May 2003


A Bold Idea Takes Shape:

IU’s New Emerging Technologies Center Dedicated in Indianapolis


            Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to participate in the State Leadership Summit sponsored by the Indiana Humanities Council.  The summit focused on the urgency of changing the status quo if we are to create the brightest possible economic future for Indiana.

            During a keynote address, physician/astronaut Mae Jemison gave us a physics and economics lesson.  She invited us to imagine her holding a ball above her head.  The ball represented a cluster of ideas.  She then asked, “How do you convert this ball of ideas from potential energy to kinetic energy?”  The answer, of course, is that you have to let the ball drop from your hands.  Ideas only fulfill their potential when you take the risk of testing their viability with actions.

            A few days later, May 19, I participated in the dedication of the Emerging Technologies Center, IU’s new business incubator on the north side of the Downtown Canal in support of the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative.  CILSI represents a release of the kinetic energy inherent in the cluster of potential energy that took shape a little more than a year ago when the life sciences initiative was born.  This partnership of business, university, and government is a major, focused, economic development strategy for Indiana that received a lot of attention at the Indiana Leadership Summit. 

            In addition to IU’s investing $6 million in public and private grants, the city gave $500,000 to the Emerging Technologies Center and overall has put more than $3 million in cash and land toward the life sciences initiative.  One of the greatest champions of the ETC and CILSI has been Mayor Bart Peterson, who said at the dedication: “The ETC is a major advancement in our goal for a more prosperous, progressive, and technologically advanced region. The success of companies assisted by the ETC will mean new jobs and new economic opportunities for our citizens.”

            David Goodrich, president of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and cofounder of the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, stressed the role of the ETC in encouraging entrepreneurship.  “The best minds in academia today want the ability to take their research into the marketplace and, by providing that avenue, the Emerging Technologies Center will help IU retain and attract the top talent that’s critical to a knowledge-based economy.”

            IU’s Advanced Research and Technology Institute owns and operates the ETC, which also now houses the Indiana Proteomics Consortium and the Indiana Health Industry Forum.  The Indiana Proteomics Consortium is a collaboration between Indiana University, Eli Lilly and Company, and Purdue University that leverages the research abilities of the three partners to identify entrepreneurial opportunities in research on proteomics.  The Indiana Health Industry Forum, a statewide nonprofit partnership organization of business, academe, and government, devotes itself to enhancing the economic growth and development of the health industry in Indiana, including linking life sciences entrepreneurs with appropriate business contacts.

            Among the businesses now leasing space in the incubator are The Haelan Group, a health care software firm; OptoSonics Inc., founded by Robert Kruger, an IU School of Medicine adjunct professor of radiology, which develops thermoacoustic imaging systems physicians use for diagnosis and treatment; and Sales Performance Partners LLC, led by President Susan Woods, a former adjunct professor at IU's Kelley School of Business, which provides broad business training and advice to scientists who want to know how best to sell their products.

            The basic purpose of the Emerging Technologies Center is to help start-up companies like these survive their first critical years of existence.  It will deliver a continuum of guidance and resources to tenants, helping them to grow and achieve commercial success.

            During the dedication of the new Emerging Technologies Center, Jerry Bepko, as IU interim president and president of the ARTI Board of Directors, announced the establishment of the Evan Bayh Center for Economic Development:  “The mission of the center will be to effect careful evaluation of the business climate in Indiana and to offer assistance in advancing economic development, especially in the life sciences.  Senator Bayh is dedicated to the development of a knowledge-based economy and higher education in the state and we honor that commitment with this designation.”


Indiana General Assembly Also Fuels Momentum of the Life Sciences Initiative

            In related developments, Indiana University’s strength in life sciences has been further boosted by the Indiana General Assembly, which approved bonding authority for four research and education buildings—three in the School of Medicine on the Indianapolis and Fort Wayne campuses and one in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington.

            The IU School of Medicine can now advance its plans for constructing a $15 million

Medical Information Sciences facility in Indianapolis, which will house the Regenstrief Institute, the Bowen Center, the Department of Public Health, the Center for Bioethics, the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, biostatics, and pediatric health services research.  It will be built on land given to IU by the city of Indianapolis. 

            Research III, a $33 million project, will expand the medical school’s laboratory capacity for research in cancer, genomics, and proteomics.  IU also will benefit from the legislature’s enactment of a bill which recognizes that research facilities are more costly to operate than education buildings.  It will fund operations of future buildings at a new two-tiered rate.  

            The Indiana General Assembly’s foresight and commitment is much appreciated.  It will not only allow our faculty to better compete for public and private funding for their research but will also provide new revenues to Indiana and create job opportunities in promising sectors of the state’s economy. 


And a Special Thanks to You . . .

            In the five months since Jerry Bepko became IU’s interim president, a lot has happened at IUPUI, as the previous news items make plain and as previous issues of these newsletters have chronicled year after year. 

            I have enjoyed the privilege and honor of serving as acting chancellor during this brief period, and I am now even more aware of just what a remarkable place IUPUI has become in its 34 years.  Each achievement is noteworthy in itself; but taken together, so many things are happening so quickly that we sometimes fail to see how truly extraordinary the progress has been, even in such a short time.    

            From my vantage point of the past few months, I can report that Jerry Bepko has left a legacy of optimism, self-confidence, and cooperation that will stand us in good stead as we look toward the challenges ahead.  There is every reason to believe that the best is yet to come. 

            Our new chancellor, Charles Bantz, will find a team of committed, capable people ready to move IUPUI forward in accord with his vision and into the ranks of the most effective and successful universities in the country—engaged locally with our community while advancing knowledge globally.

            IUPUI could not have achieved as much as it has without community support.  Central Indiana has needed a great university to serve as a source of renewable talent and ideas that will ensure future prosperity.  With support from Mayor Bart Peterson; the Indiana General Assembly; corporate and civic leaders; presidents of the city’s fine private colleges and universities; heads of museums, foundations, and other nonprofit organizations; superintendents of school districts; the academic administration of Indiana University and Purdue University; our alumni, and thousands of other individuals, IUPUI has come to reflect the collective hopes and aspirations of a community that is determined to become one of the world’s best.

            And the faculty and staff have done their part, too.  Despite offers to go elsewhere for higher pay, lighter work loads, or better surroundings, all but a few have elected to remain at IUPUI because of a calling to civic responsibility and a chance to see a dream come true.  People at IUPUI are still dreaming and still stretching.  With a new chancellor in place on June 1, there will be renewed energy and enthusiasm for making IUPUI and central Indiana an inspiration for the world as the very model of partnership between two great universities, the city and higher education, the discovery of knowledge and its wise use, aspirations and their attainment.

            As I step down from my acting role, and from the vantage point of seeing how things really DO converge in partnerships and collaboration, I’d like to thank you for your support and encouragement during this transition.  Together, we’ve made a link between the past and the future, from Bepko to Bantz, without losing momentum or confidence.

            The “future truly is here.”



                                                                                                William M. Plater

                                                                                                Acting Chancellor