The FORCES program is designed to support IUPUI researchers in the successful transformation of their research findings into commercially viable outcomes. The key goals of FORCES are to support: 1) realization of short-term projects that will enhance commercial value of IUPUI intellectual property assets, by facilitating commercialization of inventions, technologies, or other intellectual property derived from existing research projects, and 2) development of research initiatives that show great promise for commercialization of the research outcomes. The next RTR application deadline is September 15, 2014. For grant guidelines and application forms, go to http://research.iupui.edu/
The Enhanced Mentoring Program with Opportunities for Ways to Excel in Research (EMPOWER) has been developed to support IUPUI faculty who are historically underrepresented and/or excluded populations in their discipline or area of scholarship and historically denied admission to higher education or that discipline, 1) to become successful in sponsored research and scholarly activity, and 2) to achieve significant professional growth and advancement. The program sustains mentorship opportunities through the EMPOWER Grant Program, supporting achievement of excellence in research and scholarly activity, and optimal attainment of academic career goals and objectives. The next EMPOWER application deadline is September 5, 2014. For grant guidelines and application forms, go to http://res! earch.iupui.edu/funding/.
The engineering professor pokes his head in a fuel cell lab. There, researchers are trying to replace hydrogen in fuel cells with ethanol, by fermenting food waste.
“We thought baked potatoes would be the best, but baked beans trounced ‘em,” Schubert says.
He cuts across a corridor to a battery lab, where the goal is to improve lithium batteries. One approach uses air instead of liquid in the battery’s internal workings, so it doesn’t explode as readily, Schubert explains.
From there it’s off to a manufacturing space along Michigan Street where a team built a biomass gasifier, a complex machine worthy of a Rube Goldberg contest. It can make hydrogen from corn stalks or other plant material and also generates enough heat to supply hot water or space-heating needs for a home or business.
“You could run a farm with energy from waste,” Schubert says, pointing to the contraption.
Used to be the engineering school at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis didn’t delve deeply into R&D. Faculty and staff focused on teaching and would leave the research to the main Purdue campus in West Lafayette. But that’s changing, in large part thanks to the Lugar Center for Renewable Energy headed by Schubert, who comes from private industry and has an Edison-like inventive urge.
Since becoming the center’s director in late 2011, Schubert has grown its research staff to 44 and brought on board 13 entrepreneurs-in-residence (mostly retired scientists and business types). The research has spawned four start-up companies and almost more projects than Schubert can track.
The center accounted for almost a third of the 54 patent applications and 69 invention disclosures coming out of IUPUI’s engineering school last year. Both the invention and patent counts have more than doubled since 2010, said David Russomanno, who’s overseen a growth spurt at the school since taking over as dean four years ago.
Last year the school expanded into the $27 million Science and Engineering Laboratory Building, where the Lugar energy center was given two labs and brand new office space.
For Schubert, who holds a Ph.D. in engineering from Purdue and is a prolific inventor with over 40 patents to his name, directing the Lugar energy center seems a perfect fit.
“He’s a brilliant man. He’s involved in so many areas of renewables. He is way out on the cutting edge,” said Lee Saberson, a retired engineer for Emerson Electric and other companies who consults with the center as an entrepreneur-in-residence.
Schubert developed an interest in green energy out of self-interest. He got his driver’s license in the 1970s when the Arab oil embargo sent pump prices soaring.
“Just when I’m about to drive, there’s no gas,” he recalls. Later, the teen-aged Schubert was chagrined to read a flyer about how the Soviet Union was out-distancing the United States in nuclear fusion, and his career in energy research was sealed.
Schubert spent 22 years at auto parts maker Delphi Electronics in Kokomo (becoming a member of its hall of fame) and five years at the original Packer Engineering in Naperville, Ill. At Packer, Schubert had a loose leash to do research that “helped society.” Among his work: designing space-based solar power systems and getting a patent on turning asteroids into silicon.
When Packer auctioned off much of its intellectual property in 2012, Schubert used $10,000 in university funds to buy the hydrogen storage and other technologies he helped develop while working there. Those patents are now driving some of the research at the Lugar energy center.
“What are the large problems facing humankind? I always thought energy is at the heart of it,” Schubert says. “My overriding passion is developing technologies that help humans live in peace. It’s just a blast. I have fun every day.” As for his research staff, “We’ve got some really awesome people here.” he says.
Russomanno says the Lugar energy center under Schubert “really has been a catalyst for increasing the awareness of the work we are doing around energy.”
“Peter brings a lot of enthusiasm to the directorship. He is a great ambassador.”
