Purdue News

September 2006

A monthly letter from President Martin C. Jischke

Dear Purdue Partners,

At the Purdue board of trustees' meeting on Sept. 29, we took the first step in the long process that will culminate with approval of a state budget sometime next spring. Our trustees approved a biennial budget request that we hope will position the university to build on the progress we are making as an economic driver for the state.

Funds for competitive salaries and support for growth in research initiatives are Purdue's top priorities, but our proposal also includes an initiative called Indiana's New Manufacturing Economy. We believe the University can and should support business development in key sectors, including manufacturing, which remains the largest employer of Indiana workers.

Manufacturing will continue to be one of the pillars of Indiana's economy, but we must create and apply new technologies in order to make manufacturing processes as efficient as possible. Purdue's advanced manufacturing initiative is focused on making our state more competitive, building the economy and creating jobs.

The New Manufacturing Economy initiative asks the state to invest $5 million in fiscal year 2008 to help position Indiana in the advanced manufacturing economy of the future through the discovery of new technologies, rapid deployment of new products into the marketplace and work force education.

Components of the New Manufacturing Economy plan include:

• Manufacturing liquid fuels for energy independence by processing cellulose and other plant-based raw materials, as well as development of coal-to-fuel processes.

• Conducting pharmaceutical product research.

• Discovering technologies and techniques to enhance the competitiveness of Indiana manufacturers.

• Researching new products, processes and market development for value-added agricultural enterprises.

• Working to develop a state transportation, distribution and logistics sector that is more efficient and more secure.

• Utilizing Purdue's statewide campuses as strategic partners. All campuses would be involved in each element of the initiative, while emphasizing priorities unique to the regions they occupy.

A second initiative in the biennial budget request also is aimed at advancing the state economy. It seeks $1.2 million in new funding for Purdue's Technical Assistance Program. TAP connects Indiana businesses, local governments and health-care organizations with Purdue resources. TAP's current state appropriation of $1.1 million has remained essentially level for 10 years, while the program has brought tremendous benefits to the state and private industry.

Since its founding in 1986, TAP is credited — by its clients — with creating or saving 4,400 jobs, along with adding $340 million in increased sales, $71 million in new capital investments and $32 million in cost reductions. In 2005-06, TAP served more than 500 manufacturers, hospitals, high-tech firms, startups and not-for-profit organizations. It is one of the most productive investments the state has ever made, and I am certain that an increase in state support now will be just as rewarding.

Overall, the budget proposal is designed to allow the university to provide 3 percent increases for student aid, salary and benefits, and supplies and expenses. The increases are based on projected inflation rates and the need to provide competitive compensation for faculty and staff. Purdue also is requesting a total of about $10.5 million to support research for 2007-08. The state's support of research helps the university compete globally for funding. This research ultimately creates the initiatives that drive economic development.

• • •

During the Aug. 29 Lugar-Purdue Summit on Energy Security, Sen. Dick Lugar delivered a keynote address that outlined a comprehensive plan for supporting the development of alternatives to petroleum-based fuels, including ethanol and liquid fuels derived from coal. One month after the summit, the senator introduced the National Fuels Initiative of 2006 (Senate Bill 4000), which, he announced, is based on the keynote address he delivered in West Lafayette. Policy analysis done by Purdue experts also contributed to the bill.

The energy summit was a forum on this crucial global issue, and the discussion that began there continues among many of the participants. Purdue is determined to play a role in finding ways to reduce America's dependence on imported fuels.


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