for the next director, who will be part of the Purdue Research Foundation. McCartney's first steps will be to create an advisory committee of faculty and business entrepreneurs and organize sessions for faculty, staff and alumni to learn more about center support programs. The Innovation and Commercialization Center will be based in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Discovery Park.

Writer:  Jeanne Norberg, 765-494-2084, jnorberg@purdue.edu

Sources: Joseph B. Hornett, 765-588-3342, jbhornett@prf.org

                  Richard O. Buckius, 765-494-6209, rbuckius@purdue.edu