Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering Plans Expansion
Biomedical engineering as an academic discipline continues to rapidly expand its scope and impact. The aging population and rising global health issues continue to drive the demand for better, more efficacious medical devices and healthcare approaches.
The related surge in the need for biomedical engineers has been measured in state and national surveys. In 2013, CNN Money ranked biomedical engineering as the best job in America for big growth, great pay, and satisfying work and CareerCast.com ranked it as the second best job. And Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development ranked biomedical engineering as one of the 50 fastest growing high-wage jobs of the future.
Concurrently, the Purdue College of Engineering has embarked on a period of unprecedented growth, increasing the size of faculty and staff each by 30% over the next five years.
Growth on this scale is an opportunity for transformational change, and change is already well underway at the Weldon School:
- Undergraduate student enrollment, sophomores through seniors, will increase by 33% over the next three years to a total of 300.
- Six new faculty members joined us in the past two years (read about them here and here), and we plan to welcome an additional three per year, which in turn will catalyze an expansion by more than 50% to over 150 doctoral students by 2016.
- More and more industries are partnering with us to establish co-op opportunities for our students. In an article about co-ops and internships in this newsletter, learn how companies are discovering the unique advantages of hiring biomedical engineers and how we are expanding the traditional co-op model to give companies and students more flexibility and options.
Three significant recent advancements have expanded and strengthened our partnership with the Indiana University School of Medicine (IUSM):
- A co-directed, NIH-funded T32 Institutional Training Grant for Diabetes Research
- Renewed funding for our joint NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D.)
- Pre-eminent faculty team hiring, which is led by Prof. Pedro Irazoqui, and includes the IUSM as a critical partner, is slated for immediate implementation.
- More faculty are engaged with entrepreneurship and are working with our partners at the Office of Technology Commercialization and the Foundry to secure patents and properly position their technologies for licensing equity financing. This has fostered an environment conducive to fruitful collaborations with industries, such as the partnership between Purdue and GE Healthcare and that between Purdue and Cook Medical.
The Innovation Wing
Growth in all these areas will necessitate a major facilities expansion, and plans are in the works for The Innovation Wing, a 43,400 square foot expansion at the Martin C. Jischke Hall of Biomedical Engineering, Indiana’s premier biomedical engineering facility.
The Innovation Wing will support the larger undergraduate class, contain an expansive senior design prototyping and testing space, and a large, multipurpose active-learning center. It will provide a nexus for the robust translation of ground-breaking discoveries and technologies into novel medical products and therapies that will move to the market quicker and transform lives. It will promote increased interdisciplinary synergies across campus and strong working partnerships with medical device companies, fostering regional economic growth and the creation of new jobs.