Iowa State expands its role in economic development

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University has been recognized as a national leader in research, technology transfer and entrepreneurship. Now, the university is launching new initiatives designed to build collaborative partnerships across the state to increase the number of university startup companies and connect the university's extensive research capabilities to existing Iowa companies.

These initiatives include:

  • Innovate Iowa Proof of Concept Initiative. Iowa State is establishing an initiative that will focus on increasing the transfer of technology while reducing the time to commercialization. Technology and business development will occur in parallel by engaging staff from the ISU Research Foundation, ISU Research Park, Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship and technology experts. This initiative will provide a single, visible interface for faculty, staff, and students seeking opportunities, and provide simplified, coordinated communication. This will serve as an umbrella to many of the new and existing programs described below.
  • A reinvigorated process for prospect development and start-up company acceleration. The ISU Research Foundation, Research Park, and Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship are engaged in a strategic partnership to reinvigorate our approach to engaging students, staff, and faculty in entrepreneurial start-up activities. Information about this new process will be available in early 2012.

"Iowa State has the opportunity to assist in building the state's economy by transferring university discoveries and technologies to commercial development," said Sharron Quisenberry, vice president of research and economic development at Iowa State. "These collaborative efforts and partnerships among Iowa's Regent universities, the state, existing and startup companies and others will benefit the economy and create jobs."

The new efforts complement existing efforts at Iowa State:

  • Grow Iowa Values Fund (GIVF). This program is the pre-cursor to and a source of funding for the Innovate Iowa Proof of Concept Initiative and supports the development of ISU innovations with commercial potential. GIVF helps ISU technologies reach the marketplace as the foundation for new Iowa companies and/or the growth of existing Iowa companies. The grants program is supported by Iowa economic development appropriations to the Board of Regents.
  • Business Plan Competition. Statewide business plan competitions for students and Iowa based startups provide early stage funding to launch and grow new and early stage companies.
  • Business Incubators. The university provides emerging entrepreneurs a variety of incubation options ranging from on-campus incubators embedded within academic facilities, to office and wet lab incubation facilities at the Research Park. The incubation space is supplemented by a unique set of pilot scale development facilities that support emerging biorenewable enterprises.
  • Technology Commercialization Fund. The ISU Research Foundation (ISURF) has an annual $200,000 fund to further the development of technologies that are potentially patentable. The focus of these funds increases the commercial potential and value of the technology, thus increasing the interest by industry. Projects funded will now be part of the Innovate Iowa Proof of Concept Initiative described above.
  • Investment Fund. The ISU Research Foundation has an annual $200,000 seed fund to invest in early-stage technology-based companies.
  • IPRT Company Assistance Contract Research Fund. The Iowa State Institute for Physical Research and Technology has a cost-sharing research fund that is accessible to new and existing industry to develop new or improved products or processes.
  • University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP). The UIDP is a National Academies effort that is developing best practices to enhance relationships with private industry for research and commercialization efforts. Iowa State University is an active participant in the UIDP.