April 22, 2024

Purdue’s Manufacturing and Materials Research Laboratories announces new Indianapolis presence

MMRL’s Indy footprint at 16 Tech Innovation District will fuel manufacturing excellence across the Hard-Tech Corridor 

INDIANAPOLIS — In an effort to accelerate physical, digital and sustainable manufacturing efforts across Indiana, Purdue University’s Manufacturing and Materials Research Laboratories (MMRL) will establish a presence in Indianapolis at 16 Tech Innovation District, the city’s destination for innovation and entrepreneurship, deep inside the heart of the Hard-Tech Corridor. MMRL will locate in 16 Tech’s Machyne makerspace, the region’s leading makerspace for prototyping. This latest announcement comes just before the official launch of Purdue University in Indianapolis, Purdue’s new, comprehensive urban campus in Indiana’s capital city, on July 1.

“Manufacturing, or ‘making,’ is the core pillar of who we are as Boilermakers,” said Ajay Malshe, inaugural director of MMRL and the R. Eugene and Susie E. Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering. “Having a significant presence for MMRL in Indianapolis will empower Purdue, along with industry and government partners in central Indiana, to accelerate manufacturing excellence across the Hard-Tech Corridor for opportunities and wealth creation in Indiana.”


With its flagship location in West Lafayette, MMRL collaborates with industries and foundations, accelerates tech commercialization in manufacturing, and attracts top talent. As one of the first offshoots of Purdue’s eXcellence in Manufacturing and Operations (XMO) initiative, MMRL brings together world-class Purdue faculty and staff from top-ranked schools such as Mechanical Engineering, Materials Engineering, Industrial Engineering and Nuclear Engineering, with a concentration on manufacturing research and experimentation. 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 new foothold in Indianapolis, MMRL will have a robust workforce-development component and intentional technology-uptake efforts, ensuring critical job creation and local impact while sustaining national security.

“With a dual presence in West Lafayette and Indianapolis, MMRL’s faculty, staff and students will operate across the Hard-Tech Corridor as one unit in partnerships with organizations of consequence to achieve shared goals for the state of Indiana,” said Dan Hasler, chief operating officer of Purdue University in Indianapolis. 

Indiana is a manufacturing leader. Manufacturers in the state generate a nine-figure economic output and employ over 500,000 workers, according to a recent study by the National Association of Manufacturers. Manufacturing as a share of state GDP is higher in Indiana than in any other state, at 25.7%, with more than 1 in 5 Indiana residents currently working in advanced manufacturing. Both production and capital investment are returning to, and staying within, the borders of the U.S., and initiatives like MMRL uniquely position Purdue to fulfill that domestic workforce need with job-ready graduates. “The Indiana Next Generation Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC) node, in partnership with MMRL at Purdue University in Indianapolis, will be part of this joint venture, with a focus on applied manufacturing research, learning and technology transfer,” said Arvind Raman, the John A. Edwardson Dean of the College of Engineering.   

Purdue will also partner with Conexus Indiana, an organization with a powerful network of industry, education and public-sector leaders that is working to strengthen Indiana’s competitive advantage in advanced manufacturing and logistics. The shared goal of Conexus and Purdue is to drive industry innovation and develop homegrown talent to ensure Indiana will be a global leader in the advanced manufacturing sector for generations to come.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a steady increase in the manufacturing industry’s adoption of advanced technologies,” said Fred Cartwright, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “As industry technology adoption scales and more small- to midsize businesses digitize operations, the skills they need from their workforce will continue to shift in tandem. We’re eager to partner with Purdue University — as it grows its presence in Indianapolis and across the state — to fuel innovation and help build this essential future workforce for Indiana’s top industry sector.”

Innovation is leading the way in the manufacturing sector, as critical technology platforms such as digital twinning, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things and more are offered to industries of all sizes for new advancements, technology updates and workforce training at scale. 16 Tech is the perfect incubator for those innovations and technology uptake, fostering world-changing discoveries and economic opportunity in the heart of Indiana’s industrial center.

“MMRL is a perfect addition to 16 Tech and the Indianapolis ecosystem,” said Emily Krueger, president and CEO of the nonprofit 16 Tech Community Corp. “By locating in 16 Tech, MMRL joins a growing community that has the infrastructure to enable and scale interactions among university researchers, corporations and startups.” 

About Purdue University in Indianapolis

Purdue University in Indianapolis is a new, fully integrated extension of the West Lafayette campus, expanding the academic rigor and accessible excellence that Purdue is known for to central Indiana. As the state’s only public top 10 university, most trusted university and most innovative university, Purdue is focused and committed to strengthening its presence in Indiana’s industrial and technological center. Purdue University in Indianapolis will create an innovative, STEM-based collegiate experience by connecting future-ready Purdue students and faculty in Indianapolis to local businesses to accelerate Indiana’s STEM pipeline and tech ecosystem, fueling impact for our region and the world. Realignment of the existing IUPUI partnership will be completed by the start of the fall semester in 2024. Learn more about Purdue’s latest giant leap at https://www.purdue.edu/campuses/indianapolis/

About Conexus Indiana

For more than a decade, Conexus Indiana, one of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) non-profit initiatives, has been positioning the Hoosier State as the best place for advanced manufacturing and logistics industries to innovate, invest, employ and succeed. By collaborating with industry, academic and public sector partners on a shared vision for an innovative, skilled workforce and stronger business climate, Conexus Indiana has helped to create opportunities for advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, prepare Hoosiers to succeed in the state’s largest industry sectors and maintain Indiana’s competitive advantage. For more information, visit http://conexusindiana.com

About 16 Tech

Opened in 2020, the 16 Tech Innovation District is a growing destination for innovation and entrepreneurship and a driver of the tech enablement of the life-sciences and advanced manufacturing industries key to Indiana’s economy. Connected to diverse neighborhoods in downtown Indianapolis and intentionally resourced with facilities and programs to foster innovation, 16 Tech is home to three buildings with a variety of office, wet and dry lab spaces and makerspaces and 200+ innovation related entities that employ more than 800 people. At full build-out, 16 Tech anticipates more 2 million square feet of innovation related space that support 3,000 jobs.

Writer/Media contact: Derek Schultz, dcschultz@purdue.edu 

Sources: Dan Hasler, Ajay Malshe, Fred Cartwright, Emily Krueger

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