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IUP's banking on success of 1st for-profit venture

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By Mike Cronin
Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2010

Indiana University of Pennsylvania announced Tuesday the creation of its first for-profit corporation.

The IUP Research Institute Business and Technology Group Inc. is an independent business corporation that will generate dividends for its only shareholder, the nonprofit IUP Research Institute, said Rebecca Zukowski, the group's director.

"That money will further support university research," Zukowski said. "And, the for-profit company is strengthened because it can bring in faculty members to consult on projects, and I can deliver products."

Among those products is a software system that allows National Guard support teams to see the same information on their computer screens during emergencies, Zukowski said.

"All 57 teams in the nation are using it," she said.

Zukowski said the group is developing other products but could not disclose details because of their proprietary nature. Clients include entities that work in military operations, homeland security and emergency response, she said.

The corporation's founding enables IUP "to continue to grow the number of contracts the university has the capability to take on," Zukowski said.

Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne university officials said those schools do not have comparable entities. University of Pittsburgh officials could not immediately say whether they did.

"This new business venture will make IUP's research institute more viable and competitive by allowing its employees and partners to commercialize many of their successful research efforts," Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, said. "This in turn will support economic development and employment opportunities in Indiana County."

The corporation will be self-sustaining, said Timothy Mack, dean of the IUP School of Graduate Studies and Research. It employs 14 people and four full-time student interns.

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