The center gets its name from Lugar, the six-term U.S. senator from Indiana who retired from the Senate last year. He used his clout in Congress to direct federal funding to IUPUI to pay for research on lithium ion batteries and fuel cells. They remain a focus of the center’s research.
Lugar’s name lends the center credibility and helps with fundraising, says Schubert. At least some of the time. Last year Schubert sought donations to endow a chair at the center and no one donated. This year Schubert is taking a different tack, asking for money from utilities around the state to fund renewable energy research. At least one has agreed to write a check, he says.
What the center really needs to distinguish itself, Russomanno says, is a multi-million-dollar grant that would fund a significant project with multiple researchers.
But even with a retired U.S. senator on your masthead, that’s hardly a given. Energy research grants are among the most competitive to land, with fewer than one in ten federal applications approved, Russomanno says.
That’s why the center also aims to commercialize its research. Saberson says he has high hopes for the commercialization of a circuit, developed by one of the center’s researchers, that efficiently converts solar-energy-derived DC power to AC. The circuit allows solar panels to feed power back into the electrical grid.
“We’re excited that it’ll be commercially very viable,” says Saberson, who’s helping publicize the circuit to potential users and investors.
The IUPUI engineering school’s most successful commercial spin off was educational software called ANGEL Learning that one of its professors created. The course management software, used by high schools and colleges, was bought in 2009 by Blackboard Inc. for $95 million.
Proceeds from that academic success story paid handsome dividends to the engineering school. It used $5 million from the Angel Learning commercialization to help pay for the Science and Engineering Lab Building.
Schubert has little doubt one of the Lugar energy center’s research projects could pay off in a similar way. Maybe that crazy biomass gasifier will catch the eye of a moneyed investor. Or his researchers will perfect a way to replace expensive platinum in fuel cells with ethanol from leftover baked beans.
Call Star reporter Jeff Swiatek at (317)444-6483. Follow him on Twitter: @JeffSwiatek
IU Internal Deadline: 10/1/2014
The Office of Academic Affairs is pleased to announce matching support for academic conferences or symposia organized by faculty members or professional staff and convened in Indianapolis [preferably at IUPUI] between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. Those events that bring external audiences to IUPUI will be given preference. Awards will be made up to $1,500 if matched equally by the school or department.
Requests must predate the conference or symposium by at least one month. The Office of Academic Affairs will review submissions and make awards. Successful applicants will acknowledge IUPUI support in all publicity and in any publications resulting from the conference or symposium.
Brief proposals (not exceeding two pages) should be submitted with the completed application form, and should include:
*topic, objectives, and description of the conference or symposium
*summary (up to one paragraph) of the background of each prospective and/or confirmed speaker or key participant
*expected outcomes of the conference (impacts across the IUPUI campus, press releases, proceedings, publications)
*budget: categories include honoraria, food, lodging, travel, and supplies (awardees should consult with the Office of Research Development to determine allowable expenses for receptions or social events)
Please submit IUPUI Conference Fund applications to Melissa Lavitt, Ph.D., Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs [firstname.lastname@example.org] in the Office of Academic Affairs, AO126.
The 2014-2015 IUPUI Conference Fund Proposal Form is available here.
Most Americans spend the majority of their waking hours at work, so why not spend those hours in a space that inspires?
IU employees from all campuses can do just that by working with the university’s campus art curators to turn blank walls and empty corridors into beautiful conversation pieces.
Sherry Rouse, curator of campus art, and Katie Chattin, assistant curator of campus art, oversee IU’s Campus Art Collection, which includes all public art on IU campuses not displayed in museums, as well as hundreds of paintings, sculptures, drawings, textiles and more currently hidden away in storage.
Rouse said IU units willing to invest some money in bringing the artwork up to display quality can showcase world-class pieces specifically chosen to meet the needs of their campus spaces.
“Decorating isn’t what we do,” said Rouse, who explained she works hard to match clients with art they not only enjoy, but that is also appropriate for the location. A number of environmental factors, such as sunlight and accessibility, go into each decision, she said. Ultimately, it’s about what’s best for the art.
“I don’t hang artwork over drinking fountains,” Rouse said with a laugh.
Recent clients of Rouse include leaders of IU Communications’ Bloomington team, Rob Zinkan, IU’s associate vice president for marketing, and Tim Keller, director of Creative Services. Zinkan and Keller worked with Rouse to install three hanging sculptures and one painting at the unit’s office in the historic Von Lee building, along Kirkwood Avenue.
Zinkan, who first used IU’s campus art collection years ago at IUPUC, said overall employee feedback on the new office artwork has been very positive.
