Research Foundation News

September 25, 2017

$18.5 million Purdue design facility creates ‘magnet space’ for collaborative creativity, prototyping

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The new Bechtel Innovation Design Center is aimed to become a “magnet” where Purdue University students can move their ideas and innovations to real-world products and impact.

Innovators will be able to use the facility to advance conceptual designs, execute capstone projects, build prototypes and conduct product testing as well as further develop softer business and life skills such as team building across multiple disciplines and acquire leadership acumen.  

“Purdue is already recognized for its strong pipeline of innovation, and we all recognize the importance of an innovator or startup founder demonstrating a hands-on product in order to make a connection to investors and customers,” said Dan Hasler, chief entrepreneurial officer for the Purdue Research Foundation. “Creating such a prototype or product can be expensive and time-consuming endeavor. The Bechtel design center is a game-changer in filling this critical need at Purdue.”

The 31,000-square-foot, $18.5 million building will be available 24/7 for Purdue innovators. The center is located at 1090 Third St. and opened Sept. 23. Some of the assets available in the center include CNC tools, waterjet cutter, laser cutter, laser engraver, 3D plastic printing, paint and surface finishing, welding, wood working tools and electronics assembly.

Bertoline center Visitors tour the new Bechtel design center on the Purdue University campus. The facility creates a ‘magnet space’ for collaborative creativity and prototyping for Purdue innovators. (Purdue University/Rebecca Wilcox) Download image

Providing a hands-on environment in design and development fills an important need for students.

“We have witnessed a tremendous increase in student engagement in design and creation of products and in startup creation over the past three years,” said Gary Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. “The Bechtel design center provides them with a place to explore new ideas and put those ideas into action.”  

About 50 percent of the 100 Purdue startups based on patented intellectual property and the more than 60 startups based on know-how over the past five years have at least one Purdue undergraduate or graduate student in a leadership role with the company.

“The opportunity for Purdue engineering students to learn and create in the Bechtel Center will greatly enhance their overall educational experience ,” said Mung Chiang, John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering. “The College of Engineering is proud to collaborate with the Purdue Polytechnic Institute to launch this remarkable makerspace. The talent and programs in this space will further enrich the vibrant ecosystem for entrepreneurs at Purdue: turning our education and research into positive impact on people’s lives.”

The facility is the latest of improvements to the Purdue innovation ecosystem. Other programs developed to help innovators move new technologies to the public include the:

* Purdue Foundry, a startup accelerator hub based in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

* FireStarter program to guide entrepreneurs through the “ideation” and startup development process.

* Express License, an expedient method for innovators to license an innovation.

* Student-owned technologies, a policy change that allows Purdue students to own their innovations developed as part of their university coursework.

* Funding resources, a number of funding opportunities for Purdue-affiliated startups.

* Innovation and entrepreneurship landing page to drive interested innovators to the right entrepreneurial resources online.

The Bechtel Innovation Design Center is dedicated in honor of Stephen D. Bechtel Jr., chairman emeritus of Bechtel Group Inc., who earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Purdue in 1946 and received an honorary doctorate in 1972.

More information on the design center can be found here.

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, 765-413-6031, casequin@prf.org 

Sources:

Dan Hasler, 765-588-3825, djhasler@prf.org

Gary Bertoline, bertoline@purdue.edu

Mung Chiang, 765-494-5346, chiang@purdue.edu

Kyle Hultgren, khultgre@purdue.edu


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