Indiana University and Purdue University are proposing today to form a broad alliance that seeks to improve the state’s economy and its public health by fostering new research, bolstering companies in biology and health-related industries, and increasing the number of health-care professionals being trained in Indiana.
The universities say they plan to ask the Legislature to provide $35-million in each of the next two fiscal years to help create what the institutions are calling the Indiana Innovation Alliance.
The money would be focused on supporting medical, pharmaceutical, bioenergy, nanotechnology, and environmental research that has business applications, including the potential to spawn new companies. Funds would also be used to increase enrollment at Indiana University’s School of Medicine by 30 percent over six years and to expand the medical programs the school offers at eight regional centers.
Indiana and Purdue would collaborate with each other, and with businesses, to develop and share research and facilities. University leaders said they wanted to use the alliance to improve the state’s fiscal health and the health of its population.
“The cost of health-care benefits is a very significant factor when companies make decisions about where to locate,” said Victor L. Lechtenberg, Purdue’s vice provost for engagement. “Right now Indiana is at a disadvantage because we have a negative reputation that is backed up by statistics. For example, our rates of obesity, diabetes, and smoking are above average. The alliance will address those and other health factors.” —Sara Hebel