October 31, 2023

Whitten to invest $250 million in life and health sciences

Indiana University President Pamela Whitten delivered her second State of the University address Monday on IUPUI's campus.  - Courtesy Photo

Indiana University President Pamela Whitten delivered her second State of the University address Monday on IUPUI's campus.

Courtesy Photo

Indiana University President Pamela Whitten detailed major investments in life science institutes, faculty, facilities and research in her State of the University address Monday. 

Whitten announced funding for two new research institutes: the Convergent Bioscience and Technology Institute and the Institute for Human Health and Wellbeing. IU Bloomington and IU Indianpolis will see more development.

These investments will total more than $250 million. 

“The Institute for Convergent Bioscience and Biotechnology and the Institute for Human Health and Wellness will spearhead research endeavors aimed at improving the health of Hoosiers, attracting investments, fostering innovative startups and bolstering Indiana's vibrant biotech industry,” Whitten said.  

On IUPUI’s campus, Whitten highlighted the university’s IU 2030 strategic plan thoughout her speech.  

These health and life science investments follow IU’s recent annoucement to spend $111 million on microelectroncs and semiconductors in the next few years. Whitten said the univerisity will make “strategic connections” between IU research and state and federal economic efforts. 

"These two significant research investments in microelectronics, nanotechnology, and the life sciences will not be funded by tuition and fee increases, but will leverage existing funds,” Whitten said. “These initiatives not only bolster IU’s research enterprise, but they also support the third pillar of IU 2030  contributing to the future states quality of life and economic development.” 

She said the university has two choices as the higher education landscape changes: comfort or transformation. 

“We choose the path of transformation and progress, a path that gives us a clear view of the challenges ahead and the fortitude, flexibiliy and conviction to embrace them,” she said.  

Millions going toward life sciences and research 

Whitten highlighted some of IU's investments and plans over the next few years.  

The Convergent Bioscience and Technology Institute will focus on “quickly delivering IU health and sciences innovations from the bench to bedside,” according to a release.  Russell Mumper, IU's vice president of research, said this institution will focus on artificial intelligence, drug discovery, new types of medical sensors and wearable devices.

The Institute for Human Health and Wellbeing aims to meet community needs and improve health outcomes in Indianapolis, a release said.  Mumper said the institute will be engaged with the community and health care providers. 

Whitten said IU will begin the search for directors of the two institutions soon. 

Mumper said the university is moving “very quickly” after the annoucement of the two institutes. He said starting Monday, there will be strong push to parter with industry health care providers and to build up demand for related degree paths.

“We will be moving forward within the next year with great acceleration,” he said.  

IU received $60 million from Indiana’s General Assembly to build up STEM research and laboratory spaces. IU has promised to use these funds to create the Science and Technology Corridor in Indianapolis.  

An 11-story medical research and education building is set to finish by 2025, with $30 million going toward an additional 48,000 square feet. 

IU Bloomington will get some funding as well. Whitten said Bloomington can expect “state of the art” STEM technologies and equipment.  

The campus will see $47 million over the next five years to recruit more health, bioscience and biotech faculty. Over $46 million will go toward faculty startup costs for new faculty. For labs and research, $30 million is dedicated for renovations.  

This story was updated to include quotes and information from President Pamela Whitten and Vice President for Research Russell Mumper.

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