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Life sciences to drive Purdue's next decade of building

January 26, 2011

Over the past decade, Purdue University has built Discovery Park into a thriving research and business incubation center, launching more than 30 companies and hosting dozens more. Now Purdue will spend more than $164 million to construct a Life and Health Sciences Quadrangle next to Discovery Park.

Purdue President France Cordova pulled together disparate details about the quad in her State of the University speech Tuesday. The quadrangle will house professors and student researchers in such fields as health, agriculture, pharmacy and veterinary medicine.

The idea, Cordova said, is to bring researchers in many fields into common space, promoting cutting-edge work.

“We are investing in infrastructure in an interdisciplinary field that would bring together our talented scientists, engineers and social scientists in areas of research and education important to our state’s future in the biosciences,” Cordova said, according to a transcript of the speech.

Already, Discovery Park is home to 1,000 professors and 3,000 student researchers. Purdue has spent nearly $120 million on the facilities there, which boast 102,000 square feet of research space and nearly 60,000 square feet of offices.

The new buildings will be added over the next 10 years. They include:

— Drug Discovery Building: $25 million
— Health and Human Sciences Facility: $53.7 million
— A cancer research expansion to Discovery Park’s Bindley Biosciences Center: $14.9 million
— An acoustics research addition to Herrick Labs: $12.5 million
— Ag and Life Sciences Building: $58 million

Cordova added that the buildings are designed to help Purdue compete for talented professors and researchers. “The Life and Health Sciences Quadrangle will help retain and attract the leading faculty and research grants that will further position Purdue to be a national leader in this rapidly evolving and important interdisciplinary field,” she said in her speech.

Discovery Park began in 2001 as a nanotechnology research and incubation center, but many of the companies it has spawned have been focused on health or life sciences. Also, since the launch of Discovery Park, major initiatives in Indiana have focused on life sciences, most notably Indianapolis-based BioCrossroads and the life science-focused venture capital it has raised.

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