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WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane), Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation will combine strengths to advance educational, research and development, and technology commercialization across Indiana and elsewhere, officials announced Monday (June 12).
The agreement will provide educational opportunities from Purdue’s Krannert School of Management and Purdue Polytechnic Institute; startup creation assistance from Purdue Foundry; increased tech transfer support from Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization; and company incubation space and amenities from WestGate@Crane Technology Park and Purdue Research Park. A dedication to launch the partnership is slated for July 24.
“The collaboration with WestGate establishes a valuable asset adjacent to the world-renowned Crane facility from which many Indiana residents can benefit,” Purdue University President Mitch Daniels said. “Combining the vast strengths of WestGate, Crane and other outstanding economic entities in Southern Indiana with Purdue’s educational, tech transfer and startup creation programs will provide many immediate and long-term educational and economic opportunities for people in the entire region.”
Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation have a history of partnering with NSWC Crane in technology commercialization including a technology transfer showcase in 2014, technology transfer collaboration in 2015, and a 2016 award for its technology transfer partnership.
As part of the agreement, Purdue University and Purdue Research Foundation will provide:
• Staffing, including a program manager and programming, at the WestGate@Crane Technology Park.
• Intellectual property support and a WestGate Express License to expedite Purdue and NSWC Crane IP commercialization.
• Entrepreneurs-in-residence to assist with startup creation.
• FireStarter program to guide entrepreneurs through the “Ideation” and startup development process.
• Support amenities offered to Purdue Foundry clients and Purdue Research Park tenants.
• Krannert School of Management NSF Midwest I-Corps™ Node.
• Purdue Polytechnic Institute educational services and classes in the business and technology sectors.
The Purdue Foundry will bring its successful entrepreneurial programs to encourage startup creation from Purdue and NSWC Crane innovations.
“Our footprint at this site is already strong, but bringing the full compendium of what we do in West Lafayette will do much to increase commercialization and startup creation,” said Greg Deason, senior vice president of Purdue Research Foundation and director of innovation and commercialization for the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship in Purdue University’s Discovery Park. “In addition to the programming we plan to provide, we will establish popular networking events like our Foundry Grounds and Spirited Entrepreneur to the area. We believe the collaboration between Purdue and WestGate can move the economic development needle for the whole region.”
Expanded collaborations are in the works as well.
“Recognizing that many other fine Indiana universities are offering complementary initiatives, we encourage them to participate in this non-exclusive partnership,” said Dan Hasler, Purdue Research Foundation chief entrepreneurial officer. “Our hope is that the site will become a collaboration space for our other state university partners who wish to work from WestGate on an extended basis.”
Purdue is actively exploring opportunities to collaborate with Indiana University at WestGate.
“Indiana University will be pleased to partner with our Purdue colleagues at
WestGate, as we both recognize the importance of our state’s two public research universities working together to support education, research, economic development and related technology commercialization efforts in the region,” said Bill Stephan, IU’s vice president for engagement. “Moreover, we look forward to establishing an Indiana University office at WestGate to more effectively and regularly engage with our colleagues and partners.”
WestGate Authority President John Mensch said the collaboration is far reaching.
“This agreement enhances our outreach opportunities to a much higher level and enables us to offer a fully embedded ecosystem of technology education, innovation and commercialization for WestGate@Crane,” he said. “We are very excited to have Purdue take a bigger role at WestGate and look forward to collaborating with them while continuing to offer the great amenities and opportunities to our community and other partners.”
WestGate Authority covers the WestGate@Crane Technology Park, a certified tri-county technology park located in Greene, Daviess, and Martin counties; which includes the Battery Innovation Center. WestGate Authority already works closely with NSWC Crane Division, I-69 Innovation Corridor, Indiana Office of Defense Development, WorkOne and other local and state economic development entities. WestGate is the only multi-county tech park in Indiana.
Purdue Research Foundation already has ongoing collaborations with NSWC Crane.
“We have worked in partnership with the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization for the past three years with strong success in our technology commercialization areas,” said Capt. JT Elder, Commanding Officer of NSWC Crane. “Having Purdue establish a physical presence in our area will increase our collaborations in these activities and across the broader innovation eco-system.”
The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization will increase commercialization and startup programs already established at NSWC Crane.
“We plan to offer a ‘WestGate Express License,” which is something modeled after a license we have offered to Purdue entrepreneurs with great success since 2013,” said Brooke Beier, executive director of the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization. “The WestGate Express License reduces the time and process of obtaining a license for Purdue intellectual property as a template license with favorable terms and will be available for those companies that are basing their business out of WestGate.”
Educational opportunities through Purdue Polytechnic Institute and Purdue Krannert School of Management include classes for degree or continuing education.
“We currently have satellite locations across Indiana. Adding new offerings at WestGate will provide a valuable ongoing opportunity for professionals in the area,” said Gary Bertoline, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. “We plan to provide various courses, seminars and workshops as part of this collaboration.”
Purdue Krannert School of Management will launch an NSF Midwest I-Corps™ Node program at WestGate in the fall of 2017.
“We will focus the program on startups that are translating defense technologies and applications to commercial application,” said Matthew Lynall, Purdue associate professor of management and director of Deliberate Innovation for Faculty. “The program will be based on the existing I-Corps program offered at the Purdue Foundry and at other university entrepreneurship centers across the Midwest.”
Other partners with WestGate include the University of Southern Indiana’s SwISTEM Resource Center, an equipment lending service located in the technology park, and Radius Indiana, a regional partnership encompassing eight counties in South Central Indiana: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange and Washington.
“The agreement between Purdue, WestGate and Crane is really an agreement for all those involved in tech transfer, startup creation and economic development in Southern Indiana,” said Becky Skillman, chairman of the board for Radius. “Posting Purdue at the front door of Crane is a significant step for the region.”
“The timing is right,” added Hasler. “The WestGate Authority has done a super job getting WestGate to this point. Purdue is honored to add one more shoulder to the effort.”