Statewide collaborative organization IN3 advances high-tech research conducted at IU

Crandall, Skrabalak and Swany among the first researchers to partner with IN3

A statewide applied research institute is advancing cutting-edge technology developed by experts at Indiana University campuses and regional academic centers to address real-world problems for industry and the U.S. Department of Defense more quickly, efficiently and cost-effectively.

The Indiana Innovation Institute, or IN3, is composed of top leaders from academia, government and industry. Its board of directors includes Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and IU President Michael A. McRobbie. IN3 streamlines processes and eliminates bureaucracy so innovations developed throughout the state -- including electro-optics, hypersonics, trusted microelectronics and target machine learning -- can be completed while the need remains strong.

IN3 builds research teams from across its network that increase opportunities to win major grants and contracts. It helps advance existing research collaborations to the point that they are ready to compete for larger awards by using small seed-funding awards, leveraging its relationships, enhancing the teams' capabilities with complementary researchers and partners, and allowing access to equipment and technologies within its network.

The grants and contracts that IN3 wins will provide increased opportunities to train graduate students and postdocs, which will help the southwest-central Indiana region and the state as a whole develop a deeper pool of expertise in these technical areas. IN3 research will also contribute to commercialization and startup opportunities.

The Applied Research Institute was established through a $16,225,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to CICP Foundation Inc. The institute was renamed Indiana Innovation Institute in 2018. President McRobbie has been on the organization's executive committee since its inception.

"Today's most successful innovation ecosystems require close collaboration between organizations developing the most promising industry, government and university research and that possess a deep understanding of how to translate innovation into impact," McRobbie said. "IN3 will serve an important role in Indiana by facilitating greater connections among our key economic and educational institutions, especially in defense-related fields; securing pathways to deliver new technologies and other discoveries to the marketplace; and strengthening our state's culture of building and making. Indeed, the 'institute' approach that IN3 is taking has had a transformative effect in other fields, particularly in the health and medical sciences through the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute and the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute.

"IN3 will also enhance efforts to more closely connect IU's first-rate educational programs and activities, especially IU's new Intelligent Systems Engineering program, to the needs of Indiana's leading industries."

IN3 has already begun supporting work conducted by three IU Bloomington researchers:

  • David Crandall, associate professor, Department of Informatics and Computing, School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.
  • Sara Skrabalak, James H. Rudy Professor, Department of Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Martin Swany, chair and professor, intelligent systems engineering, School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering.

Retired U.S. Air Force Gen. Gene Renuart, chairman and CEO of IN3 and an IU alumnus, spoke highly of IN3's connections with IU.

"IN3 has built an extraordinary relationship with Indiana University, and we have partnered with some incredible IU researchers to focus on developing safe and secure microelectronics capabilities for the United States," Renuart said.

"Researchers from IU Bloomington's Department of Chemistry and School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering are playing a critical role in supporting NSWC Crane's work for the Department of Defense and, at the same time, supporting economic growth for Indiana," he said. "These experts highlight the quality of the research teams at IU campuses and enable IN3 to provide credible, quality solutions for the defense department and for industry."

IN3 encourages IU innovators and researchers at all campuses and regional academic centers who have ideas, research or projects that fit the focus areas of electro-optics, hypersonics, trusted microelectronics and target machine learning to make contact at innovations@in3indiana.com.