Discovery Park's Innovation Impact

Posted: Updated:
David Broecker David Broecker

Together with the city of West Lafayette, Purdue University is embarking on a transformational placemaking project to create a new innovation community called Discovery Park District (DPD). Comprised of more than 200-plus acres, more than $1 billion in new public/private development, and spanning the next 30 years, the vision for DPD is to create a so-called “smart community” that will become a destination for students, faculty, residents, companies, innovators, and entrepreneurs wanting to live, work, and play in a unique environment on the western half of the university campus. In addition, DPD will become a “learning lab” to test new ideas that will set the stage for the next 150 years of Purdue’s legacy as a leading land grant university.

Placemaking is both an art and science. The opportunity is to create something truly special that transforms a set of building projects into places and spaces where people interact and generate experiences that have impact and consequence. An example is the new Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration. The opportunity for this 140,000-plus square foot professional office building is to create the “business front door” for the university where companies can locate on campus and be beside the Purdue groups that drive external sponsored research, the commercialization of Purdue technology, the Foundry for start-ups, corporate training, and access to a student workforce.

In addition to this new avenue for entrepreneurs and established companies alike to begin a relationship with the University, we also have a unique opportunity to create a development that is innovative on multiple fronts – from a future-flexible infrastructure and connected devices, to advanced energy technologies and innovative multi-modal transportation solutions.The underlying energy infrastructure as well as Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure will need to provide the foundation for all technologies overlaying them for today as well as the next 150 years. This requires an integrated systems design for the District to ensure all separate systems – energy, “smart” technologies, transportation – are thoughtfully and technologically incorporated with an eye toward understanding how each system can impact another.  Done right, this area will become a hotbed for tech savvy companies and innovators wanting to test new innovations alongside a premier research university.

To better understand how to activate these aspects of DPD, the Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) has reached out to the Energy Systems Network (ESN) to help facilitate a two-day Innovation Workshop in mid-October. The goal of the workshop is to bring together approximately 50 people, including global subject matter experts; Purdue researchers, faculty, and staff; and corporate stakeholders to discuss big ideas and critical aspects of what makes a thriving, livable, high-quality smart community at DPD. Taking into account today’s technologies while being adaptable to future technologies and their infrastructure needs is a critical component of building a district that is truly innovative and emphasizes the “giant leaps” the university is focusing on during Purdue’s 150th anniversary.

David Broecker is chief innovation and collaboration officer of the Purdue Research Foundation.

  • Perspectives

    • Unmasking Accounting Data: Moving from Reporting to Being Strategic

      What story do our financial statements tell us this month and year, to date? This was the question that was always directed at us by a former manager.  He believed that financial statements tell the story of how a business is run and the direction it’s going. Most businesses publish their profit and loss statements, and balance sheets every month. These are the standard reports included in most reporting packages. Usually, the management tends to believe...


Company Name:
Confirm Email:
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections


  • Most Popular Stories

    • Apartment Building Development Coming to Rushville

      A Knightstown company has announced plans to build four new apartment buildings in a $5.25 million development in Rushville. Villa Buildings will be built by KDC Investments, Inc on West 16th Street in Rushville.

    • The Mystery of Cancer in Firefighters: Two Indiana Researchers Uncover Clues

      There’s a lot of conjecture about cancer in the world of firefighting, but a crescendo of anecdotal—and scientific—evidence is driving two Indiana researchers to search for answers. 

    • BraunAbility Moving Global HQ to Carmel

      A manufacturer of wheelchair vehicles and wheelchair lifts in Pulaski County has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters to Carmel. BraunAbility says it will invest $7.5 million to move its HQ to the Lakeside Green Business Center and construct a new Research & Development and Technology Center. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the move will create up to 70 jobs in Hamilton County. The company says the investment will also boost its existing...

    • Indy Eleven Rallies For State Stadium Support

      Indy Eleven leadership, players and fans Thursday rallied at the Statehouse for support of a measure creating a public-private partnership to help fund a $150 million soccer stadium. Lawmakers are considering a measure that would allow the team to work with city leaders for two years on development plans for the venue, which would be funded by developer-backed bonds. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, team owner Ersal Ozdemir said the...

    • Emplify Celebrates Record Growth

      Fishers-based Emplify is touting a record year of sales and hiring growth in 2018. The company, which focuses on employee engagement measurement software, secured $7.5 million in growth investment and says it saw a 156 percent increase in sales last year.