Purdue Aims To Expand Corporate Sponsorships For Research

Jan 9, 2017

Purdue University is seeing more research funding from its corporate partners, a trend that has officials hoping they can be less reliant on public funding.

Purdue gets about a quarter of its research funding from the private sector. An average of 500 companies chip in every year.

But the school’s corporate and global partnerships officer, Dan Hirleman, says the funds those companies contribute have increased from $37 million in 2013 to as much as $55 million the past few years.

Meanwhile, federal funding, which covers most of the rest of the research, is not increasing.

So Hirleman says Purdue wants to add more corporate partners, especially in pharmaceuticals and other manufacturing fields.

“A large number of our faculty are interested in seeing the near-term impact of their innovations,” Hirleman says. “Of course, they want to do fundamental research, basic research, too, but also be involved in research that ends up changing lives in a couple of years.”

Purdue’s latest partner is Japan’s Sumitomo, which will fund Purdue research on crop science and chemical engineering projects. Hirleman says they chose Indiana, in part, because Japan already backs more business here than in any other state.