(photo courtesy of Purdue University Northwest)

Purdue University Northwest alumnus David Roberts and wife Susan Roberts have donated $3 million for a planned Impact Lab. The university says the Roberts Impact Lab at PNW will be a workspace for entrepreneurship, innovation and education collaboration.

PNW says the lab will serve as a northwest Indiana regional hub to spur economic development, including incubating new businesses, scaling existing businesses, and providing space for development and testing.

“Susan and I have dedicated our gifting to two causes: medical research and the education of students studying engineering and technology,” David Roberts said. “When PNW Chancellor Tom Keon and Dean Niaz Latif approached us about the opportunity to invest in the Impact Lab, it took very little time for us to say yes to the opportunity to create a place for students, educators and entrepreneurs to collaborate on innovative ideas and concepts that will strengthen the manufacturing base in Northwest Indiana.”

PNW says the lab will feature an advanced manufacturing technology laboratory, makerspace, and research and development space, which will be overseen by PNW faculty.

“Unlike a traditional incubator, which is typically limited to developing new concepts and bringing them to market, the Impact Lab will also work with existing businesses on ‘intrapreneurship,’ allowing them to interact more closely with experts and entrepreneurs in an environment free of internal constraints,” said Matthew Wells, director of External Engagement and Partnerships at PNW.

The university says it is currently evaluating potential sites near campus and located within vibrant commercial corridors.

The Robertses previously made donations to fund the David Roberts Center for Innovation and Design and the Commercialization and Manufacturing Excellence Center. David Roberts previously served as group vice president with the Marmon Group LLC, chief executive officer of Graco Inc. and CEO of Carlisle Companies Inc.

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