“We have a great team of creative professionals, so we wanted to have an environment that inspires great creative work,” he said.
Rouse said she was pleased too — especially about finding a home for three Morton C. Bradley sculptures, of which the university has more than 300 in storage.
“It’s obvious that (IU Communications employees) are clearly stimulated by what happened there,” she said.
Though salvage fees vary depending on each work of art, they are typically a fraction of the total value of the piece, Rouse said. For example, one might be able to display an $800 painting after paying only $100 for a new frame and installation by campus carpenters.
Once installation is complete, Rouse and her team are in charge of maintaining the pieces. Only the university’s art curators and campus carpenters are authorized to touch and move the pieces, so future plans for the artwork will always need to be vetted through them.
Those interested in displaying some of IU’s campus art collection in their campus buildings – particularly ones with public spaces – should contact Katie Chattin at email@example.com or 812-855-5360 to set up a consultation.
by Andrea Zeek
IUPUI’s public art collection is high in quality and vast in subject matter. It includes sculptures from world-renowned artists such as Dale Chihuly and John Torreano, but is also privileged to feature artwork by IUPUI alumni.
As home to the only professional, accredited school of art in Indiana, the Herron School of Art and Design, IUPUI has access to a large community of creative and talented students. Their work can be seen throughout IUPUI’s public art collection. In the cooperative nature of public art, IUPUI has enabled students past and present to take part in the development of the campus’s public identity through these outdoor sculptures.
IUPUI’s public art collection functions not only to create points of interest, but also to provide students and the public with spaces to come together, have meaningful conversations and take part in campus life.
A fun way to start exploring public art at IUPUI is by visiting the Indianapolis Public Art website, which allows users to plan a public art walking tour through campus and the greater Indianapolis area.
This photo gallery is a small sample of a larger collection consisting of more than 30 works of sculpture located throughout the IUPUI campus. For more information, visit Wikipedia’s IUPUI Public Art Collection page, a project by an IUPUI Museum Studies class to promote research and conservation of the outdoor sculptures on campus.
by Emma Hernandez
Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard announced the joint $30 million deal Monday, along with IU President Michael A. McRobbie, representatives from Lilly Endowment and other organizations involved in the project. The partnership is designed to strengthen IUPUI’s ties to the surrounding neighborhoods and make critical renovations to the IU Natatorium.
The IU Natatorium will be undergoing significant renovations.
Under terms of the agreement, the city will turn Michigan and New York streets into two-way roads from West Street, through the campus and across the bridges into the Haughville neighborhood. Part of that project will include improvements to pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, bicycle lanes, medians and other features.
The work will require rerouted traffic patterns beginning in 2015, officials said.
During Monday’s announcement, Ballard cited numerous advantages to the IUPUI campus, the city and its residents.
“Thousands of people enter and exit IUPUI for work, class and access to medical care every day,” the mayor said. “These streets improvements will make it safer and easier for people to access campus and encourage investment and development in Haughville, Hawthorne and Stringtown from companies seeking to be near IUPUI and the growing IU Health complex.”
Funding will include support from the downtown tax increment financing district, plus support from IUPUI and the endowment for upgrades to the natatorium.
“Just as the IUPUI campus has been an integral part of downtown Indianapolis for decades, the IU Natatorium has become one of the city’s signature sports venues of the last 30 years,” said McRobbie. “Indiana University’s investment in the future of the natatorium is emblematic of our commitment to the city of Indianapolis. The planned improvements will allow the natatorium to provide swimmers and divers of all levels — as well as fans of the sports — with a world-class facility for years to come, further strengthening the strong partnership between IU and the city.”
The natatorium is scheduled to host the 2016 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials.
“This project involves several partners coming together to benefit the city of Indianapolis and the IUPUI campus,” IUPUI Director of Athletics Mike Moore said. “The natatorium is a special place in our community and these improvements will impact swimmers and divers of all ages, including our student-athletes.”
The infrastructure changes are expected to attract new development and increase the number of residents interested in the opportunities that will be available on the Near Westside. That could include a growing number of students interested in living in apartments and rental units in the affected neighborhoods.
City leaders are hopeful that the growth will help the Westside neighborhoods follow the path of other communities (like Fountain Square and the Old Northside) as “hot spots” in the center of Indianapolis.
The changes will help IUPUI become more a part of the city neighborhoods that surround the campus. City officials also hope that increasingly attractive housing options will help continue recent trends of college graduates deciding to stay in Indianapolis, both as residents and employees.
by Ric Burrous