As part of its ongoing effort to help member institutions magnify their economic impact, APLU recently announced finalists for its 2016 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards. The awards honor institutions performing exemplary work to advance the economic wellbeing of their states, regions, and the nation through a variety of efforts. In this second installment in a three-part series, APLU spotlights Iowa State University and Purdue University, finalists in the “Innovation” IEP Awards category, for their outstanding work in technology transfer, entrepreneurship, and business development. One of the finalists will be named the Innovation category award winner Sunday, November 13 in Austin, Texas during the APLU Annual Meeting.
Iowa State University created the Iowa State University Research Park (ISURP) in 1987 to drive economic development in the region through university-industry partnerships. Today, the park employs 1,700 people and houses 65 technology-focused companies. Within the next ten to fifteen years, the research park expects to add an additional million square feet of space and for employment to reach over 6,000.
ISURP has developed the infrastructure necessary to guide fledgling companies through the challenges they face as start-ups. Crucially, companies working at the research park focus in disciplines that Iowa State excels at – agriculture, bio-science, animal health, and information technology – allowing Iowa State to help put its talent and resources to use helping emerging companies in the same fields flourish. The research park also encourages cross-company collaboration to drive innovation across tenants and even industries. Four of the state’s last five companies that issued Initial Public Offerings were ISURP companies. And 40 companies that have left the ISURP campus remain in Iowa, employing 2,500 people.
Purdue University launched its Discovery Park in 2001 to carry out large-scale interdisciplinary research. The Park works on solving vexing global challenges at the nexus of food, energy, water, the environment, health, and security. Pharmaceutical discovery plays a major role as well, with research spanning several major diseases, including: cancer, diabetes, obesity, immune and infectious diseases, and neurological disorders and trauma. The Discovery Park also houses the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery and the Bindley Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Facility.
Seventeen start-ups have been initiated by researchers at the Discovery Park in the past five years alone and more than 500 disclosures, patents, licenses/options were facilitated within the park. More than 100 new start-up companies have been seeded or assisted by the Discovery Park. And with 17 drug clinical trials in progress, Purdue is among the top institutions in the United States for drug discovery.