Roundup: Purdue Patents, Knight Challenge, Remy International, More

Here’s a look at innovation news from around Indiana:

—Last week, the Purdue Research Foundation announced that in 2016, the number of startups spun out of university-owned intellectual property had grown to a record-breaking 27. This year’s class was bigger than any of the previous years, “contributing to Purdue’s third straight year of record-breaking startup and commercialization activities,” the university said in a press release.

Purdue spun out 25 startups in 2015, and 24 the previous year. Combined, the startups have raised more than $96 million in venture funding and created 156 new jobs over the past two years, the university said. The patented inventions include a new solid rocket propellant, visual analytics programs for law enforcement, assistive technologies, and games and fitness apps.

“These startups really are a testament to outstanding innovators at Purdue University who are developing innovations and, in many cases, moving those innovations to the public or licensing them to entrepreneurs who are commercializing the patented technologies,” said Dan Hasler, president of Purdue Research Foundation, in a prepared statement. “What’s amazing is that this number does not include the startups based on Purdue ‘know-how’ or student-owned innovations. There are 11 more startups based on new technologies that are faculty-, staff-, or student-owned innovations.”

—Indiana University announced what it calls the nation’s first Bachelor of Science degree in health data science at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. The program will also offer a minor in computer science or informatics. Inside Indiana Business reported that Dean Paul Halverson said the health data science degree program was created in part to respond to regional and national needs for qualified data scientists. Halverson said there has been a more-than-2,000 percent increase in job listings for data scientists, but it wasn’t clear if that figure was particular to Indiana.

—The Knight Cities Challenge is back and will accept submissions for this year’s edition today through Nov. 3. The challenge offers $5 million in grant funding for innovative projects that work toward making any of the 26 Knight communities, including Ft. Wayne and Gary, more successful. Knight is seeking ideas in three categories: attracting and retaining talent, increasing economic opportunity, and promoting civic engagement. The challenge is designed to be a source of risk capital to test new ideas and explore what works—ideally so it can be spread across Knight’s network. Winners will be announced in the spring.

—According to a press release issued by the university, Reuters has ranked IU among the world’s most innovative universities. Last week, Reuters ranked IU 37th globally and 25th among U.S. universities on its list of 100 most innovative universities. Last year, Reuters had IU ranked 49th worldwide and 33rd among U.S. universities. The rankings were based on which universities published the most scholarly articles and filed for the most patents, among other criteria.

“These latest innovation rankings, along with our record year in patent issues, reflect IU’s efforts to drive innovation, help create new jobs, and support new industries,” said Bill Stephan, IU’s vice president for engagement, in the 
release.

—Last week, a group of investors led by Torque Capital announced it had acquired parts of Remy International, the Pendleton, IN-based supplier of alternators, starters, and hybrid motors, from global powertrain supplier Borg Warner. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. In 2015, Borg Warner acquired Remy International, reportedly for $951 million in cash. Under the new deal, Torque Capital bought Remy’s North American and European light vehicle aftermarket business.

Verge, the network of entrepreneurs and business leaders formed to help foster startup communities outside of the country’s major innovation hubs, is producing a new podcast called Powder Keg, set to start airing later this month. In a mass email, Verge described the show as shining a light on “the inspiring companies being built by this community and the massive advances in entrepreneurship we’re experiencing in cities around the world. This podcast will break down the epic journeys of entrepreneurs, uncover the insights from industry leaders, and dissect the strategies of investors who are focused on tapping into the incredible opportunities in technology outside of Silicon Valley.”

Keep an eye on the Verge website for further details and podcast episodes.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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