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New research park breaks ground

Madeline Buckley | Monday, September 29, 2008

Notre Dame joined forces with the South Bend community Friday to break ground on the construction of Innovation Park at Notre Dame, a technology park focused on transforming high-level research from theory to practical application, University Provost Thomas Burish said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

The aim of the park is to “facilitate the transformation of innovative ideas into viable marketplace ventures,” according to the company’s mission statement.

Innovation Park will foster research in areas such as aerospace, the environment, nanoelectronics, life sciences and more, Burish said.

It will be a learning environment for students and will hopefully make South Bend more economically vibrant, he said.

“[Innovation Park] will make Notre Dame a more complete university,” Burish said.

President and CEO of Innovation Park at ND David Brenner said the park is a transformational space that will connect innovative ideas with experts who can carry them out. The park will act as a vehicle to accelerate viability and growth potential, he said.

“The growth potential goes well beyond the immediate footprint of these 12 acres,” Brenner said, noting the possibility of spin offs for major corporations and opportunities to bring business to South Bend.

Brenner said that Notre Dame students will be able to benefit from Innovation Park as well.

“This, for the students, is going to be one of the greatest opportunities to see their ideas come to life,” he said.

The company will hire student interns to take part in research and turn their great ideas into reality, Brenner said.

“Students will have the opportunity to take what they have learned and turn it into something useful to society,” he said.

South Bend mayor Stephen Luecke spoke at the event, emphasizing the importance of Innovation Park to South Bend as well as Notre Dame.

“Innovation Park will be a vital economic driver for this region,” he said. “We will stimulate new jobs and investments throughout South Bend.”

The city of South Bend is proud to join with Notre Dame in the endeavor, Luecke said.

“Innovation Park at Notre Dame is the new connector between Town and Gown,” he said.

The South Bend community is excited about the research that will happen, but is more excited to see the research turn into commercial projects that will be an economic driver in the region, Luecke said.

“Together we have an outstanding team that can do and will do make successes,” he said. “This idea will succeed.”

Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman said Innovation Park will help provide a bright future for the state as a whole as well as the community.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to have this tech park located here…Notre Dame is a great economic engine,” Skillman said.

Indiana is becoming the location of choice for business around the Midwest and this is economic development at its finest, she said.

The park’s first building is slated for completion in fall of 2009. It will fill 12 acres of land and house research labs, offices and conference rooms.