Purdue sharpens focus on private sector partnerships

November 18, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University has taken a multifaceted approach to increase partnerships necessary to realizing the Purdue Moves plan for world-changing research and transformative education.

Partnerships with industry provided $55.6 million in research funding to the university last year, an increase of 18 percent over the prior year. Total private-sector partnerships, encompassing foundations and nonprofit corporations, contributed $133.6 million and made up more than 30 percent of the total research funding, said Purdue executive vice president for research and partnerships Suresh Garimella.

“Partnerships with corporations and foundations that share Purdue’s goals are imperative for our continued success and provide critical insight and support to research that will address global challenges,” Garimella said. “These partnerships also provide a rich and complementary form of research experience for students, inspiring and equipping them to continue the pursuit of solutions and new technologies that will one day transform society and shape the future.”

Dan Hirleman, Purdue’s chief corporate and global partnerships officer, is leading the effort to bring together groups across campus to increase the impact, scale and long-term sustainability of private sector partnerships.  One facet of the initiative is to create a unified digital gateway, called Purdue Partners Platform, to address the need of Purdue and its corporate partners for real-time snapshots of ongoing activities in research projects, technology transfer, recruitment and philanthropic impact.  Previously, that information had been spread across a dozen or so campus offices with incompatible data systems.

The Purdue Partners Platform provides access to such information in real time and so far has successfully linked the Center for Career Opportunities, Sponsored Program Services, Office of Professional Practice, Purdue Alumni Association, University Development Office, Office of Technology Commercialization, and the Purdue Research Park.  It will also streamline connection of research needs to the right research expertise on campus, he said. 

“We want to make the process of connecting with Purdue faster and easier, and seamlessly transition from a potential partner’s idea for collaboration to the start of work in the laboratory,” he said.  “We want to make it easier for those pursuing the same goal to come together, share resources and succeed.”

The university also has established an off-campus location with telepresence facilities, gathering areas and workspace to make collaboration easier for partners who are frequently on campus and who have shown the most substantial, long-term commitment to the university, its mission and students. The Schowe House, 1341 Northwestern Ave., will serve this purpose and become the physical gateway for partners, he said.

“Successful collaboration requires face time with students and faculty, and we want to encourage it by making visits to our campus easier,” Hirleman said. “We want our key partners to have a professional home during campus visits so that they can easily manage responsibilities to their respective industries and foundations that might otherwise have kept them back at the office.”

The Purdue Moves initiative 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. 

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

Sources: Suresh Garimella, sureshg@purdue.edu

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

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