A development hailed as a way to more closely align Purdue University’s aerospace assets with the private sector officially opens Thursday in West Lafayette. The Purdue Research Park Aerospace District, which includes a new Rolls-Royce research and development facility, is part of the $1 billion Purdue Innovation District project. Purdue Foundation President Dan Hasler says for the first time, the Aerospace District will bring Purdue’s assets together in a package that says "Purdue is about aerospace and aviation." Hasler was joined on Inside INdiana Business Television by Rolls-Royce Vice President of Control Systems Iain James, who said the collaboration will bolster the already-strong connections between the company and the school.
James says a large percentage of the manufacturer’s 4,000 employees in Indianapolis are Purdue graduates and its presence in the district will help better leverage the university’s pipeline of talent. "We have about 600 (Purdue) alumni who work for Rolls-Royce in North America, most of which are in Indianapolis, so we recruit a lot of grabs and it enables us to get even closer to that and really pull the pipeline through," James said.
The Purdue Innovation District includes the Aerospace District and the high-profile $120 million State Street redevelopment partnership, which includes Purdue, the city of West Lafayette and Indianapolis-based Browning Investments LLC.