State economic development officials want to make sure Indiana can respond quickly to opportunities when federal dollars are doled out for innovative projects in defense, new energy and microelectronics. As part of the response plan, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. is partnering with the Applied Research Institute to jointly develop innovative strategies to attract new businesses and support existing work. In addition to the partnership, current IEDC Executive Vice President of entrepreneurship and innovation Dave Roberts will transition into a new role as CEO of ARI.
“Speed is the new incentive, as Secretary [of Commerce Brad] Chambers likes to say nowadays,” said Roberts in an interview with Inside INdiana Business. “It’s certainly one of the key things that we want to focus on in terms of being ahead of the game, understanding what’s coming down the pike through our federal partners in DC, and just being ready to move more quickly than we might have in the past as a state.”
LISTEN: Roberts further explains the need for aggressive efforts to grow the state’s innovation sector.
ARI, also known as the Indiana Innovation Institute (IN3), works with academia, industry, and government. Roberts says in the early days of IN3, much of the work focused on seeking solutions for emerging technical challenges for the U.S. Department of Defense. But now, the partners look to position Indiana as a leader in semiconductor manufacturing, clean hydrogen fuel, and other advanced technologies through public-private partnerships.
“As we looked at ways that we could continue to advance the economy, the future principles, innovation is really one of those disruptive levering factors across nearly every sector that we’re talking about,” said Roberts.
Moving forward, the organization will also look to secure funding to boost research efforts with the Battery Innovation Center, Emerging Manufacturing Collaboration Center and the state’s tier 1 research universities. Roberts says ARI will also look to help grow the innovative research at the Westgate@Crane Technology Park in Odon.
“The companies that we’re attracting to the state now and the clusters around certain sectors like microelectronics and like battery storage and future energy technologies,” Roberts said. “These are setting the deck for our economy in the next 20, 30, 40 years. Not just 2022, but 2042 kind of economic development.”
The IEDC says the partnership is also about creating higher wage opportunities in a resilient, future-focused economy.
“The market continues to evolve and innovate,” said Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers. “Indiana’s enhanced focus and partnership with ARI will support Indiana’s unprecedented momentum in securing innovative investments supporting higher wage careers.”
Roberts says ARI will operate under a new professional services agreement with the IEDC, in a similar manner as Elevate Ventures as both organizations operate in close alignment with the IEDC, but as independent entities
Roberts will transition into his new role later this month.