updated: 11/18/2008 1:07:12 PM

Lilly Endowment to Fund New IU Institute

Inside INdiana Business.com Report

Lilly Endowment Inc. is giving Indiana University $15 million over five years to establish the Pervasive Technology Institute. It will develop advanced information technology and informatics innovations. IU President Michael McRobbie made the announcement during a groundbreaking for the university's Bloomington Incubator. The Pervasive Technology Institute will be one of the incubator's first tenants. It will also have a facility at Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis.

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Press Release

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie announced today that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the university $15 million over five years to establish the Pervasive Technology Institute, which will lead IU to a new level of achievement in developing advanced information technology and informatics innovations and delivering their benefits to researchers, educators, students and society.

McRobbie made the announcement at the groundbreaking for IU's Bloomington Incubator, a 40,000-square-foot facility, designed to accommodate life science and information technology start-ups, on university property at the intersection of 10th Street and the Ind. 45/46 Bypass. The Pervasive Technology Institute will be one of the first tenants of the Incubator, scheduled to open in July 2009.

“Creating the Pervasive Technology Institute is the logical next step to securing our position of leadership in the information technology field and will serve as a catalyst to our efforts to expand all of our research enterprises within the university and state,” McRobbie said. “It will build on nearly a decade of outstanding applied research work in information technology and on IU’s highly advanced IT infrastructure, much of it initially funded by the Lilly Endowment. We are deeply grateful to the Lilly Endowment for this grant – and for its extraordinary continuing support of so many aspects of the research and education mission at Indiana University.”

The Pervasive Technology Institute will draw on the success of the IU Pervasive Technology Labs, School of Informatics and other areas of expertise. It will expand the value of information technology in transforming scientific progress; create new ways to analyze and understand massive amounts of digital data; and perform new policy and computer science research to ensure that computer systems and networks can be used with appropriate privacy while protecting national security interests.

The Institute, which also will have a facility at IUPUI, consolidates the achievements of the Indiana Pervasive Computing Research Initiative (IPCRES), established at IU in 1999 with Lilly Endowment funding, which led in part to the development of the Pervasive Technology Labs and the School of Informatics, and brings in researchers who are at the forefront of innovations in informatics, information technology and their applications. Together with other university initiatives and the Indiana Economic Development Corp., TechPoint, BioCrossroads, Purdue University and others, it will continue real progress in establishing Indiana as a nationally recognized hub of innovation.

“The growth and development of this unique applied research enterprise, made possible by the generous support of the Lilly Endowment and the innovative and enterprising minds of our faculty and staff, is an invaluable resource to our university, said Bill Stephan, who as vice president for engagement oversees all of IU’s economic development initiatives. “Locating the Pervasive Technology Institute in the new Bloomington incubator positions these assets to have an even deeper impact across a broader spectrum of technology-based and life science initiatives and start-up companies—all of which will enhance the economic vitality of the state of Indiana.”

"The Pervasive Technology Institute builds on IU's growing stature for advanced IT in many areas of research," added Brad Wheeler, IU vice president for information technology. "It directly builds upon IU strengths that were developed through the 1999 Lilly grant, and the institute enables the university to compete at the highest levels for federal research funding."

The Pervasive Technology Institute, which reports to the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology, will be made up of three research centers:

The Digital Science Center will focus on creating an intuitively usable cyberinfrastructure with tremendous capabilities for supporting collaboration and computation. As an example, it will create new techniques to extend the benefits of supercomputers by creating new, simpler ways for scientists to harness their power.

The Data to Insight Center will create new tools to understand and gain insight from the vast quantities of data now produced in digital form. For example, the Center will create new tools to predict the course of severe weather with supercomputers and put those tools into the hands of forecasters.

The Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research will lead the creation of IT security policy, security monitoring tools and secure applications in critical areas of cyberinfrastructure, including personalized health. It will, for example, build new tools that allow elderly people with health problems to use personal digital assistants to track diet.

The Pervasive Technology Institute and its three centers will incorporate the labs established as part of PTL and components from the research and technology divisions of IU's University Information Technology Services office.

Craig Stewart, associate dean for research technologies in the Office of the Vice President for IT, will serve as executive director for the institute. Geoffrey Fox, professor of informatics in the School of Informatics and director of the Community Grids Lab, will direct the Digital Science Center. Beth Plale, associate professor of computer science in the School of Informatics, will direct the Data to Insight Center. Fred H. Cate, distinguished professor and C. Ben Dutton professor of law in the IU School of Law--Bloomington, will direct the Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.

Establishing the Pervasive Technology Institute sets forth a strategy that clearly aligns Indiana University's priorities in advanced information technology with those of federal funding agencies, particularly the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. It will help build a strong brand name to compete for federal research proposals at a time when Indiana and other states are aggressively pursuing economic development for high-tech companies.

The Institute will consolidate the successes and lessons learned from the Indiana Pervasive Computing Research Initiative, established in 1999 with a $29.9 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. that was secured by McRobbie as IU Vice President for Information Technology.

IPCRES led to the creation of the Pervasive Technology Labs (PTL), made up of six applied research labs, and helped accelerate the development of the IU School of Informatics. Scientists affiliated with Pervasive Technology Labs have produced 737 publications in peer-reviewed journals, conferences and books and registered 38 inventions with the Indiana Research & Technology Corp. IU has received $116.6 million in funding through grants or contracts led by PTL or in which it played a strong collaborative role. PTL has created at least 90 jobs through direct activities and additional jobs through a Capital Seed Fund invested with innovative Indiana companies.

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