A plan to expand Indiana University Northwest's medical school program stand to benefit from funding being sought by two state universities.
Indiana and Purdue universities said they will jointly ask lawmakers for money to grow life-science industries in Indiana, improve public health and increase the number of Indiana-trained physicians.
The universities want the General Assembly to appropriate $105 million between 2009 and 2011 to create the Indiana Innovation Alliance.
The funding would include $15 million to support plans to increase enrollment in the Indiana University Medical School and to expand medical programs at the university's regional campuses, including in Gary, to four-year programs from the current two-year programs.
Indiana University Northwest is working on plans for a four-year medical school at the Gary campus, medical school director Pat Bankston said.
"We're asking the state to help fund it," Bankston said.
The Innovation Alliance would be led by the two state universities and would bring together businesses, government and other universities to share research facilities and other resources.
The goal is to expand the state's capacity to support new and existing companies in biology and health-related fields, and to improve the overall health of the state.
The universities' board of trustees will be asked to approve the concept when they meet later this week.
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie said the initiative would harness the strengths of the state's two major research universities.
"The more we cooperate and collaborate, the more success we will achieve in these important goals," McRobbie said.