Published March 2018; Updated January 2020
Why should corporate R&D professionals have all the fun? Thanks to Purdue's Bechtel Innovation Design Center (BIDC), the joy of innovation — to take on a challenge with teammates and solve a problem with ingenuity and hard work — isn't reserved just for graduates in the working world.
Come one, come all
Students from a variety of majors have rolled up their sleeves at the new, $18.5 million BIDC since it opened in September 2017. During its first six months, the prototyping facility attracted 1,403 Purdue students who got busy on nearly 538 projects, including almost 1,980 3-D printing projects. See some of the action at BIDC's YouTube channel.
Real-world, here and now
BIDC is all about creative collaboration to solve practical problems using science, technology, engineering and math, the components of STEM. The center provides students of all schools and abilities peer-mentoring, and access to computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), machining, 3-D printing, laser cutting and engraving and waterjet cutting.
Students who thrive on challenge and love the satisfaction of creating and building something new have always had plenty of options within Purdue's innovation ecosystem. Other programs that help student innovators move new technologies to the public include:
- Purdue Foundry, a startup accelerator hub based in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.
- Express License, an accelerated way 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 online landing page, which guides innovators to the entrepreneurial resources they need
The BIDC is named for 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.