Purdue Policy Research Institute joins Discovery Park

November 18, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s Global Policy Research Institute has joined Discovery Park and been renamed the Purdue Policy Research Institute.

The Purdue Policy Research Institute focuses on public policy linked to interdisciplinary technologies and applications related to Purdue’s core strengths, said Dan Hirleman, Purdue’s chief corporate and global partnerships officer.

“Discovery Park is at the intersection of the university’s strengths, providing the infrastructure necessary to enable interdisciplinary research on a grand scale,” Hirleman said. “This is where the Purdue Policy Research Institute will best complement and strengthen the other successful Discovery Park centers and institutes, as well as the Purdue Moves initiative.”

Purdue Moves is designed to broaden the university's global impact and enhance student educational opportunities. Purdue Moves priorities fit into four broad categories: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) leadership; world-changing research; transformative education; and affordability and accessibility.

More than 1,000 faculty members, working with 300 graduate students, are engaged in Discovery Park. Researchers are tackling challenges in areas ranging from energy, cancer treatment, nanotechnology, drug discovery and the environment to health care, life sciences and innovative learning in the STEM disciplines.

“Policy is critical to the success of Discovery Park’s mission to address society’s grand challenges in the 21st century,” said Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, chief scientist and executive director of Discovery Park. “Research discoveries addressing challenges in global health, food, water, energy and the environment will need the support of public policy to be viable. This move will not only directly connect policy to these research areas, it will directly connect the faculty across the necessary disciplines.”

Suzanne Nielsen, a faculty fellow of the Office of Corporate and Global Partnerships and a professor in the Department of Food Science in Purdue’s College of Agriculture, will serve as interim director of the institute, which will be housed in Mann Hall.

The institute recently held another in its series of  “Shaping the Conversation” events, this one targeting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act. The event featured Purdue alumni Rebecca Buckner, chief implementation manager of the Food Safety Modernization Act, and Jeff Grogg, owner and managing director of JPG Resources. Industry leaders, state and federal regulatory officials and representatives from food production organizations met with Purdue faculty and staff to consider, discuss and report on challenging questions relevant to food safety and regulations. Nielsen and Alok Chaturvedi, a professor in Purdue’s Krannert School of Management and global policy fellow, co-organized the event.

 “The Food Safety Modernization Act is just now being implemented by the FDA and provided a great opportunity to examine the implications of a new policy,” Nielsen said. “This is an example of how the Purdue Policy Research Institute will draw upon the strengths not only of our faculty, but also of our alumni and partners to address real challenges facing us today.”

Faculty interested in joining or engaging with the Purdue Policy Research Institute should contact Nielsen at nielsens@purdue.edu.

Discovery Park, launched by Purdue in 2001, surpassed the $1 billion milestone in 2015 for the amount of generated sponsored research, private gifts and endowments, and helps generate nearly 25 percent of Purdue's entire annual research portfolio.

More than 5,000 students have participated in entrepreneurial activities since the park's inception, including 1,300 students who have received the certificate in entrepreneurship and innovation. 

The Global Policy Research Institute was established in 2010 with the mission of leveraging the university’s strengths to address society’s critical issues. 

Purdue University News Service: 765-494-2096, purduenews@purdue.edu  

Sources: Tomás Díaz de la Rubia, 765-496-6625, tddlr@purdue.edu

Dan Hirleman, 765-494-9095, hirleman@purdue.edu

Suzanne Nielsen, 765-496-3844, nielsens@purdue.edu 

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