Valparaiso University Represents Region in Tech Hub Designation

The announcement of a regional tech hub landing in Indiana hit home for Valparaiso University earlier this week. As the only university in Northwest Indiana on the state-wide consortium, Valpo celebrated the successful pursuit of Heartland BioWorks being designated as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub and the possibility of its significant benefits for Indiana and the region. 

Heartland BioWorks, led by Applied Research Institute, was officially designated as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub by the U.S. Economic Development Administration. This designation makes them eligible to compete for up to $75 million in funding for U.S. Biotech Supply Chain Innovation. 

Valparaiso University and the coalition of Indiana stakeholders involved in this Hub are committed to the strategic goal of positioning Indiana as a global leader to secure the nation’s biomanufacturing future and advance economic opportunities based on the prioritization of life sciences at the state, regional, and local levels. As a designated Regional Technology and Innovation Hub, Heartland BioWorks is well-positioned to further its mission of nurturing the expansion of biotech businesses across Indiana and meeting the growing need for specialized manufacturing facilities and innovative spaces.

While the central hub is situated within the Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson metropolitan statistical area, there are linkages to Northwest Indiana and Valparaiso University’s expertise in the life sciences. This sets the stage for potential regional advancement. Upcoming funding could facilitate the expansion of research capabilities and the acceleration of workforce development. It could also help remove obstacles to success, particularly from the standpoint of entrepreneurs and small biotech businesses.

“Northwest Indiana is known for manufacturing, and Valpo is known for developing talented graduates. When both are blended with Valpo’s research capabilities in biotech and a budding entrepreneurial ecosystem, you’ve got a recipe for economic growth in the region,” President José Padilla of Valparaiso University said. “Thank you to Senator Young, Governor Holcomb, and other Heartland BioWorks partners for their dedication to this effort.” 

Valparaiso University is working alongside other academic partners on this monumental achievement, including the University of Notre Dame, Indiana University, Purdue University, Martin University, Ivy Tech, and Tougaloo College Research & Development Foundation. Valpo’s active engagement within this consortium connects the expertise of its students, faculty, and regional biotech talent to this state-wide initiative, driving forward workforce development and innovation. 

“Valparaiso University stands as an anchor institution that is called to faithfully serve its neighboring community. Across all levels of the university, our faculty and staff collaborate with regional leaders and organizations to address challenges and actively seek opportunities that empower Northwest Indiana,” said Padilla.

The Heartland BioWorks consortium is geared to tackle biotech gaps through three initial integrated activities that Northwest Indiana can plug into through the implementation grant: 

  • BioWorks Training Institute will provide training and industry work experiences to prepare trainees for high-paying jobs that support the growing biomanufacturing sector. 
  • BioWorks Bioproduct Launch Network will coordinate and implement mechanisms to access the region’s contract manufacturers and distributors, addressing lab-to-launch gaps, while keeping innovations, intellectual property, and jobs in the US. 
  • BioWorks Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Network will provide resources, funding, and coordinated access to a partner facility dedicated to testing and demonstrating next generation biomanufacturing technologies to improve the efficiency, capability, and cost of operations.

“It’s been an honor for Valpo to share its insights and expertise as a member of the Heartland BioWorks team. We look forward to contributing in this next phase as Indiana competes for up to $75 million,” said Marie Foster-Bruns, vice president for advancement at Valparaiso University, who oversees external affairs at the university. “This designation as a Regional Technology and Innovation Hub is a testament to the potential of our State and the Northwest Indiana talent and research pipeline.”

For more information about Valparaiso University’s involvement in the Heartland BioWorks consortium or to learn more about the consortium’s mission and objectives, please contact the Heartland BioWorks Hub at