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Larry MacIntyre
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2009

New IU Innovation Center is opportunity for synergy, success, McRobbie notes

Nov. 9, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's Innovation Center, a new $10 million home to university researchers and private start-up companies, was formally dedicated today (Nov. 9) by IU President Michael A. McRobbie.

IU Innovation Center

Photo by Aaron Bernstein

With a new asset like the Indiana University Innovation Center, above, that was dedicated today (Nov. 9) in Bloomington, IU could surpass the record it set last year when it filed 167 patent applications.

Print-Quality Photo

Citing an array of success stories previously sprung from collaborations between Indiana University and private companies -- the breathalyzer, the lie detector, fluoride toothpaste -- McRobbie idealized on the future for a 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility being envisioned as a key component of the president's Innovate Indiana initiative.

"This new facility focuses squarely on incubating and translating the most creative research inventions and innovations from IU's faculty, staff and students into new companies and products," he said. "In doing so, it will contribute to the economic development of Bloomington and Indiana. We also expect that this facility will provide a hub for partnerships between the IT and life sciences industry and IU researchers, as well as an outstanding environment for IU students to learn and participate first hand in entrepreneurship."

The Innovation Center, located at 2719 E. 10th St., houses the IU Pervasive Technology Institute (PTI) and will soon provide offices for the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of the IU Kelley School of Business, the IU School of Informatics, and IU Research and Technology Corp. (IURTC) administrators and staff.

"To answer increasingly complicated questions about the building blocks of life, treatments for disease and the safety of our environment -- to offer just three of thousands of examples -- increasingly requires experts from multiple disciplines," McRobbie said. "And these are not just the scientific disciplines. To translate those answers into goods and services that will help society requires the business acumen so concentrated here at Indiana University."

The path from innovation to implementation has been a fruitful one for IU already this year, he pointed out with references to Angel Learning and Therametric Technologies.

Earlier this year Angel Learning, a company that began at IU's Emerging Technology Center in Indianapolis, was sold for $100 million, making it the largest single technology commercialization transaction in Indiana University history. Another IUETC company, Dr. George Stookey's Therametric Technologies, will grow out of IUETC and move to a larger facility in Noblesville. Stookey, McRobbie pointed out, was involved in some of the earliest fluoride toothpaste research while a graduate student at IU.

And besides an earlier $30 million dollar gift from Lilly Endowment Inc., PTI this year received an additional $15 million award from that endowment. PTI is home to three research centers: the Digital Science Center, the Data to Insight Center and the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.

Considered an anchor for the new technology corridor developing along the 10th Street site and planned to expand north along the Ind. 45/46 Bypass, the center will complement a range of life science and technology-based enterprises locating in the area, including the new IU Data Center and the recently-funded Cyberinfrastructure Building that will house many of the University Information Technology Services staff.

The second floor of the Innovation Center will offer specially equipped wet-lab space ideally suited for bio and life science start-up companies.

"Bringing together so many people from across the university creates a heightened environment for innovation in which solutions are right around the corner rather than being across campus, across town or an hour up the highway," McRobbie said. "This is the kind of synergy that led IU faculty and staff to file a record 167 patent applications just last year. This is the kind of synergy that led to 1,839 inventions, 466 patents and 38 startup companies growing out of IU research. And this is the kind of synergy that has led to over $2.1 billion in sponsored research awards for IU researchers over the last five years. That is more than all of Indiana's other public and private research universities combined. And this kind of synergy translates into economic development for the city of Bloomington and the state of Indiana."