Purdue officials report on state of commercialization, research and information technology

February 8, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University officials presented the state, national and global impact of Purdue's economic development, research and information technology initiatives to the Board of Trustees on Friday (Feb. 8).

Joseph B. Hornett

Joseph B. Hornett
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Joseph B. Hornett, senior vice president, treasurer and COO of Purdue Research Foundation; Richard O. Buckius, Purdue's vice president for research; and Gerry McCartney, chief information officer and vice president for information technology, presented reports at the meeting.

Hornett reported that the 175 U.S. patent applications filed are a 41 percent increase over the previous year and that 110 global patents were received by Purdue, a 26 percent increase. Royalties for Purdue's commercialized technologies reached $8.7 million, marking a 22 percent increase over the prior year.

Hornett said that over the same time period, Purdue ranks first for patent applications and second for invention disclosures in the Big Ten.

"The marked increase in disclosures and patent applications exemplifies the commitment Purdue faculty, staff and students have to making a global contribution by actively commercializing their discoveries," Hornett said. "One particular area of growth is in student entrepreneurship. In the past fiscal year, we have seen tremendous growth in patents filed for students through the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization." 

In the 2011 filing period, 355 Purdue students filed patents, a 62 percent increase over the 218 filed the prior year.

Hornett also said that the Purdue Research Park, which is managed by the foundation, now has 239 companies that employ about 4,250 people. Individuals working in the park network earn an average annual wage of $63,000.

Richard O. Buckius

Richard O. Buckius
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Buckius reported that new sponsored program awards totaled nearly $354 million for the 2012 fiscal year, down from the previous year's $420 million, due, in part, to the spending down of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding received in prior years.

He also reported a 12 percent increase in sponsored program awards from industrial and foundation sources and a 19 percent increase in research expenditures over the previous fiscal year.

The upward trend in awards from industry and foundations is expected to continue, he said. 

"Purdue has a strong record of building industry and foundation partnerships, which is especially important as the future economic environment may mean a decrease in research funding opportunities from the federal government," Buckius said. "These lasting and productive partnerships are a fundamental part of the research endeavors taking place at Purdue as well as a driver of economic development for the state and the nation."

The university's roughly $650 million in research expenditures include money spent on research from funding awarded in previous years as well as cost-share commitments and facility and administration costs.

"There has been rapid growth in the university's research endeavors over the past five years, as shown by the trend in research expenditures," Buckius said. "Based on reporting to NSF, excluding medical schools of our peers, in fiscal year 2011, Purdue expended more than $50 million above the mean expenditures of our peers, yet ranks 9th out of 15 with our aspirational and Big Ten peers."

During the fiscal years of 2009 to 2011 Purdue experienced a temporary increase in awards due to grants received through ARRA, which accounted for 24 percent of the record $438 million in sponsored program awards in 2010. ARRA funding fell to a fraction of 1 percent of the total for the 2012 fiscal year. From fiscal year 2009 to fiscal year 2012, excluding the small contributions from ARRA support in those years, Purdue's awards increased by 6 percent.

Major awards achieved during 2012 fiscal year include:

* $14.5 million from the National Science Foundation to the Purdue-led Network for Computational Nanotechnology Cyber-Platform.

* $10 million from The Regenstrief Foundation to Purdue's Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering. 

* The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and U.S. Department of Commerce awarded a contract with a value of up to $9.9 million to researchers from Purdue and a consortium of engineering companies for the NIST Disaster and Failure Studies Program.

Gerry McCartney

Gerry McCartney
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McCartney, who also is the Olga Oesterle England Professor of Information Technology, pointed out that Purdue's ability to provide research, instructional, and computational resources to a global audience is a significant reason why it hosts facilities such as the Network for Computational Nanotechnology.

But he said recent, rapid changes in technology and in the delivery of information is creating an even greater, around-the-clock demand for Purdue resources and expertise.

"People think of the university offices closing at 5 p.m., and many here do, but we are increasingly becoming an always-on university," McCartney said. "Purdue serves a global audience that requests and uses our services 24 hours a day."

This always-on demand will continue to rapidly increase due to the international growth of mobile phones.

"Three-fourths of the world's population already has access to a mobile phone or device," McCartney said. "This gives the world access to Purdue in ways that were hardly imagined before."

Purdue is already a leading developer of mobile apps that aid in student learning, but McCartney said future plans to respond to the changes in technology include not only increased development of tools and resources for mobile devices, but also close, novel partnerships with industry-leading corporations.

One such partnership is a licensing agreement, announced at the meeting, with Pearson Higher Education, which will include information from Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) in its digital textbooks.

Writers: Elizabeth K. Gardner, 765-494-2081, ekgardner@purdue.edu

Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org

Steve Tally, 765-494-9809, tally@purdue.edu

Sources: Joseph B. Hornett, 765-588-1040, jbhornett@prf.org

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

Gerry McCartney, 765-496-2270, mccart@purdue.edu

Related news releases:
Purdue researchers win $14.5 million NSF grant to take nanoHUB.org to next level

Discovery Park center receives additional $10 million in research funding from Regenstrief Foundation

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