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Landmark Study Highlights Indiana's Major Research Institutions
Indiana Ag Connection - 11/09/2017

From the state's earliest beginnings, research universities have contributed significantly to Indiana's society and economy. Indiana University, Purdue University and the University of Notre Dame have a powerful impact on our state with a combined 1.44 million living alumni, $1.3 billion in annual research expenditures1, and resources that touch all 92 counties. These universities are recognized among the top 150 best institutions in the world2 and boast alumni and faculty that include 73 National Academies Members, 20 Nobel Prize winners, and three World Food Prize recipients.

A new report by TEConomy Partners, The Importance of Research Universities, looked at four major functional areas of the state's three major research universities: knowledge expansion and innovation; economic development; the enhanced capabilities of human capital; and societal well-being and quality of life. The report provides a comprehensive look at their influence on the state and identifies areas of opportunity.

"These premier universities represent critical components within our economic ecosystem to produce and attract talent, anchor our communities and participate in innovation for the future prosperity of Indiana, and our country," David L. Johnson, president and CEO, BioCrossroads, said. "Their role is increasingly important in strengthening our society and economy, and the report highlights the need to advance their unique contributions to our state."

Bill Stephan, Indiana University vice president for engagement, said the focus of research institutions is to impact lives here at home, across the country, and indeed the world.

"At Indiana University this includes, among several initiatives, the Clinical Translational Sciences Institute from which laboratory discoveries and innovations more rapidly advance to the bedside, and funding Grand Challenges research projects to cure diseases, prepare for environmental change, and address the addictions crisis," he said.

Key statistics include:

- For the fall of 2016, the universities' combined enrollment exceeded 132,000 -- enough to fill every seat in Lucas Oil Stadium (70,000 seats) almost two times over.

- The 2015 research expenditures of Purdue University ($558.6 million), Indiana University ($544.2 million) and Notre Dame ($191 million) total almost $1.3 billion. Combined, these direct research expenditures exceed the direct annual economic impact of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on the state by more than four times.

- Between 2012 and 2016, Indiana institutions produced 59,115 academic publications. Indiana institutions produced 2.9 percent of all U.S. academic publications, despite the state comprising only 2.1 percent of the total U.S. population. Indiana is "punching above its weight" in terms of academic research output.

"Research is the life blood of a top-tier public research university, and one measure of our impact and contributions are publications from our faculty and students. Solving the big global challenges is a team effort, and Purdue is proud to foster a collaborative environment that enables our world-class faculty from diverse disciplines to combine their skills and address the world's most pressing problems," Suresh Garimella, Purdue's executive vice president for research and partnerships and the Goodson Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said.

Other areas of the universities' impact include Purdue University's agricultural extension services, Indiana University's excellence in music and the arts, and University of Notre Dame's extensive community engagement and service.

"The health and vitality of our local community and the surrounding region are essential to our students, faculty, staff, and their families," Thomas G. Burish, Charles and Jill Fischer Provost at Notre Dame, said. "We partner with leaders in South Bend and across the state in efforts to strengthen and diversify our economy and enhance quality of life throughout the region. For example, Notre Dame helped to lead the recent Regional Cities initiative, significantly increased our investment in the Notre Dame IDEA Center, which incubates and commercializes innovative technologies, and we are partnering with the City of South Bend on the MetroLab Network. In addition, our students and faculty have significant impact on the region through their volunteer and community service activities."

The research universities' significant impact makes vital and dynamic contributions to the state. Several programs are already underway to address opportunities outlined in the report, including enhanced university connectivity to collaborative research opportunities and tech transfer.

- The Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, which connects Indiana's world-leading life sciences corporate community to the research universities and includes funding from the State of Indiana;

- Purdue's $52 million partnership with Eli Lilly and Company; quantum computing partnership with Microsoft and $57 million agreement with Rolls Royce;

- Lilly Endowment's grant to the Indiana University School of Medicine to attract and retain talent and the success of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institute

- Notre Dame's expansion of its innovation and commercialization IDEA Center and hiring of an Associate Provost and Vice President for Innovation.

According to the report, one area for improvement is in the external federal research funding, particularly from Department of Defense grants. The full report, The Importance of Research Universities, as well as an infographic are available at www.biointellex.com, BioCrossroads' website for reports and educational information.

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