State dollars will help Iowa State University commercialize campus research

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University will boost commercialization of campus research by using state economic development money to support promising projects and enhance the university's technology transfer efforts.

State lawmakers agreed last spring to appropriate $5 million per year for 10 years to Iowa's three regent universities. The money is to be matched by the universities and used to grow Iowa's economy. Iowa State's share is $1.925 million for each of the 10 years. The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, approved Iowa State's plan for the money in September.

"Iowa State University researchers have a record of turning campus innovations into businesses and commercial applications," said John Brighton, Iowa State's vice provost for research. "This funding demonstrates the state's and Iowa State's commitment to doing more to strengthen Iowa's economy by generating and supporting high-tech industries."

Iowa State's plan for the economic development appropriation includes three programs:

  • A one-year, $500,000 program to support short-term projects at six companies connected with Iowa State faculty and technologies. The money is designed to accelerate technology development and generate new economic activity within 12 months. Those companies, their locations and grants are: Metabolic Technologies, Ames, $150,000; BiOva, a joint venture of Glycon Technologies of Ames and partners in the poultry industry, $100,000; Infiscape, Ames, $100,000; CombiSep, Ames, $75,000; CMNet, Ames, $50,000; and Industrial Hardfacing Inc., Lamoni, Iowa, $25,000.
  • A commercialization program that will award grants to university projects with high potential for commercialization. In the first year, $825,000 in grants will be awarded. In years two through 10, funding for the grants will jump to $1.325 million. Grants will likely range from $25,000 to $200,000. There will be two competitions for the grants every year. Proposals for the first round of grants are due to Iowa State colleges by Dec. 1. Award decisions will be made no later than Jan. 31, 2006.
  • Support for Iowa State offices that provide technology transfer services. The plan calls for $600,000 in extra support for technology transfer for each of the next 10 years. The money is designed to increase the capacity of Iowa State's technology transfer efforts and promote an entrepreneurial culture on campus. The funding will support staff to assist faculty, work with Iowa industry and encourage entrepreneurship. It will also provide new commercialization tools, market research and private sector consultants. The 10-year plan annually allocates $200,000 to the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship, $200,000 to the research park, $100,000 to the Vice Provost for Research Office and $100,000 to the Institute for Physical Research and Technology.

"This is a significant new source of funds to support research and commercialization at Iowa State," said Steve Carter, the director of Iowa State's research park and Pappajohn center. "And for the state of Iowa, it is the first source of funds to encourage research with commercial applications. This is a great opportunity for the university and the state of Iowa."