South Bend's High-Tech Research Initiative Brings Economic Growth to City

Article excerpt

Once a rust-belt community, South Bend, Ind., has developed an enterprising strategy to connect partners, investments and infrastructure, helping the city become a Midwestern hub of hightech research and economic growth.

A number of initiatives make up the playbook of South Bend's technological transformation, starting two years ago when the Semiconductor Research Corporation's Nanoelectronics Research Initiative (NRI) selected the University of Notre Dame as the fourth of its national research centers.

A strong partner of the city, the South Bend-area university and its technical work in nanotechnology was attractive to NRI, whose goal is to advance research that will be the basis for the next generation of computer chips. Recognizing the importance of this Midwest Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery (MIND), the city committed $50 million to support efforts to commercialize its resulting work.

As a result of such efforts, last year, MIND produced new prototypes related to computing architecture and energy efficiency. According to South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke, technological innovation such as this can lead to new, ground-breaking industries.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

"Notre Dame has made a major commitment to research and commercialization of research at the university, which we think bowls well for the greater South Bend area," said Luecke. "In the long run, we really expect to transform South Bend's economy, we expect to see new jobs, new investment in our community, good high paying, high-tech jobs that will help us to move forward to really create some growth of wealth into the community."

The development of MIND has already guided the city in moving forward. It has helped stimulate the growth of a dual-site, state-certified technology park.

Located on the northeast side of South Bend, Innovation Park at Notre Dame was designed to facilitate commercialization for ventures at various stages of development. …