May 31, 2024

Hard-Tech Corridor emerges with leadership from Purdue and partners

Several major university announcements and partnerships developed over the past few months help build the 65-mile corridor between Indianapolis and West Lafayette

INDIANAPOLIS — From the Discovery Park District in West Lafayette to the heart of downtown Indianapolis, America’s Hard-Tech Corridor continues to take shape with leadership from Purdue University. As the hard-tech ecosystem at the smart crossroads of the nation, the Hard-Tech Corridor is forged by discovery, built by innovation and fueled by co-generation of jobs and workforce to unlock boundless potential for business and talents. 

The southern bookend for the 65-mile stretch will be anchored by Purdue University in Indianapolis, Purdue’s first comprehensive urban campus, which officially launches July 1. With the totality of Purdue to the totality of Indianapolis, Purdue’s comprehensive urban campus will spark brain gain in Indiana, while generating a workforce, jobs, economic growth and innovation together with industry partners. 

As part of its new footprint in the capital city, Purdue recently announced a facility for the Materials and Manufacturing Research Laboratories (MMRL) at 16 Tech Innovation District in Indianapolis. The facility, which will accelerate manufacturing excellence and opportunities and wealth creation in the state, builds upon Purdue’s existing manufacturing initiatives like the Indiana Next-Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC), a joint venture between Purdue University in Indianapolis and MMRL in West Lafayette, and eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations (XMO). Together, MMRL and XMO are vital components of a renaissance in domestic manufacturing, logistics and supply chains revitalizing the nation’s industrial resilience by linking physical, digital and sustainable manufacturing for an integrated ecosystem of manufacturers of all sizes. Now, with a foothold in the state’s industrial center, MMRL will have a robust workforce development component and intentional technology uptake efforts, ensuring critical job creation and local impact while sustaining national security.

On the other end of the Hard-Tech Corridor, among the multiple areas of growth in both Discovery Park District and Purdue Research Park is SK hynix, which announced plans in April to invest close to $4 billion to build an advanced packaging fabrication and R&D facility for AI products in the Purdue Research Park. This development of a critical link in the U.S. semiconductor supply chain in West Lafayette marks a giant leap forward in the industry and the state, reaffirming Indiana’s role in the hard-tech sector. The new facility is home to an advanced semiconductor packaging production line that will mass-produce next-generation high-bandwidth memory, or HBM, chips, the critical component of graphic processing units that train AI systems such as ChatGPT.  

Meanwhile, critical rare earth technologies developed by Purdue University are meeting the increased need for domestic production of rare earth elements (REEs), a key component in semiconductor manufacturing, thanks to Purdue’s partnership with central Indiana-based ReElement Technologies. Developed by Nien-Hwa Linda Wang, Purdue’s Norman and Jane Li Professor in Chemical Engineering, the technology utilizes ligand-assisted chromatography for separation and purification of rare earth and other critical elements from coal, coal by-products, ores, recycled permanent magnets and lithium-ion batteries. This Purdue technology has enabled ReElement Technologies to develop and construct a much-needed environmentally safer domestic supply chain of critical materials and offer this capability to U.S. producers of both recycled and ore-sourced rare earth metals. 

At the burgeoning LEAP District in Lebanon, Purdue is the educational partner of Eli Lilly & Company, where the Indianapolis-based pharmaceutical company is investing $9 billion. In the geographical center of the Hard-Tech Corridor, Purdue and Lilly will work together on new curricula for pharmaceutical training, experiential learning, and certificate and degree programs in pharmaceutical manufacturing, helping to grow pharmaceutical manufacturing in Indiana. The collaboration will expand Purdue’s talent pipeline to the company with students supported by the Lilly Scholars program, which helps Boilermaker students earn pharmaceutical manufacturing scholarships and unique learning opportunities with Lilly, one of the world’s most innovative pharmaceutical leaders.

Less than a mile from Lilly’s world headquarters, Purdue just announced the creation of the One Health Innovation District with Elanco Animal Health. A new shared-use facility on 3 acres on the western edge of the White River in Indianapolis, the One Health Innovation District is designed to deliver and scale up innovation where industry and academia can collaborate including office, wet lab and incubator space. This is in addition to the nearly complete 220,000-square-foot corporate headquarters of Elanco Animal Health, with an expected opening date in the second quarter of 2025. At this cutting-edge facility, human health, animal health and plant health will be jointly advanced by the nation’s leading companies and Purdue, the state’s top-ranked public university.

The next generation of Purdue motorsports engineers will hone their craft at the U.S. headquarters of Dallara, the largest multinational Italian race car manufacturer, located just steps from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The new facility will house space for classrooms, hands-on training and diagnostic testing for Boilermaker students studying in the only ABET-accredited motorsports engineering undergraduate program in the country. Many Purdue graduates from the program in Indianapolis have gone on to careers with motorsports manufacturers like Dallara, as well as in series such as IndyCar, the International Motorsports Association and the National Hot Rod Association, many of which have teams headquartered in central Indiana. 

Purdue also has a presence in the trendy Bottleworks District in downtown Indianapolis, thanks to an innovative collaboration with industry-leading venture studio High Alpha. Both the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business Executive Education and several Purdue Innovates programs will be housed at High Alpha, furthering Purdue’s pledge to create entrepreneurship opportunities, build startups and connect talents with industry in the capital city.

From Indianapolis to West Lafayette, among Purdue and its industry partners, the world’s most creative and innovative minds will continue to come together at the Hard-Tech Corridor to translate the country’s most pressing challenges into cutting-edge jobs, talent and knowledge. From transportation and aerospace to semiconductors and pharmaceutical manufacturing, Purdue propels forward the Hard-Tech Corridor for the future of our state. 

About Purdue University 

Purdue University is a public research institution demonstrating excellence at scale. Ranked among top 10 public universities and with two colleges in the top four in the United States, Purdue discovers and disseminates knowledge with a quality and at a scale second to none. More than 105,000 students study at Purdue across modalities and locations, including nearly 50,000 in person on the West Lafayette campus. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue’s main campus has frozen tuition 13 years in a row. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap — including its first comprehensive urban campus in Indianapolis, the new Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business, and Purdue Computes — at

Writer/Media contact: Derek Schultz,

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