Innovation at Work: By the Numbers

By Angie Hunt and Deb Berger

AMES, Iowa – As a leading research university, Iowa State puts science, technology and human creativity to work. The impact is measured through external support for innovative research solutions that lead to new patents, startup companies and support for business and industry.


By the Numbers: Record $601.7 million in external funding

That $601.7 million includes nearly $285 million for research projects like an interdisciplinary team working with zebrafish that could lead to new advances in regenerative medicine for patients with blood diseases such as leukemia.

Top 100 worldwide universities granted patents

For fiscal year 2022, 37 U.S. patents and 32 foreign patents were issued to the Iowa State Research Foundation including patents for a device to manage kidney disease and technologies to improve crop varieties and for vaccine development.

$726.4 million in income equals 2,593 jobs

The added income to Iowa’s economy comes from ISU start-up and spin-off companies. SoyLei Innovations, a startup firm in the ISU Research Park, is commercializing a soybean oil-based alternative to petroleum-based asphalt additive to extend the life of pavement.

15 new companies and affiliates plus 36 startups

These companies and cohorts participated in Iowa State University Research Park accelerators, for a total of 124 companies and research centers employing more than 2,300 people. The park, which is south of campus, is the only university-based research park in Iowa.

Top 3% nationally

The ranking is for research funding for universities without a human medical school. Rankings for federal agency funding include:
• Top 1% – Dept. of Agriculture
• Top 2% – Dept. of Energy
• Top 9% – National Science Foundation

Iowa companies reported $5.5 million of revenue

The revenue comes from sales of ISU-licensed technologies and products in 2021. Global sales totaled $83 million. The Office of Innovation Commercialization executed 34 license and option agreements – 10 in Iowa – on institutional technologies.