By Steve Martin
Purdue University and Rolls-Royce officials have signed a research and testing agreement that will bring $75 million over 10 years to the West Lafayette campus. It is the largest deal with an industry partner in Purdue history.
The relationship between Purdue and Rolls-Royce has thrived for more than 70 years, highlighted by millions of dollars invested in aerospace testing technology, sponsorship of graduate student research fellowships, and more than 600 Purdue graduates among the company’s current workforce in Indianapolis. Purdue is designated among the top class of partners as a Rolls-Royce University Technology Center, recognizing collaborations on research, including advanced engine technology, materials, and testing capability.
Additionally, the relationship between Rolls-Royce and Purdue recently has expanded to include significant work on initiatives in hypersonics, cybersecurity, and digital technology.
The agreement signed in May 2022 will fund testing and research with a focus in the areas of gas turbine technology and electrical and digital technology. Rolls-Royce already boasts some of the most efficient and capable power systems in the world across a suite of civil and defense applications. At Purdue’s Maurice J. Zucrow Laboratories, research will be concentrated primarily on sustainable power systems through advanced technology in electrification, turbines, compressors and combustion with sustainable fuels.
This research partnership announcement is concurrent with news in April 2022 that Purdue will construct a $73-million, 55,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, high-speed propulsion laboratory for hypersonic technologies in the Discovery Park District at Purdue.
“Purdue has become the epicenter of hypersonic research and testing in the U.S.,” said Mung Chiang, president-elect of Purdue University.
“We are excited across three tracks: first, our own investment for federal and industry projects, such as the wind tunnel and manufacturing facility announced in 2021, and the high-speed propulsion facility in 2022 that Rolls-Royce will be able to use; second, the private sector’s investment to grow its presence in the Discovery Park District at Purdue; and third, a nonprofit consortium of industry members for ground testing hosted at Purdue.”
Warren White, Rolls-Royce head of assembly and testing, said: “We’re excited to further strengthen our long-standing partnership with Purdue University through this new test and research agreement. We firmly believe in the innovative power that comes from strong collaboration between industry and academia. Over the next decade, we’ll explore transformative technologies like hybrid-electric and hypersonic propulsion that will help define the future of aerospace.”