October 18, 2004
Purdue breaks ground on e-Enterprise Center at Discovery Park
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. Purdue University broke ground Monday (Oct. 18) for a center in Discovery Park that will house several initiatives that focus faculty research on "super projects" and Indiana's economic development.
The $10 million, 38,500-square-foot e-Enterprise Center, which will be located south of the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, is scheduled to be completed by spring 2006.
Purdue President Martin C. Jischke said, "The e-Enterprise Center over the past two years has been laying the intellectual and information technology groundwork to connect our researchers working in a variety of disciplines to solve societal problems. We call the largest of the multimillion dollar, multidisciplinary efforts 'super projects.'"Charles R. Rutledge, executive director of Discovery Park, said the e-Enterprise Center represents the interdisciplinary spirit of the park's huge building project on the west side of campus.
"It's very difficult to answer and address the most important and interesting questions from just one discipline," Rutledge said. "It is helpful to apply the tools of physics and chemistry to probe biological systems and have engineers design equipment, and then you can answer questions you didn't even think of asking before."
The new facility will be designed and engineered by the Indianapolis firm Brenner Design. Purdue is funding the building.
While the e-Enterprise Center is under construction, its director, Joseph Pekny, a professor of chemical engineering, is already at work with a team of IT specialists and program managers temporarily located in the Vistech Building at the Purdue Research Park. For two years the center has been providing critical help for Purdue researchers, assigning launch teams to quickly perform a variety of functions. The teams, for example, are called upon to create advanced software and databases that are essential for research, Pekny said.
"We provide an information technology infrastructure that would by very difficult, or perhaps impossible, for faculty to develop on their own," Pekny said. "Because we provide complex software and database tools, the faculty are free to concentrate on their own work without having to worry about computer issues."
Another goal of the center is to provide a meeting place for people of diverse backgrounds to interact and share ideas.
"We can bring dozens of faculty to bear on a problem in a strategic and systematic way," Pekny said. "Super projects can develop when we bring researchers from disciplines together or top-down when we look at a large societal issue or problem and focus our interdisciplinary resources on it."
Already, several centers and programs are part of the e-Enterprise Center and will occupy space in the new facility:
The Regenstrief Center for Healthcare Engineering will direct interdisciplinary research at delivering health care to consumers more efficiently and effectively. The Regenstrief Foundation has provided a three-year, $3 million start-up grant beginning in January. The Purdue center will apply process-engineering principles, such as supply-chain management and just-in-time manufacturing, to health-care delivery, following the flow of information, communication, funds and materials through the system to achieve better results and efficiency.
Some initial areas of interdisciplinary inquiry involving researchers from most of Purdue's schools will include improving safety and efficiency of patient care, providing more efficient deployment of physicians, nurses and other health-care personnel, and better coordinating inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as health communication.
The NASA Specialized Center of Research and Training for Advanced Life Support is supported by a $10 million, five-year NASA grant to design a self-sustaining environment for future space colonies. The center includes 24 researchers from Purdue and two historically black universities, Alabama A&M in Normal, Ala., and Howard in Washington, D.C.
Also part of the e-Enterprise Center are the Indiana Center for Cultural Exchange, Institute for Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology, Purdue Terrestrial Observatory and the biometrics laboratory in the School of Technology's industrial technology department.
The Center for Advanced Manufacturing will be located at the e-Enterprise Center. The manufacturing initiative, announced during the summer, is providing contract applied manufacturing research for existing companies, as well as helping attract new businesses to the state, creating opportunities for companies to launch new products and processes, and helping to alleviate what many refer to as Indiana's "brain drain."
John Sullivan, director of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and professor of aeronautical and astronautical engineering, said, "Joining Purdue's deep resources in manufacturing with Indiana's manufacturers will pay economic dividends for the state. Purdue has a long history of cutting-edge research in manufacturing, and we want to continue and enhance this work and transfer these advances to manufacturers. Job No. 1 at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing is to have Indiana manufacturers understand that we're open for business."
Located southwest of State Street and Intramural Drive in West Lafayette, Discovery Park includes the e-Enterprise Center; the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, which is completed; Bindley Bioscience Center and the Birck Nanotechnology Center, which are under construction; and Discovery Learning Center. The new Biomedical Engineering Building also will be located in Discovery Park.
The e-Enterprise Center groundbreaking is part of a 10-day celebration that focuses on ways Purdue is improving education and helping the state of Indiana as part of its strategic plan and $1.3 billion fund-raising campaign.
Writer: Mike Lillich, (765) 494-2077, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708
Charles Rutledge, (765) 494-7766, email@example.com
Joseph Pekny, (765) 494-3153, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Sullivan, (765) 494-3344, email@example.com
Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; firstname.lastname@example.org
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