It's official. The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. on Tuesday announced plans to lease space in Electric Works.
The Journal Gazette first reported in November that IU officials were committed to taking up residence in the $248 million, mixed-use project's innovation district.
Tony Armstrong, president and CEO of the IU Research and Technology Corp., described the organization's goals.
“While Indiana University's primary focus in northeast Indiana will always be on our IU Fort Wayne campus, Electric Works provides us with a unique opportunity to tap into the entrepreneurial expertise of the IU alumni network in the region, as well as those associated with a broad range of entrepreneurial endeavors,” he said in a statement.
Jeff Kingsbury, a partner in Electric Works' developer RTM Ventures, praised the project's newest committed tenant.
“The Indiana University Research and Technology Corp. has proven itself as an entrepreneurial powerhouse across the globe,” Kingsbury said in a statement. “Their presence at Electric Works will not only deepen their commitment to northeast Indiana, it will serve as a bridge for connecting our region to the university's resources and its vast alumni network. From there, the possibilities are endless.”
The IU Research and Technology Corp. helps IU researchers commercialize their innovations. Since 1997, IU research has generated more than 3,000 inventions resulting in more than 4,000 global patent applications.
Support provided to IU innovation-based startups includes programming, work space, and introductions to investors and industry mentors. Entrepreneurs who partner with the IU nonprofit also apply for early-stage capital from the recently established $15 million Philanthropic Venture Fund.
The IU Research and Technology Corp. was named Tech Transfer Unit of the Year in 2018 by Global University Venturing, an analytics organization that tracks university startups and funds created to invest in university startups.
Armstrong said establishing a presence in Electric Works will allow the research and technology organization to maintain contact with the region's growing innovation network.
Details of the lease, including timing and space needs, are being determined, according to Bill Stephan, IU vice president for engagement and board chairman for the IU Research and Technology Corp. But officials expect the operation to mirror similar Indiana innovation districts in Fishers, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Crane, he said.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration in December awarded a three-year, $750,000 i6 Challenge grant to the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, which collaborated on the application with the IU Research and Technology Corp. The money is being used to help establish the Indiana Connected Health IoT lab in Fort Wayne.
The lab will experiment with technology to discover ways to improve health care.
IU officials described their research and technology arm as a “principal partner” with the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center and the Parkview Mirro Center for Research and Innovation at Parkview Health.
Mike Packnett, Parkview Health's president and CEO, said his nonprofit shares a commitment to develop dedicated research and innovation space at Electric Works.
“As part of the largest research university in the state, their presence at Electric Works is sure to be transformational for the region and we look forward to working alongside them in this new innovation district,” Packnett said in a statement.
John Sampson, president and CEO of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said the region will prosper from the partnerships that are forming and expanding.
“The Electric Works innovation district and the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the northeast Indiana region will benefit greatly from the expertise of the IU Research and Technology Corp.,” he said in a statement.
“As business and research emerge from the district, it is critical that ideas and innovation are brought to life in the marketplace of companies and investors,” Sampson said. “This is the heart of (the IU Research and Technology Corp.) acumen.”