IU, Crane sign educational partnership agreement
By Mike Leonard
September 29, 2011
Indiana University and the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center have an educational partnership that will benefit both institutions as well as the people of southwestern Indiana, according to IU officials.
IU President Michael A. McRobbie, at a signing ceremony Wednesday at Crane, said the partnership should result in collaborative efforts in areas including informatics and computing, cybersecurity, technology transfer, kinesiology, optics, intellectual property research and regional economic development.
"This agreement marks the continued development of what we hope will be a long-term, collaborative relationship between IU and Crane," McRobbie said. "It unites IU's renowned teaching, research and development resources with initiatives here at Crane that are critical to the defense, protection and security of Indiana and the nation, and it extends our existing partnerships."
In recent years, IU and Crane have engaged in collaborations in public management and administration, energy and matter, chemistry, and physics, as well as in engineering programs on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
Under the new agreement, IU and Crane will offer IU students chances to work with Crane professionals, facilities and equipment. In turn, Crane employees will be able to take advantage of IU's undergraduate and graduate programs.
Kirk White, IU assistant vice president for engagement, will serve as IU's liaison to Crane under the agreement.
"In the broadest terms it reinforces Indiana University's interest in making the corridor between IUPUI, the Bloomington campus (and Ivy Tech Bloomington campus), Crane and the University of Southern Indiana an economic development and higher education corridor," White said.
The practical advantages of IU and Crane working together are manifest, he said.
"Take optics, for example. The School of Optometry has researchers in optometric areas that link to Crane's work in night vision, so if you are developing night vision technology, it's best to know the capabilities of the eye," White said.
"In cybersecurity, IU is well-known for our expertise in securing (research-oriented) Internet 2 and at the same time, Crane is investigating programs that help secure the electronic spectrum so that it can stay secure for Defense Department uses," White said. IU also has a world-class resource in its Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research.
White said Crane's explosive growth in research makes the IU Research and Technology Corp. an obvious partner in being able to transfer unclassified research to the commercial sector. White said just a decade ago, Crane might have had 20 Ph.D.-level researchers. Now it has 60 and is building toward a goal of roughly 100 such researchers.
And in terms of tangible collaboration, this week's agreement includes the formation of two IU graduate internships at Crane. The agreement also opens the door for Crane researchers to utilize the resources of IU's School of Library and Information Science.
"Really, our goal in working with Crane is to make sure they are as competitive as they can be so they remain a strong employer and contributor to the southwestern Indiana economy," White said. "We want to find those ways where we can bolster their research and development with our faculty and students. It just makes them stronger and more competitive as they are up against other Department of Defense laboratories in the country."