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IU, Purdue to seek $70M for life science pact

June 19, 2008
Two years ago, Indiana University School of Medicine officials showed up at the Indiana Statehouse holding out their hands for $80 million. In exchange they promised to boost Indiana's life sciences industries and train more doctors for the state.

State lawmakers responded with a little money and a lot of homework. They gave IU $15 million and told the school, based in Indianapolis, to retool its plans to include other universities and all regions of the state.

Now, IU is ready to turn in its assignment - and ask for $70 million more.

IU and Purdue University announced plans today to create the Indiana Innovation Alliance. It would rope in businesses, government and other universities to help start and support companies working in biology and health.

The alliance would dole out matching funds to support research in medicine, public health, pharmaceuticals, biofuels, nanotechnology, health-care delivery and the environment.

The IU School of Medicine would use $5 million of the money each year to boost medical student enrollment by 30 percent over a six-year period. It also would expand programs from two to four years at its eight regional centers for medical education.

IU and Purdue plan to request the money from the Indiana General Assembly early next year.

Trustees at IU and Purdue will hold separate votes today and tomorrow to approve the concept for the alliance.

"The strengths of Purdue and IU in the sciences, engineering, business and the medically related disciplines are formidable," Purdue President France A. Cordova said in a statement. "If we concentrate those strengths on building the state's economy, the world will notice, and the end result will be a stronger economy, better jobs for Hoosiers and healthier people."

IU President Michael A. McRobbie said in a statement, "The more we cooperate and collaborate, the more success we will achieve in these important goals." He added, "It means we will be able to marshal the resources and capacity we need to be competitive with the nation's top tier of life science research centers."

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