The bioscience sector represents a large and growing market with high paying jobs. Iowa has all the ingredients needed to capture this growth in four key platforms - biobased chemicals, precision and digital agriculture, vaccines and immunotherapeutics, and medical devices. The Iowa Board of Regents has asked the State to consider an ongoing investment of $4M per year ($1M per platform) to accelerate the commercialization of new scientific breakthroughs that could help grow and diversify Iowa's economy.
Iowa State is a major player in this initiative, with leadership for the first three platforms, all of which connect strongly to our exceptional expertise and long-standing partnerships in agriculture, engineering, and veterinary sciences. If funded, Iowa State would be able to leverage significant investments by the federal government, industry, and other sponsors by working with industry and investment partners to take promising early-stage technologies to the next level, such as:
- A biobased nylon with improved resilience and flame-retardant properties, making it possible to develop products that aren't possible using traditional petroleum-based nylon;
- Low-cost, field-deployable sensors for pinpointing crop management strategies that benefit both productivity and environmental stewardship;
- Visual data sensing and automated computer vision tools for the livestock industry to closely monitor individual animal health and well-being; and
- A needle-free universal influenza vaccine to replace seasonal flu vaccines and protect animals and humans against multiple flu strains.
Establishing an innovation ecosystem
Iowa State University, University of Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and Iowa Innovation Corporation have worked closely to envision a new kind of innovation ecosystem, one that calls for refocusing the Corporation into the Iowa Bioscience Development Center (IBDC). The Center would serve as a strategic hub and provide business and commercial expertise, including increasing access to investment capital.
Iowa State would provide technical leadership for three platforms, working closely with the IBDC, industry, and investment partners to prioritize technologies with commercial promise and help industry reduce the riskiness of technologies to help accelerate their growth.
The joint vision is to establish an innovation ecosystem in Iowa-advantaged platforms to grow and diversify Iowa's economy. A $4M per year investment makes it possible to accelerate promising technologies, pursue large-scale federal investments, develop industry partnerships, address regulations, assist start-ups, and recruit young innovators.
All this will help lay the bioscience foundation for building on Iowa's global leadership in the multi-billion dollar industries that support our state's economy - agriculture, manufacturing, and value-added.
At legislative coffees and other events, let legislators know that the
$4M annual funding for the
Bioscience Innovation Ecosystem is a significant step for Iowa's future, impacting our economy, jobs, and reputation for science-based innovation. It is a long-term investment that leverages existing resources and investments, and the potential pay-off over time is enormous.