Purdue and Rolls-Royce Sign $75 Million Strategic Alliance Agreement

The partnership will fund research in gas turbine, electrical, and digital technology.

Purdue and Rolls-Royce signed a testing agreement Wednesday that will give the university more than $75 million over the next 10 years. 

The new agreement will fund testing and research targeted to the areas of gas turbine technology and electrical and digital technology. It’s the largest deal with an industry partner in Purdue’s history.  

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. 

“This record-setting agreement is another example of Purdue working with leaders in industry, government and academia to advance national security,” Theresa Mayer, Purdue University executive vice president for research and partnerships, said in a statement. “We are excited by the prospects of technological innovation that will be discovered and developed through this agreement with Rolls-Royce.” 

Why This Matters

Rolls-Royce is a leader in efficient and capable power systems in the world across a suite of civil and defense applications.The investment into Purdue’s Zucrow Laboratories, the largest academic propulsion laboratory in the world, will focus on research in sustainable power systems through advanced technology in electrification, turbines, compressors and combustion with sustainable fuels.

Purdue University president Mitch Daniels believes the partnership between Purdue and Rolls-Royce will lead to major changes in the aerospace industry

“Purdue’s research partnership with Rolls-Royce will address some of the greatest technology challenges facing the U.S. Our faculty and students will work on advanced technology capabilities to ensure long-term national security. This will enhance the university’s role as a world leader in engineering research.” 

Their Longtime Relationship

Purdue and Rolls-Royce have been working together for more than 70 years. Millions of dollars have been invested in aerospace testing technology and sponsorship of graduate student research fellowships. More than 600 Purdue graduates are among the company’s current workforce in Indianapolis. 

Rolls-Royce’s University Technology Center has recognized Purdue as one of its top partners for its collaboration on research, including advanced engine technology, materials and testing capability. Rolls-Royce and Purdue have also worked together on initiatives in hypersonics, cybersecurity, and digital technology.

Mung Chiang, the John A. Edwardson, Dean of the College of Engineering and executive vice president of Purdue University for strategic initiatives is focused on continuing hypersonic research with the agreement with Rolls-Royce.  

“Purdue has become the epicenter of hypersonic research and testing in the U.S.,” Chiang said in a statement. “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, private sector’s investment to grow their presence in the Discovery Park District at Purdue; and third, a nonprofit consortium of industry members for ground testing hosted at Purdue.”


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