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Foundations as Partners in TBED Strategies

November 02, 2001

Philanthropic individuals and foundations are increasingly vital contributors for tech-based economic development, particularly for "big-ticket" initiatives. Most gifts, such as that covered in the second item below, are tied to a specific relationship with a university or field of research, working independently of the strategies or programs developed by state or local tech-based economic development organizations. The continuing work of the Heinz Endowments in Pittsburgh and single large donations, such as the $1 billion Stowers gift announced last Spring (see the May 18, 2001 issue of the SSTI Weekly Digest), are noticeable exceptions.

The series of sizable gifts made by the Lilly Endowment, including the latest donation described below, also are an exception in that they collectively could influence the state's S&T strategy where single gifts would have less of an impact.

Purdue Gets $26 M from Lilly for TBED

The Lilly Endowment has awarded Purdue University a grant of almost $26 million for its new Discovery Park, a complex for advanced interdisciplinary research, education, and entrepreneurship. The gift brings the Lilly Endowment's total recent donations toward improving Indiana's competitive position in research and tech-based economic development to more than $250 million. In September, Pervasive Technology Labs at Indiana University received a $30 million grant from the Lilly Endowment to launch three new laboratories dedicated to researching diverse aspects of computing (see also the Oct. 15, 1999 edition of the SSTI Weekly Digest)

Purdue will leverage the new grant and state funding with existing university funds, private donations and federal research support to create the $100 million park. Initial plans for the 40-acre site on the west edge of campus call for centers to house research in nanotechnology, bioscience/engineering and e-enterprises. Groundbreaking on the first of those buildings, the $51 million Birck Nanotechnology Center, occured in September.

The park also will include an entrepreneurship center to help transfer research findings into products and services. It will be the home of:

  • The Technology Transfer Initiative, which will research issues industry encounters when trying to license and market new technologies and products. It also will help faculty design courses to teach entrepreneurship.
  • The Purdue Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, in which undergraduates work with 

    community service agencies to find ways to use technology to solve problems and improve services.
  • The Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Competition, in which engineering and management students work together to demonstrate their ideas for new products or services and show how they could be developed into profitable businesses.
  • The Innovation Realization Lab, which pairs engineering and management graduate students on projects to help them understand the way research fits in with social and commercial needs.
  • Forums where graduating students can present business plans to business and community leaders.

More information on Discovery Park is available at here

$600 Million Donation to CalTech Targets Research, Technology

The California Institute of Technology has received two gifts totaling $600 million, half from Intel cofounder Gordon Moore and his wife Betty and half from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Together they are the largest donation ever to an institution of higher learning. Moore said the gift is intended to allow Caltech to continue to do what it does best — collaborative work between disciplines — and to keep Caltech on the forefront of science and technology. The foundation's grants of $300 million over a 10-year period and the Moore's $300 million gift over five years are for educational and scientific programs to be mutually agreed upon. More information is available at: http://pr.caltech.edu/media/Press_Releases/PR12193.html