Our state has long been known as the Crossroads of America – a natural intersection, where east-west and north-south thoroughfares meet, and where ambitious businesspeople and innovative thinkers share ideas and discover new opportunities. As science and commerce continue to evolve, the intersections that produce the next opportunities won’t be where roads cross, but where diverse sectors discover mutual interests and collaborative solutions that fuel the next 100 years of growth.
Indiana can still be a place where those dynamic intersections and collaborations expand the horizons of success. Our state is already home to an ecosystem of forward-looking industries; firms in information technology, finance, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and engineering are all represented. As an employee of Eli Lilly and Company who is engaged at BioCrossroads, I’m privileged to see some of these industries first-hand – and I can’t help but wonder how much more we could accomplish by working together. How much faster could we advance science and technology if we bring the big thinkers in these diverse industries together? How many more opportunities could we create for ourselves and our children – like my own middle-school-aged daughter?
Over the summer, the first Inject Tech Challenge started chasing those questions. A cooperative effort of organizations like BlackInk IT, Indiana University, Kronos, Roche, and Taft Law, the Challenge is a digital health competition designed to spur collaboration between local life science and technology professionals and identify entrepreneurs throughout those two industries. The Challenge seeks unconventional, tech-driven solutions that can improve patient outcomes. Thirteen projects were submitted to this inaugural contest, and I know there are more ideas ready to emerge from our fertile community of innovators. The winners will be announced at the Indiana Life Sciences Summit, October 9-10 (https://www.biocrossroads.com/summit/) where our industry’s leaders convene to focus on the integration of technology into life sciences.
This inaugural Inject Tech Challenge is an exciting beginning, and it is clear that our diverse business sectors have even more opportunity to connect and innovate together. Soon, 16Tech (https://www.16tech.com/), an innovation community located on the near west side of Indianapolis, will provide the space for those intersections to occur organically. Cross-disciplinary action is vital to the future of our economy. Now is the time to reach across industries to ensure our state retains the ambitious and talented people we work so hard to train. Fostering these connections will ensure that Indiana is as important to the future of science and commerce as it has been in the past.
Vanessa N. Barth Ph.D. is the Chief Scientific Officer at BioCrossroads, and a Loaned Executive from Lilly Research Laboratories at Eli Lilly and Company.