By Joe Carley, director of economic development at Indiana University and director of strategic partnerships at the IU Center for Rural Engagement
I’m pleased to report that 2019 was a year of significant milestones for Indiana University’s defense sector partnerships.
In September, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane, located in nearby Crane, Indiana, was named one of six NavalX Tech Bridges in the country. This designation will bring new resources to support the Bloomington-Crane defense ecosystem.
Also in September, the Defense Entrepreneurs Forum announced that Indiana was selected to host the 2020 National DEF conference. The Bloomington/Crane DEF chapter, which includes members of the Innovate Indiana team, secured this honor after a year of successful events at The Mill in Bloomington.
And in December, the National Security Innovation Network announced a new partnership with IU. NSIN will bring its programs to IU to accelerate the development of solutions to national security challenges.
These and other achievements will no doubt play a critical role in IU’s ability to support national security and economic development.
But the milestone with the potential to have the deepest and longest-lasting impact occurred just before Christmas, when the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering awarded its first Ph.D. in intelligent systems engineering to Adam Duncan. Duncan is an electrical engineer at NSWC Crane.
This development is a major step forward in the relationship between NSWC Crane and IU. The creation of the Intelligent Systems Engineering program, which was initially recommended in the “Strategic Plan for Economic and Community Prosperity in Southwest Central Indiana,” was accomplished in part through the support of champions at NSWC Crane. And the facts that the program has already attracted multiple Crane Ph.D. students and that several of its faculty are engaged in collaborative research projects with Crane are a testament to its potential to advance regional economic development.