News Column

Notre Dame to Open Jet Engine Research Facility

June 26, 2014



INDIANAPOLIS, June 26 -- The Indiana Economic Development Corp. issued the following news release:

The University of Notre Dame announced plans today to establish a turbomachinery research facility here, creating up to 60 new jobs by 2018.

The university, in partnership with General Electric, will invest $25.2 million to establish the Notre Dame Turbomachinery Facility located in South Bend'sIgnition Park. The 43,000 square-foot facility, of which Notre Dame will occupy 25,000 square-feet, is expected to be complete in March of next year. Notre Dame plans to house five test facilities, a machine shop and a supercomputing center at the new facility to conduct research and test the performance of new gas turbine engine technology used by commercial and military aircraft, power plants and the oil and gas industries.

"The aerospace industry is reaching new heights in Indiana," said Governor Mike Pence. "Universities like Notre Dame and others across the state are providing avenues for discovery, proving that the sky is the limit in Indiana when it comes to bringing a big vision to life. The next great technological innovation could come from the mind of a Hoosier, highlighting for the world the full range of possibilities when investing in a state that works."

As part of the project, Notre Dame plans to begin hiring engineers and technicians early next year. Also, it will develop a program to train engineers, scientists and technicians in applied research at the facility.

"This venture will be a cutting-edge research and testing facility for the turbine engine industry as well as a tremendous economic driver for our region," said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president of Notre Dame. "Notre Dame is grateful to our partners for their support of this project and excited about all that it will mean to our University, the city and state, the industry as a whole and our nation."

Founded in 1842, the University of Notre Dame is a higher education institution focused on research and development. Organized into four undergraduate colleges, the university operates more than 40 centers and special programs and 10 major research institutions, including its current Turbomachinery Laboratory. Since 2003, the Turbomachinery Laboratory has advanced gas turbine engine technologies, with researchers focused on the design and operation of test facilities that simulate full-scale engine operating environments.

"The center will allow GE's industrial businesses to simulate full-scale engine operating environments," said Rick Stanley, vice president and chief technologist for GE's Power and Water business, and himself, a Notre Dame graduate. "The important rig testing we will do at the center builds upon GE's already strong and longstanding technical relationship with the university. For years, GE has turned to Notre Dame for top technical talent."

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered the University of Notre Dame up to $600,000 in training grants based on its job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the university is not eligible to claim incentives. Also, the IEDC will provide the city of South Bend with up to $2,000,000 in infrastructure assistance from the state's Industrial Development Grant Fund. The city of South Bend also offered funds using revenues generated from the issuance of a tax increment financing (TIF) bond.

"Attracting such major investment speaks to South Bend's economic future and its capacity to attract high-tech businesses," said South BendDeputy Mayor Mark Neal. "This project continues our city's history of innovation and is more evidence of the benefits that South Bend's economic and geographic advantages offer."

Today's announcement adds to Indiana's burgeoning aerospace industry. Last month, global aerospace manufacturer Alcoa announced plans to expand its nickel-based superalloy jet engine parts operations in La Porte, adding 329 new jobs by 2019. Also, in March, GE Aviation made plans to locate a $100 million jet engine assembly facility in Lafayette. The new facility will assemble the new LEAP engine, which will power new Airbus and Boeing aircraft for airlines worldwide.

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