Indiana University and the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, have extended a strategic partnership that has ignited a wide range of collaborative efforts in several key areas, including high-performance computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, technology transfer, systems hardware, quantum computing and regional economic development.
Senior leaders at IU and NSWC Crane, which supports the electronic, engineering and ordnance needs of the U.S. Navy and other military customers, re-signed a partnership intermediary agreement. The agreement provides NSWC Crane with an avenue to move innovative technology through the commercialization pipeline with a goal of increasing the number of licensing and startup deals for both Crane and IU.
The signed agreement, initiated in 2012 and renewed in 2017, is also designed to strengthen economic vitality in southern Indiana through the development of promising high-tech companies and job creation. Additionally, it identifies potential research areas that align with the interests of IU and NSWC Crane.
IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Rahul Shrivastav and Capt. Thomas (Duncan) McKay, commanding officer of NSWC Crane, signed the PIA during a ceremonial event at Naval Support Activity Crane. NSA Crane, the third-largest naval installation in the world, is located approximately 40 minutes southwest of IU’s Bloomington campus. IU is the state’s largest research university.
IU Vice President for University Relations Michael Huber also led a delegation of IU economic development and government relations leaders at the event.
NSWC Crane supports electronic, engineering and ordnance needs of the U.S. Navy and other military customers. It is one of Indiana’s largest high-tech employers with over 3,800 employees, of which 2,500 are scientists, engineers and technicians.
In addition to attending the signing event, the IU delegation spent their time at Crane in mission briefings with senior Crane leaders and on tours designed to expand the current partnership and explore new opportunities for collaboration—including those that will be enabled by the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022, which will provide a historic investment to boost domestic manufacturing of semiconductors.
The partnership renewal is the latest in a recent series of IU collaborative activities with Crane that continue to link IU’s teaching, research and development resources with initiatives at Crane that are critical to strengthening national defense and security, advancing economic development and improving the well-being of citizens of Indiana and beyond. These activities have come at a time when the defense sector of the 11-country Indiana Uplands region, which includes Monroe County, home to IU’s Bloomington campus, is experiencing sizeable growth
These activities include:
- Renewing an Educational Partnership Agreement between IU and NSA Crane. Established in 2011, the multiyear agreement, renewed last fall by IU President Pamela Whitten during her inaugural visit to NSA Crane, aids IU students’ educational experience by providing a mechanism by which they can benefit from NSA Crane’s staff expertise, unique facilities and equipment. NSA Crane’s contributions include encouraging and stimulating student interest in science, engineering, mathematics, sustainability and information technology.
- Establishing a shared technology and engineering space on the IU Bloomington campus for IU and NSWC Crane researchers. The space is located at Multidisciplinary Engineering and Sciences Hall, which houses laboratory space for IU’s Department of Intelligent Systems Engineering at the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
- Earning recent awards totaling $2.2 million to advance AI workforce development and $1.7 million to collaborate on AI programming for rural Indiana middle school students.
- Launching a new Academic Accelerator program, which is leveraging IU’s research expertise in high-performance computing, AI and machine learning, and quantum information science; the university’s experience in supporting and guiding successful new business ventures; and its strong partnerships with Indiana’s innovation defense ecosystem, including NSWC Crane. The A2 program recently announced major milestones for two of its projects, which are focused on using AI and machine learning to create smarter unmanned autonomous vehicles and protecting the quantum computer from radiation effects, respectively.
- Playing a leadership role in igniting high-tech innovation at WestGate@Crane Technology Park in Odon, Ind., and helping to develop the Indiana Uplands region. IU Director of Economic Development Joe Carley is on loan from IU and is currently serving as interim CEO of the nonprofit Uplands Science and Technology Foundation, which developed a new master plan for the park and is now leading the park’s long-term strategy and growth. Tony Armstrong, IU associate vice president and president and CEO of IU Ventures, also serves as a board member for the USTF. Last month, Indiana Gov, Eric J. Holcomb joined state and local leaders in breaking ground on a new microelectronics campus at WestGate@Crane Technology Park, designed to power the growth of Indiana’s semiconductor industry. The $84 million development has already attracted four semiconductor companies to the state and hopes to leverage academic, corporate and defense partners to speed the re-shoring of semiconductor research and manufacturing in the U.S.